Legal Action

The Better Government Association strives to hold public officials accountable and will at times go to court in order to do so. The majority of the BGA's cases involve defending public access to documents when government agencies violate the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, the state's open records law.

BGA v. Chicago Public Schools

October 30, 2017
The Better Government Association has sued Chicago Public Schools, seeking records about the enrollment status of high school students.
Read the complaint file

BGA v. City Colleges of Chicago

October 30, 2017
The Better Government Association has sued City Colleges of Chicago, seeking data about student graduation rates.
Read the complaint file

BGA v. Chicago Public Schools

July 13, 2017
The Better Government Association has sued Chicago Public Schools, seeking records about the drowning of a fourteen-year-old special education student in a CPS pool during gym class.
Read the complaint file | Read the press release

BGA V. City of Chicago, Chicago Department of Public Health

April 11, 2017
The Better Government Association has sued the administration of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, seeking records related to lead testing of drinking water at the Chicago Public Schools and city efforts in 2016 to manage media coverage of it.
Read the complaint file | Read the press release

BGA V. ILLINOIS Housing development authority

November 17, 2016
The Better Government Association filed a lawsuit against the Illinois Housing Development Authority seeking the release of unredacted emails related to Gov. Bruce Rauner's ouster of the state agency's former chairman.
Read the complaint file | Read the press release

BGA V. CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT
April 7, 2016
The Chicago Police Department refuses a Better Government Association request for video footage and other records relating to another fatal shooting by an officer, so the BGA sues.
Read the complaint file | Read the press release
BGA V. CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT

March 18, 2016
The Chicago Police Department stonewalls a Better Government Association request for video footage of fatal shootings by officers since 2011, so the BGA sues in Cook County Circuit Court.
Read the complaint file | Read the press release

BGA v. Calumet Public School District 132
December 17, 2015
Suburban school system won’t turn over complete compensation information on superintendent, in violation of Illinois Freedom of Information Act, so Better Government Association goes to court.
Read the complaint file | Read the press release
 
BGA v. City of Chicago
October 23, 2015
To determine the extent to which Mayor Emanuel and his aides have been using private email to conduct public business, the Better Government Association filed an open records request -- which was denied, prompting the BGA to file a lawsuit against City Hall.
Read the complaint file | Read the press release
 
BGA v. Chicago Public Schools

October 21, 2015
Chicago Public Schools ignores five more records requests made under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, so the BGA files a motion to expand an existing lawsuit against CPS.
Read the complaint file | Read the press release 

BGA v. FBI

October 13, 2015
The Better Government Association presses the FBI for information on spending and metrics related to its web site. The agency won't give up records or respond to follow-up inquiries, so the BGA files suit in U.S. District Court.
Read the complaint file | Read the press release 
 

BGA v. Governor's Office

July 27, 2015
Gov. Bruce Rauner's office won't turn over emails between the governor and top aides, so the BGA takes the administration to court.
Read the complaint file | Read the press release

BGA v. City Colleges

July 27, 2015
The City Colleges of Chicago refuses to respond to a request for photos of system employees, including Chancellor Cheryl Hyman, so BGA files suit.
Read the complaint file | Read the press release

BGA v. Cook County State's Attorney's Office

July 27, 2015
Office of Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez refuses to release a variety of records that would help gauge the agency's performance, so the BGA files suit in Cook County Circuit Court, alleging violations of the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.
Read the complaint file | Read the press release 

BGA v. Chicago Police Department

July 27, 2015
The Chicago Police Department fails to turn over emails between Supt. Garry McCarthy and a businessman-friend with admitted ties to reputed mob figures, so the BGA files suit against CPD.
Read the complaint file | Read the press release

BGA v. Chicago Public Schools

July 27, 2015
Chicago Public Schools refuses to turn over various records related to contractors and finances, so the BGA files a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court.
Read the complaint file | Read the press release

BGA v. Chicago Police Department

April 23, 2015
The Chicago Police Department refuses to respond to a request for records about work-related court absences by officers, so BGA files lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court.
Read the complaint file | Read the press release

BGA v. Intrinsic Schools

March 27, 2015
The Intrinsic charter school network refuses to turn over records related to internet use by top employees, so BGA files lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court.
Read the complaint file | Read the press release

BGA v. Special Prosecutor Dan Webb, City of Chicago

March 12, 2015
Special prosecutor, city refuse to turn over documents related to Koschman/Vanecko investigation, so BGA sues in Cook County Circuit Court.
Read the complaint file | Read the press release | Read about this issue  

BGA v. Illinois Comptroller 

February 24, 2015
The Illinois comptroller's office refuses to turn over records showing which state employees the Rauner administration wanted kept on the payroll, allegedly for political reasons, so the BGA sues.
Read the complaint file | Read the press release   

BGA v. Metropolitan Water Reclamation District 

February 19, 2015
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District officer allegedly makes racial remarks, boasts of drinking on the clock – while being recorded over a police radio. But agency won't turn over copy of recording, so BGA files lawsuit.
Read the complaint file | Read the press release 

BGA v. Illinois Department of Transportation 

February 13, 2015
IDOT won’t release records that would shine light on how state agency handles press inquiries, so the BGA takes IDOT to court.
Read the complaint file | Read the press release 

FOP v. City of Chicago 

February 10, 2015
The BGA files a "friend of the court brief" in existing lawsuit, calls for preservation of police misconduct records.
Read the briefRead about the issue | Read the press release

BGA v. Village of Rosemont

January 22, 2015
Rosemont refuses to reveal financial records relating to entertainment venues, so the BGA takes village to court for violating the state's open records law.
Read the complaint file | Read the press release | Read the story | State Supreme Court ruling

BGA v. Chicago Police Department

October 22, 2014
CPD fails to respond to BGA open records requests, so the BGA files suit in Cook County Circuit Court.
Read the complaint file | Read the press release 

BGA, NBC v. Chicago Public Schools

September 5, 2014
Chicago Public Schools routinely ignores open records requests or otherwise withholds documents available under state law, so the BGA and NBC 5 take the agency to court.
Read the complaint file | Read the press release

BGA v. City Of Chicago Commission On Animal Care And Control

August 4, 2014
The Emanuel administration refuses to release unredacted emails relating to City Hall's response to the accidental killings of dogs at the city animal pound.
Read the complaint file | Read the press release

BGA v. Illinois High School Association, District 230

July 23, 2014
The IHSA refuses to release documents, claiming it's not subject to the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, so the BGA sues in Cook County Circuit Court.
Read complaint | Read press release | Read story | Supreme Court ruling

BGA v. Elk Grove Village

July 17, 2014
Elk Grove Village's municipal government refuses to, among other things, turn over public records about police training, so the BGA sues in Cook County Circuit Court.
Read the complaint file | Read the story

BGA v. Cook County

June 30, 2014
Preckwinkle administration refuses to release documents showing the extent of patronage in Cook County government, so the BGA sues.
Read the complaint file | Read the press release

BGA v. Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority; Navy Pier, Inc.

June 19, 2014
McPier and a nonprofit spinoff refuse to release records related to Navy Pier's operations, so the BGA sues in Cook County Circuit Court, claiming they violated the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.
Read the complaint file | Read the press release | Read the ruling

BGA v. Chicago Transit Authority

June 16, 2014
The BGA sues the Chicago Transit Authority for violating the Illinois Freedom of Information Act by refusing to release the employment photo of a politically connected worker.
Read the complaint file

BGA v. City Of Chicago Commission On Animal Care And Control

June 12, 2014
The BGA sues Chicago Animal Care and Control for violating the Illinois Freedom of Information Act by refusing to turn over surveillance video of an employee allegedly choking a dog that ended up dying.
Read the complaint file

BGA v. Retirement Plan For Chicago Transit Authority Employees

May 15, 2014
The BGA files a lawsuit against the Chicago Transit Authority's pension fund for failing to comply with the state's open records law and turn over records relating to gifts and perks.
Read the complaint file | Read the press release

BGA v. City Of Harvey

April 25, 2014
The BGA sues the City of Harvey for allegedly violating the Open Meetings Act and for refusing to turn over numerous documents requested under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.
Read the complaint file | Read the press release

BGA v. Schiller Park School District 81 (Records obtained through settlement)

April 9, 2014
The BGA sues Schiller Park School District 81 for failing to turn over confidentiality agreements requested under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.
Read the complaint file | Read the press release

ARDC Complaint (Matter is pending)

February 2014
The Better Government Association files a complaint — with the state agency that regulates lawyers — against a retired public-sector attorney for alleged ethical transgressions while in government service.

BGA Letter To U.S. Attorney's Office (Regarding David Koschman case)

February 12, 2014
The BGA asks the U.S. Attorney's office to open an investigation into how Chicago police, Cook County prosecutors handled the David Koschman homicide case.
Read the letter

BGA REQUESTS AUDIT (REGARDING HARVEY MAYOR ERIC KELLOGG)

January 2014
The BGA submits a formal request to the Illinois State Board of Elections to order an audit of the campaign fund run by Harvey Mayor Eric Kellogg.

ARDC Complaint (Matter is pending)

November/December 2013
The Better Government Association files complaints — with the state agency that regulates lawyers — against three current and former public-sector attorneys for alleged ethical transgressions.

Garlick v. Madigan Amicus Brief (Appeal dismissed by Illinois Supreme Court)

November 1, 2013
The Better Government Association files paperwork with the courts showing support for a pending pro-transparency lawsuit against the Illinois attorney general. The suit came after the state agency refused to release public records in a more accessible electronic format.
Read the BGA's brief of amicus curiae | Read the press release

Nelson v. Kendall County Amicus Brief (Illinois Supreme Court agrees with BGA's position)

October 30, 2013
The Better Government Association, with two media groups, asks for court permission to file an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit against the Kendall County state's attorney after prosecutors argue they shouldn't have to submit to the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.
Read the BGA's brief of amicus curiae | Read the press release

BGA v. Pace Suburban Bus (Records obtained through settlement)

June 18, 2013
The Better Government Association sues Pace, the suburban bus agency, for violating the Illinois Freedom of Information Act by failing to turn over payroll data in a usable format as requested.
Read the complaint file | Read Andy Shaw's blog post

BGA v. Cook County Recorder Of Deeds (Records obtained through settlement)

May 14, 2013
The BGA filed a lawsuit in state court accusing the Cook County Recorder of Deeds office of violating the Illinois Freedom of Information Act by refusing to accept document requests via email.
Read the complaint file | Read the press release

BGA v. The County Of Cook (Records obtained through settlement)

March 26, 2013
The BGA filed a lawsuit in state court against Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle for refusing to provide, under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, names and addresses of people who have sought her appointment to government boards and commissions.
Read the complaint file | Read the press release

BGA v. Village Of Maywood, Illinois (Records obtained through court order)

August 21, 2012
The BGA filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court against the Village of Maywood, alleging officials there violated the Illinois Freedom of Information Act by refusing to turn over a copy of a grand jury subpoena.
Read the complaint file | Read the press release

BGA v. Zaruba

June 28, 2012
The BGA filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court against DuPage County Sheriff John Zaruba for failing to turn over, under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, documents showing how his teenaged son used a confidential law enforcement data system through the sheriff's office.
Read the complaint fileRead the press release

BGA v. Village Of Maywood, Illinois (Records obtained through settlement)

May 7, 2012
The BGA filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court against the Village of Maywood for trying to drag out a request (by mischaracterizing it as a "commercial" request rather than one made for news-gathering purposes) for documents under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.
Read the complaint file

BGA v. Pace Suburban Bus (Records obtained through court order and settlement)

March 22, 2012
The BGA filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court against Pace, the suburban bus agency, alleging it violated the Illinois Freedom of Information Act in refusing to turn over documents related to bus accidents, and alcohol and drug testing of bus drivers.
Read the complaint file | Read the press release

BGA Amicus Brief In Koschman Case (A judge later appointed a veteran lawyer to serve as the outside investigator)

January 5, 2012
The BGA filed a court document formally supporting the appointment of an independent "special prosecutor" to investigate the death of a Mount Prospect man nearly eight years ago, allegedly at the hands of a nephew of then-Mayor Richard M. Daley, and a possible cover-up by police and the state's attorney's office.
Read the amicus curiae | Read the press release

BGA v. Chicago Police Department (Records obtained through settlement)

January 5, 2011
The BGA filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court to compel the Chicago Police Department to release information about the size and cost of the security detail assigned to Chicago Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th).
Read the complaint file | Read the press release

BGA v. Chicago Police Department Request for Review (Records obtained through Attorney General opinion)

October 10, 2010
After the BGA's attorneys threatened to sue the Chicago Police Department, the agency released records relating to the death investigation of Chicago Board of Education President Michael Scott.

BGA v. Cook County (Records obtained through settlement)

August 3, 2009
The BGA filed a lawsuit in federal court against an Ohio-based partisan political group that named itself the "Better Government Association."

BGA v. Blagojevich (Records obtained through court order)

January 4, 2007
The BGA sued Illinois' state government in Sangamon County Circuit Court to force then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich to release federal subpoenas issued to his administration.