A settlement was reached Friday between the Emanuel administration and the operators of the Park Grill restaurant in Chicago's Millennium Park.
As part of the settlement, the restaurant owners will start picking up the costs associated with gas, water and garbage collection. In addition, the owners will make base rent payments starting October 1. The owners were previously required to begin making the base rent payments in January 2018.
The city says the agreement will result in taxpayers savings worth an estimated "$5.7 million over the remaining life of the concession agreement."
Back in 2011, the city sued the restaurant operators in an attempt to get out of the "sweetheart deal" reached between the Park Grill and Chicago Park District in 2003 under then-Mayor Richard M. Daley.
A Cook County judge upheld the lease last September.
Under the agreement announced Friday, the city has dropped its appeal in the case.
"While this settlement does not achieve all of the savings that we were seeking in the lawsuit, it represents a significant recovery for taxpayers and a marked improvement in the terms of the deal the current administration inherited," reads a statement from city corporation counsel Steve Patton. "This suit was also about sending a clear and powerful message that, under this administration, below-market deals that benefit a few insiders at the expense of taxpayers would not be tolerated."
Stephen Novack, the Park Grill operators' lawyer, said his "clients are extremely pleased with the settlement," though he contends that the settlement is worth less than the city's $5.7 million estimate.
"On a present value basis, the cost of the settlement to the restaurant is not too different than the cost would have been to uphold the trial court's judgment against the city on appeal," Novack added. "In fact, my clients offered the city essentially what it is getting in settlement before the city filed its lawsuit and before the city and Park District incurred millions of dollars in attorneys' fees and costs in the litigation. This meritless litigation that has cost the taxpayers and my clients so much is finally over."