Excerpts from “Creating a Chicago Landmark – Millennium Park by Timothy Gilfoyle, Published 2006, Chapter 8:
Jack Guthman was selected to represent ”the City of Chicago and Millennium Park....Upon assuming the assignment, Guthman raised two potential problems. First, the original plan approved by the Chicago Plan Commission in 1998 did not include the MDTC (Music and Dance Theater of Chicago) on the site; this feared Guthman, was an invitation for a lawsuit. In fact Guthman discovered that there was no suggestion of a building of this nature in the planned development ordinance which governed the site. Working with Uhlir, Guthman suggested amending the plan administratively. That tactic was rejected by the Chicago Department of Planning, forcing Millennium Park, Inc., to come up with a new development plan.
Guthman’s second worry was more serious: the Montgomery Ward cases. Guthman proposed an innovative tactic. While most Chicagoans considered the Montgomery Ward cases to be a barrier to park development, Guthman believed the court decisions were ‘a road map’ to building in the park. Guthman’s road map was Ward I, the 1897 lawsuit that allowed building in the park as long as abutting landowners approved, a procedure that was followed in 1891 for the construction of the Art Institute in what was then Lake Park. Guthman went to the Art Institute archives, found the consent form used more than a century earlier, and used that for the Millennium Park waiver. ‘We did not change a word,’ emphasized Guthman.
In order to gain landlord and city approval, Beeby was nevertheless forced to revise the theater’s plan, …scaling the height to less than forty feet. On March 11, 1999, Uhlir presented the revised plan to the Chicago Plan Commission, this time with the support of various civic groups.
In the meantime, Uhlir labored to gather approval from surrounding landlords. Along with Joyce Moffatt, the general manager of MDTC, and city attorney John McDonough, Uhlir went from building to building, making presentations to all fifteen landlords surrounding Millennium Park, explaining the project, and persuading each to sign a consent form.
Guthman, however, feared such consent waivers were insufficient. He advised Millennium Park and MDTC officials that no bond lawyer would offer a favorable opinion on the development of Millennium Park without a court case validating the process. Guthman had the solution: a lawsuit.
On April 5, 1999, the Boazes (360 Randolph) sued on behalf of other condominium owners residing along the northern edge of the park. …he argued that any building exceeding five feet in height violated not only the Montgomery Ward decisions, but the covenant associated with the Fort Dearborn Addition that the lakefront remain ‘open, clear and free.
A few days later, Guthman received a phone call from Daley advisor Ed Bedore. ‘You know, frankly the Mayor is not happy about having a lawsuit brought on this,’ Bedore complained.
Guthman stoked Bedore’s ego. ‘You’re a very thoughtful guy in the area of public finance,’ said Guthman. ‘I think if you explain to the Mayor that, in order to get a bond opinion, you’re going to have to have something more than my view of this and some consents. You’re going to need to have a court opinion which ratifies the approach to overcoming the Montgomery Ward cases.
Nine months later, Guthman was vindicated. On January 14, 2000, Judge Albert Green dismissed the Boaz complaint, finding that property owners along Randolph Street had no additional rights and that the consents were sufficient. The Music and Dance Theater was not in violation of the Montgomery Ward restrictions.” (pp. 140-143)
WEBSITE COMMENT: Everything above is apparently accurate EXCEPT the last sentence. Judge Green dismissed the case because the Boazes did not live adjacent to the proposed Pritzker/Harris site. This is explained in the Sun Times article below. Judge Green never ruled on the merits of the case, and all copies of the original Boaz complaint document (and the park district response) are "MISSING" from the Cook County Court files, and separate 2007 Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to the City of Chicago and the Chicago Park District were DENIED.
Posted Cook County Court Notice (720 ILCS 5/32.8)
"Any person who knowingly and without lawful authority, alters, destroys, defaces, removes, or conceals any public record commits a Class 4 felony"
Relevant article from January 2000
Couple loses fight to block Millennium Park
Chicago Sun-Times, Jan 16, 2000 by TIM NOVAK
"A retired couple living in a high-rise overlooking Grant Park have lost their nine-month battle to block Mayor Daley's $200 million Lakefront Millennium Park.
John and Mildred Boaz had sued under an 1848 lakefront protection law they said the city is violating.
Cook County Circuit Judge Albert Green ruled Friday the Boazes had no right to sue over the project because although their condo abuts Grant Park, they do not live next to the area where the new park will rise. Only those adjacent to the land have legal standing to sue, Green said.
The couple said they went to court because the planned Millennium Park will include a 40-foot above-ground entrance to an underground music and dance theater, and that structures taller than five feet violate an 1848 covenant.
"Once you start letting people build things in the park, everybody wants to build something," said David Epstein, the couple's attorney.
The Boazes live in a high-rise at 360 E. Randolph, a few blocks east of the proposed park, a 16-acre addition to Grant Park set to open next year at Michigan Avenue and Randolph Street.
The theater entrance "is taking up a small amount of space," said Jennifer Hoyle, a city spokeswoman. "We don't think it's going to hinder the appearance of the park. The Millennium Park will improve the public's enjoyment of the lakefront."
In persuading Green to drop the suit, city officials said they had obtained waivers to the 19th century covenant from property owners adjacent to the project, the same process used to build the Art Institute of Chicago in 1891."