Last night’s Naperville city council meeting was a real ‘love fest’ between city council members. No real disagreement, no real opposing views among council members. The meeting was over within three hours. And by the time it was over the Naperville city council had a unanimous vote in favor of approving the city’s first local sales tax, along with a hefty increase in trash collection.
There was a lot of glad-handing, and back-slapping, and high-fives among city council members, and their praise for each other sounded like an evening at the Academy Awards.
However, something else occurred during the meeting, that went almost unnoticed. It was the Naperville city council very quietly and quickly approving a federal lawsuit settlement with a resident of Naperville (Kim Bendis) for $117,500. The lawsuit accused the City of Naperville of violating her constitutional rights.
The City had her arrested, handcuffed, tossed into a police vehicle, and dragged to police headquarters where she was booked. Then after that, city officials sent her (and her family) through the judicial gauntlet. Naperville city officials did everything they could to demonize her, while attempting to break her down during every step of the excruciating process. City officials couldn’t break her down, and in the end she was rightfully acquitted by a jury of her peers. Not guilty was the verdict, loud and clear.
Kim filed a lawsuit against the City in U.S. District Court in Chicago two years after her arrest, claiming Naperville city officials decided in a closed door meeting within the inky shadows of city hall to forcefully arrest any resident, including Kim Bendis, who ‘interfered’ with the forced installation of smart meters, thereby violating her constitutional rights.
Bendis’ high-powered attorney made Naperville’s city attorneys look like law school drop outs, and city officials look like the bullies they were, and the Naperville city council along with city manager Doug Krieger folded like a cheap beach towel, leading to the settlement with Kim and her family.
It’s ironic that the $117,500 settlement was approved on the same night the council approved a city sales tax. A tax takes from citizens to give to city officials who squander those revenues with bad decisions.
For what Kim and her family went through, she deserved ten-times that amount, so city officials got off easy. And really, what do they care because it’s not their money they wasted. It was Kim’s money and the rest of Naperville’s residents.
Here is the part of the terms of agreement that city officials really like, “Bendis can not take any action against any city council member related to the incident, including any other city staff”. Let’s face it, they wouldn’t have the strength or perseverance to endure what Kim went through.
Every member of the current city council, all nine, quietly and quickly shoved the $117,500 out the door. Not one city council member had the common decency to apologize to Kim Bendis and her family for the actions taken against her.
They were all too busy glad-handing, back-slapping, and high-fiving more streams of revenue to pay for more ill-conceived ideas, and bad-judgment decisions.