* Press release…
Pay Now Illinois, a coalition of 97 Illinois-based human and social service agencies and companies, said today that it will consider an appeal of Cook County Circuit Court Judge Rodolfo Garcia’s denial of their request for immediate preliminary injunction and full payment of unpaid contracts dating back to July 1, 2015. While the judge dismissed the coalition’s suit against the State of Illinois, he also urged that their breach of contract suit be expeditiously appealed to a higher court for resolution.
In his ruling, Judge Garcia contended that a trial court was not the right setting for the case.
“We are disappointed with the ruling, but heartened by the Court’s recognition of the irreparable harm that has been caused in Illinois and by the Judge’s comment that our case deserves to be heard at a higher level,” Pay Now Illinois Chair Andrea Durbin said.
“From the beginning this lawsuit has been about good business practices – paying signed contracts in full and on time. The State’s failure to pay – and their belief that there is no way to make them pay – sets an extraordinarily bad precedent that should be of concern to anybody doing business with the state. It calls into question whether any contracts in the state are valid.”
Pay Now Illinois had sought a preliminary injunction for emergency relief that would require the state of Illinois to begin immediate payment on contracts that were more than 60 days in arrears. The motion for injunction was deemed necessary because of the devastating and irreparable harm being caused to plaintiffs who are facing a cascade of damages – laying off staffs, curtailment of essential programs, or entirely shuttering their programs, all of which seriously impedes their ability to serve their clients.
The original lawsuit filed on May 4, 2016 against Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger and the directors of six statewide agencies – one agency has since been added – claimed that the state’s failure to pay invoices on services performed under signed contacts was an unlawful impairment, or interference, with the agencies’ constitutional right to a legal remedy for the non-payment of these contracts. The suit further charged that the Governor and other state officials have acted illegally by failing to make payments on contracts while continuing to enforce them.
“It’s important to remember we are seeking full – not partial – payment on our contracts,” said Durbin who is also CEO of Illinois Collaboration on Youth (ICOY). “For the State of Illinois to be considered a desirable business partner, it has to show that it honors its contracts in full. Right now, that is not the case.”