Dreaming of Mt. Vernon

The Madison County Record Oct. 2, 2005, 4:48am



The private sector isn’t for everyone.

Sources tell Dicta that once-vanquished 5th Appellate Court Judge Gordon Maag is pondering a run for his old seat.

The Democrat Maag—now at the Lakin Law Firm in Wood River—was bounced from the bench when he lost a run for the Illinois Supreme Court and a retention bid for his 5th Appellate seat simultaneously in November 2004.

A Maag bid would set up a doozy of a Democratic primary.

Former trial lawyer and Saline County Judge Bruce Stewart of Harrisburg has already announced he’s running for the seat. He’s backed by the man Maag had hoped to replace on the Supreme Court, former Justice Philip J. Rarick.

Fightin’ words

Madison County employees are threatening to strike—and threatening Third Circuit judges to support their labor grievance, or else.

A letter circulated to Madison County Judges Ann Callis, Daniel Stack, George Moran, and Charles Romani from “friends and families of the employees” asserts that judicial “retention is looming near and we need your help in solving the matter.”

“This is a state that is in financial trouble and cannot properly fund schools and other state dependent programs,” the letter says. “But we have kept our mouths shut and we have continued to support out democratic judges. Well, times have changed.

“Judges could do more to help us in this situation, but have chosen not to.”

AFSCME’s local 799—representing employees in the Circuit Clerk's office, probation officers, bailiffs and nurses in the county Health Department want more pay as well as to pay less for health insurance.

Shall they beware? Judges Callis, Romani and Moran run for retention in 2006. Judge Stack in 2010.

Screen scam?

Sources tell Dicta that Beaumont, Texas-based Brent Coon & Associates, which filed 33 silicosis lawsuits in Madison County’s Court last week, has used a mass medical screening firm currently under Congressional investigation for fraudulently diagnosing potential clients.

Mobile, Alabama-based RTS, Inc. drew national attention after its owner admitted in U.S. District court that law firms, not doctors, set criteria for who was sick with silicosis and who was not.

Earlier this month, the Johns Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust announced it will no longer accept documents prepared by RTS, as the firm is not an “acceptable” medical source. Johns Manville has paid out $3.3 billion for 655,096 asbestos claims since 1988.

Medical reports in Madison County’s silicosis cases have yet to be presented to the court.

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