Posted by: Patricia Salkin | February 23, 2008

Northern District of Illinois Finds No Evidence of Discrimination Based Upon Ethnicity

The Plaintiff, a developer born in Italy, proposed to develop a five-acre parcel into fourteen single-family homes. During negotiations with the municipality, the Plaintiff had conversations with an Alderman regarding the naming of the street within the subdivision. It was suggested by the Alderman that nonprofit organizations be allowed to bid on the rights to name the street.  No official action was taken on this, but the subdivision was approved subject to final engineering approval.  Following further discussions over the naming of the street, the Plaintiff alleged that his project was being delayed because of alleged discriminatory acts.

   

Specifically, the Plaintiff alleged that the Alderman stated, “Why can’t we quit with all these Italians,” although the Plaintiff acknowledged the comment was made in a joking tone.  The Plaintiff, who desired to name the street after himself, also alleged that the Alderman told him that to name the street “Rante Circle” was “too much Italian.”  The Court reviewed the videotape of the meeting and did not observe anyone at the meeting make such a comment, nor any other comment that demonstrated an anti-Italian bias. The Court noted that in fact several comments were made concerning the “nice Italian theme” of the subdivision.”  

The Court concluded that there was no evidence to support the allegation of discrimination based on national origin.   Furthermore, the Court noted that under Illinois law, authority rests with the municipality to name streets, and that the Alderman’s objection to the plaintiff naming the street after himself was not a violation of the law.   

Rante v. City of Wood Dale, 2008 WL 345603 (N.D.Ill. 2/5/2008).


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