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What the heck is going on here?

Friday, Jul 28, 2006

Jenner & Block defends IDOT against a lawsuit filed by former IDOT workers who say they were illegally fired. Jenner & Block decides it wants off the case. Attorney General Lisa Madigan, the state’s top lawyer who officially represents the state in all legal matters and who appointed Jenner & Block to the case in the first place, asks the firm for its files. Firm says No. Lisa asks why. Firm says IDOT’s chief legal counsel ordered it not to hand over the files. No reason for IDOT’s order given.

Then things get bizarre.

Matt Vanover, a Transportation Department spokesman, defended the agency’s refusal to give Madigan the lawsuit files.

He said IDOT wants to continue using Jenner & Block, which has handled the case for nearly two years. Vanover said IDOT is the defendant and should be the one to decide what attorneys to use.

Despite Jenner & Block’s request to withdraw, Vanover said the firm has agreed to stay on the case. The attorney general’s office said it had never heard that claim until Thursday.


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - state worker A - Friday, Jul 28, 06 @ 6:01 am:

    WHAT!!! Something stinks. What did Jenner & Block find out that they are trying to hide? I thought Attorney General Lisa Madigan had more power than IDOT’s chief legal counsel. (side note – the IDOT legal counsel had a mass exodus within the last two years, so with the exception of maybe 1-2 people, there is a complete new crew handling things) I am curious to find out why the originally wanted off the case and what/who persuaded them to stay on.

  2. - Anonymous - Friday, Jul 28, 06 @ 6:42 am:

    The Rod cohort is now slapping Lisa Madigan around as if she is, um, well, you know, just another taxpaying citizen of Illinois. How much longer are you going to let her be abused by that guy, Mike?

    Oh, sorry. Mike is his campaign manager so he has to let her to take it and make her like it. Another example of Chicago Democrat machiners feeding on their own.

    C’mon, Vanover. Scrape up some integrity and go back to TV.

  3. - Disgusted - Friday, Jul 28, 06 @ 7:00 am:

    So, does Jenner and Block know where the bodies are buried? Do they see some really bad publicity down the road? Is there a sense in the legal community that some public official A is going to take a fall and they want to disassociate themselves from that mess? Wait for it.

  4. - Anonymous - Friday, Jul 28, 06 @ 7:10 am:

    Rod “Nixon” Blagojevich refuses to turn over to prosecuters documents related to corruption in his administration. Wow.

    Rod, that’s not a new way of doing business.

  5. - Anon2 - Friday, Jul 28, 06 @ 7:27 am:

    Go get them Lisa. They are not Kings. Teach them what constitutional government is all about.

  6. - Cat - Friday, Jul 28, 06 @ 7:35 am:

    1. Speaker Madigan allowed a vote to confirm Secretary Martin with NO hearing, NO questions more than a YEAR AFTER his term expired.

    2. Martin is now arguing over the Chicago Area Transportation - Transportation Planning merger (see morning briefs)on budget even though the exec director is a former IDOT employee.

    3. There were wide-spread subpoenas issued in June, followed by subpoenas to officials at ‘a major state agency’ in July. Hint: Can you name the secretary, personnel director, chief counsel, director of traffic safety, information processing personnel, former high level officials who resigned suddenly under apparent pressure from…?

    4. Of the ‘known’ federal investigations (count 9-12), at least two and probably three involve Martin and IDOT.

    5. This is NOT the cadence of the snare - this is a Drum Opera!

  7. - Anonymous - Friday, Jul 28, 06 @ 7:45 am:

    Cat says - Speaker Madigan allowed a vote to confirm Secretary Martin with NO hearing, NO questions more than a YEAR AFTER his term expired.

    I thought confirmation was done in the Senate, not the House. Are all your “facts” this accurate?

  8. - anonymous - Friday, Jul 28, 06 @ 8:02 am:

    Talk on the street is that a director invoved in the IDOT lawsuit has flipped(like in the past) putting a big wrinkle in the case you know who he is!!

  9. - Walking Wounded - Friday, Jul 28, 06 @ 8:04 am:

    So, let me see if I get this right…taxpayers are footing the bill for Jenner & Block to represent IDOT. After 2 years, the firm decides they want out of the matter and the AG, who is also being paid by the taxpayers, asks for their records. IDOT then plays the lawyer version of “keep away” with the AG. It’s like a mutant version of “Alice in Wonderland”. This state never ceases to amaze me.

  10. - Political Junkie - Friday, Jul 28, 06 @ 8:44 am:

    Cat…The House of Representatives doesn’t publicly participate in the confirmation process of the governor’s appointments. Appointees are confirmed by the Senate.

  11. - Truthful James - Friday, Jul 28, 06 @ 8:57 am:

    This all is too ‘in-group’ for the public to understand.

    Rich I note that your format does not have a box to check if we want to see later posts on a topic. Does this mean we automatically get them or we have to come back to your Blog to find out?

  12. - Little Egypt - Friday, Jul 28, 06 @ 9:06 am:

    Blogo is just trying to plug the leaks and do anything and everything he can to keep the subpoenas and other legal proceedings out of the press before the November election. Come on Lisa - go get him. The only legal fallout to you with this goverNOT is if you allow this dance to continue until after the election. The heck with Lisa wanting to run for governor in 2010. She needs to be doing her job to keep the one she has. If she goes along with GoverNOT Hairdo’s stall tactics until after the election (which will become very apparent if just weeks before we still don’t know anything), then I will definitely vote for her opponent - no matter who it is. This is no longer just about GoverNOT Blogo. It’s about Lisa Madigan’s integrity, her ability to divorce herself from the “business as usual” politics, and do the right thing. I believe a Federal court will see things her way. And then we will get to see yet anothet stall tactic. In fact, the attorneys are one step ahead of the AG. They are already thinking what their next step will be should they lose this round. Can you say APPEAL?

  13. - Madame Defarge - Friday, Jul 28, 06 @ 9:30 am:

    How long before the trundlers come for the King?

  14. - annie - Friday, Jul 28, 06 @ 9:38 am:

    It is strange that the Governor’s Inspector General goes after documents from Richland Ccommunity College with a court order. The college board orders the tapes destroy even though the staff did not tell the board that the state had a court order asking for them. The college talded about the state has no authority to look at the records ( separation of powers?).
    Now, this what is wrong with all levels of government today thinking their above the law of the land?
    The President with signing side bars,Congress feeling that the Justice Dept. can not look in their outright corruption. The numerous cases concerning the city of Chicago and the state no matter who is guv. Now, a community college?
    I guess the law is for us poor common folks.

  15. - IVote - Friday, Jul 28, 06 @ 10:24 am:

    If I understand the Illinois constitution and established precedent correctly, before an outside law firm can represent a state agency it must be appointed “Special Assistant Attorney General” by the AG. As such, it would be an AGENT of the AG, not an independent contractor. That means it works FOR the AG, not for the DOT. Thus, Jenner & Block’s records are really the AG’s property. Turn ‘em over!

    There is a possibly sticky wicket if there is some kind of claim of “attorney-client privilege” by the DOT, since in addition to being the state’s lawyer the AG is also an investigator/prosecutor.

    As far as Vanover’s response, J&B and DOT undoubtedly know, just because DOT wants J&B to continue handling the case doesn’t mean a thing. It’s the AG’s call.

    Looks like Public Official A’s folks (er, I mean the Governor’s office) are in quite a bind, and are trying to put Lisa Madigan in the bind with them. If she has integrity (and I believe she does) she will force J&B to hand over the records.

  16. - IVote - Friday, Jul 28, 06 @ 11:01 am:

    One more thing. It is my understanding that all agency chief counsel do NOT report to their respective agency heads as you might expect, but rather report directly to the Govenror’s Office — Chief Counsel. Thus, it appears the “order” than J&B not turn over the records to AG Madigan probably came from the Governor’s office, not Secretary Martin at DOT. (Surely NOBODY is dumb enough to think the DOT Chief Counsel made the call on her own?!)

  17. - Timbuktu - Friday, Jul 28, 06 @ 11:02 am:

    Two years later, Ms. Scott’s words still ring true to this very day. “This effort reflects not merely an ignorance of the law, but complete and utter contempt for the law,” Former inspector general, Zaldwaynaka “Z” Scott wrote in a Sept. 9, 2004, report.
    Ms. Madigan how much longer are you going to be bullied and pushed around by this unscrupulous administration? Don’t go down with Rod!
    Time to turn up the volume……

  18. - CONFLICTS OF INTEREST - Friday, Jul 28, 06 @ 11:11 am:







  19. - Team Sleep - Friday, Jul 28, 06 @ 11:20 am:

    If Lisa is only protecting Blago for her dad’s stake and sake, I don’t understand the logic. MJM and Blago don’t get along, and it’s apparent that there will be a struggle between the two if Blago is re-elected and the House remains in Democratic hands. Words cannot describe the level of arrogance and disdain for the law that IDOT officials and their attorneys are showing.

  20. - Carl Nyberg - Friday, Jul 28, 06 @ 11:47 am:

    I’m not an attorney, but doesn’t it seem unethical for a law firm to quit representing a client because the client is unsavory? Wouldn’t this behavior have a chilling effect on attorney client relations?

    In my non-legal trained thinking there are only a few reasons an attorney would quit over the objection of the client.

    1. The client demanded the attorney do something unethical.
    2. The client lied to the attorney, so the original agreement was proferred under false pretenses.
    3. The scope of the work evolved beyond the capability of the firm.

    What do the lawyers in the discussion know?

  21. - Anonymous - Friday, Jul 28, 06 @ 12:23 pm:

    7:45 & 8:44 obviously must agree with the rest of us if that’s all there is to criticize. Hey you two (or is it one and the same) there are words misspelled in other posts. You better point those out, also.

  22. - Niles Township - Friday, Jul 28, 06 @ 12:48 pm:

    There are only a handful of situations in which a lawyer is permitted to withdraw from representation:

    1. Client insists upon claim or defense not warranted under existing law with no reasonable argument for change in law.

    2. Client seeks illegal course of conduct.

    3. Client insists lawyer pursue illegal or rule-prohibited conduct.

    4. Client makes it difficult for lawyer to carry out employment effectively.

    5. Client insists on conduct contrary to judgment or advice of lawyer even though the conduct is not prohibited.

    6. Failure to pay lawyers expenses or fees.

  23. - Bill - Friday, Jul 28, 06 @ 12:59 pm:

    I don’t think Lisa was counting on your vote, anyway.

  24. - Chinaman - Friday, Jul 28, 06 @ 1:05 pm:

    It’s time for Fitzpatrick to take this case away from Lisa. He was just being civil in the last letter he sent to her. He knows she is in over her head. The Elvis want-a-be will stall, stall and stall until after the election.
    THE PRESS NEED TO DEMAND ANSWERS. Blago is counting on the press having a short attention span. On to the next story. Don’t let the Blago goons play this game. He ain’t nothing but a hound dog. So hound him.

  25. - Killing Them With Kindness - Friday, Jul 28, 06 @ 1:05 pm:

    Don’t you think J&B realized it was a loser and decided to withdraw? DOT used to be a great place to work but the ineptitude and vindictiveness of the new execs out there has trashed the entire place. The actions always result in complete chaos due to a lack of thinking anything through. I hope those folks get their jobs back…even if some of them are hard core repubs. The material reorg was bogus.

  26. - HuH? - Friday, Jul 28, 06 @ 1:10 pm:

    c u next tuesday, ellen.

  27. - Chinaman - Friday, Jul 28, 06 @ 1:17 pm:

    Sorry I should said Fitzgerald.

  28. - Timbuktu - Friday, Jul 28, 06 @ 1:41 pm:

    Wonder if there’s dollar figure out there on how much Rod & company have spent of the taxpayers money on all this legal wrangling to date to keep all this a big secret. Soon he be raiding more state pensions to help pay for their legal fees. Or maybe that’s why he wants sell the Illinois Lottery so he’ll be flush with cash to use anyway he wants.

  29. - Illinois Tollway - Friday, Jul 28, 06 @ 1:56 pm:

    - Killing Them With Kindness 1:05 pm:

    Didn’t you know, all these new execs. at I.D.O.T and The Illinois Tollway are TRANSPORTATION EXPERTS.

  30. - Crockett - Friday, Jul 28, 06 @ 2:49 pm:

    Experts? Due to their car driving experience?

  31. - Anon - Friday, Jul 28, 06 @ 4:12 pm:

    It’s ooooooovvvveeeeeerrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!! Bye bye Blago bye bye…

  32. - anonynous again - Friday, Jul 28, 06 @ 4:23 pm:

    What is the common denominator in this math equation?????

    Federal civil suit?
    Powerwash investigation?
    State civil suit?
    Chaos at TS?

    It is one Director at IDOT who is it???

  33. - the Other Anonymous - Friday, Jul 28, 06 @ 4:29 pm:

    Does anyone know who the individual attorney(s) are at Jenner & Block on this case? I ask only because this dispute is much more interesting if Jenner & Block got the case originally because of political connections.

  34. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Jul 28, 06 @ 4:38 pm:

    Look, Lisa Madigan is going to make a phone call, and then it’s going to take her two minutes to get a court order for Jenner & Block to turn over the records.

    J&B is just covering their behind and ensuring they can’t be accused of acting improperly. The court order gives them all the legal cover they need.

  35. - Go Lisa - Friday, Jul 28, 06 @ 5:00 pm:

    The attorneys from Jenner & Block are Matthew Devine (who I think is Dick’s son), Jeffrey D. Colman and David Jimenez-Ekman.

  36. - It's Magic - Friday, Jul 28, 06 @ 5:16 pm:

    - the Other Anonymous @ 4:29 pm

    Do you mean like Franczek Sullivan who were hired by the Illinois Tollway dispose of those pesky disgruntled Illinois Tollway employees who were screwed out of their jobs? Franczek Sullivan was on Blaojevich’s transition team.

  37. - Sidelines - Friday, Jul 28, 06 @ 6:44 pm:

    One of the JB guys used to work for the Governor i dont know his name when the gov was a congressman. Have you thought of the fact that maybe both sides are in on this JB and the Admin to slow things down a bit before Nov

  38. - Ghost Buster - Friday, Jul 28, 06 @ 6:58 pm:

    You folks are not seeing the whole picture. Here is the math. Jenner and Block plus the current adm. equal large campain contrbutions.when you have these large payoffs you must provide a vehicle to payback the payoffers. This equals a lawsuit that has to be defended by private counsel. IT went on all the time under Thompson, Edgar and Ryan. MY brother was involved with a suit against IDOT and J&B represented all the state defendants. They charged over a millon dollars to do this and they still lost!! His attorney cost a little over one hundred thousand and the state ended up paying her to!

  39. - Bottom Line - Friday, Jul 28, 06 @ 7:04 pm:

    IDOT is going to lose this case and we the taxpayers are going to pay for it, here’s the long drawn out saga:

    IDOT hires local agency liaisons (political hacks)
    IDOT abolishes traffic safety section and lays off (all repubicans) under the guise of a “material reorganization” but never produce a re-org or a cost savings plan.
    IDOT on the next day forms a new department called the office of external affairs (all politically connected democrats)
    IDOT forgot to tell the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NHTSA(the federal agency who funds all the employees, grants and programs at IDOT (Ooops!!)
    IDOT hires back on contract 3 people to keep the grants going because they don’t have a clue how federal funding works.
    Auditor General William Holland audits IDOT Division of Traffic Safety and finds no reason or rationale for a material re-organization, IDOT screwed up and didn’t get proper reimbursement and loses millions in federal funding.
    IDOT gets subpeonas from the feds.
    IDOT abolishes the new office of external affairs and those people move to the old traffic safety section.
    Jenner & Block quits.

    ChaChing ChaChing

  40. - Ignatius J. Reily - Friday, Jul 28, 06 @ 7:24 pm:

    Said Patricius, filius de Geraldus to Elisa, Advocatus Generalis:

    “Let the toxins in the mud rise to the surface”

  41. - IDOT Engineer - Friday, Jul 28, 06 @ 7:33 pm:

    It is funny that Cat mentioned IDOT Secretary Martin throwing a fit over the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP):

    “2. Martin is now arguing over the Chicago Area Transportation - Transportation Planning merger (see morning briefs)on budget even though the exec director is a former IDOT employee.”

    Actually, I have it on good authority that what really has Mr. Martin, and IDOT NE Illinois Tsar Jason Tai, steamed is that the CMAP
    Executive Director (and former IDOT employee) to whom Cat referred is earning a larger salary than either Mr. Martin or Mr. Tai. CMAP has also hired several extremely competent former IDOT employees who had finally had enough of Mr. Martin and the Hole-In-The-Head Gang.

    In my experience, this is typical of the small-mindedness and crassness of the so-called leadership the governor has brought into our agency since his inauguration. Don’t even get me started on former Chief of Staff Robin Black.

    Our only hope at IDOT is that Blago is not re-elected. Then there might be some hope of rebuilding a proud and respected agency after the fear and loathing and virtual free fall of the past three-plus years. We each fervently wish we could be the ones who provide Patrick Fitzgerald with the proverbial smoking gun which buries Gov. Goodhair once and for all.

  42. - Stateworker - Friday, Jul 28, 06 @ 7:48 pm:

    Sec Martin is not the evil one here the curreent Dir of TS masterminded the layoffs and now is hand picking his favorites problem is the Ds are starting to hate him more than the Rs his pot is cooking maybe the rat will end up in a cell with a teamster you all got it right

  43. - State worker - Saturday, Jul 29, 06 @ 12:25 am:

    Judy can save her money for TV ads. Rod is his own worst enemy. Lisa needs to tear a page out of Fitzgeralds book and step up to the palate soon.

  44. - State worker - Saturday, Jul 29, 06 @ 12:26 am:

    I mean plate…hehe

  45. - still anon - Sunday, Jul 30, 06 @ 2:58 pm:

    Ghost Buster hits it pretty much on the head. The selection of outside counsel has always been a way to disguise political quid pro quo. This is not new to Blago, goes back as far as I can recall. If you doubt it, go look at some old (pre-Blago)RFPs for big dollar legal services with requirements like the firm must be within so many blocks of the Thompson Center etc. Who controls the specs controls the outcome. Things may have been even wackier before some legal service contracts were bid - which I believe was in the late 90s.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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