Ann Maher Oct. 21, 2014, 8:27am

An attorney associated with St. Louis attorney Stephen Tillery is helping fund the effort to derail Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier's retention.

George Zelcs, who practices complex commercial litigation at the Chicago office of Korein Tillery, contributed $300,000 on Oct. 16 to Campaign for 2016.

The committee was formed late last week for the purpose of opposing Karmeier's bid to be retained to a second 10-year term.

It spent $561,700 on a media buy Oct. 17 to include spots on Channel 12 in Cape Girardeau, Mo., and Channel 6 in Paducah, Ky. last weekend.

The advertising alleges that Karmeier voted to reverse judgments against State Farm and Philip Morris after they supported his campaign in 2004.

Tillery was on the losing end of the Philip Morris decision. In 2005, Karmeier was one of four justices who voted to overturn a class action judgment of about $10 billion in Price v. Philip Morris. Tillery would stand to collect approximately $1.8 billion in fees from the case.

The Fifth District Appellate Court reinstated the judgment in April, finding that the Supreme Court would have affirmed the judgment if they had seen evidence that came to light later.

When Philip Morris subsequently petitioned the Supreme Court for review, Tillery moved for Karmeier to recuse himself or for the other Justices to disqualify him.

Karmeier denied the motion. He offered the Court an opportunity to review his decision and none of his fellow Justices called for disqualification.

When Campaign for 2016 filed its organizational paperwork on Monday with the Illinois State Board of Elections, it indicated the committee was established with $300,020 on hand. That statement was amended later in the day to show that $0 was on hand when the committee formed.

As of Monday morning, the committee had not filed paperwork indicating the source of funding for the remainder of the media buy.

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