Railroad museum sues to collect judgment proceeds from Illinois transit company

Kelly Holleran Sep. 28, 2011, 7:18am

The owners of a railroad museum in California claim they have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars after multiple entities conspired against them to deprive them of money they had been rewarded in a lawsuit.

Feather River Rail Society filed a lawsuit Sept. 13 in Madison County Circuit Court against Gateway Rail Services, Mid-America Rail Services, Illinois Transit Assembly Corp., Leslie M. Kasten, Mark Greve, Phillip Sheridan, John Gigante, Benjamin Butterworth, Roger J. Verbeeren Jr., Frank Dziama, Clyde Hentz and Robert Jackson.

In its complaint, Feather River Rail claims it filed a lawsuit in 2000 against the Illinois Transit Assembly Corp. and Kasten, alleging breach of contract, conversion and fraud.

On June 19, 2003, Madison County Circuit Court entered a judgment in favor of the Feather River Rail Society and ordered the ITAC and Kasten to pay $75,284 in compensatory damages and $750,000 in exemplary damages, according to court records.

ITAC and Kasten appealed the judgment multiple times, but lost every attempt, the suit states.

Since then, ITAC and Kasten have made several efforts to avoid paying the judgment money to Feather River Rail Society, the complaint says.

For example, ITAC and Kasten transferred property to Gateway for $1.625 million on Sept. 25, 2007, after the judgment was entered in favor of Feather River Rail Society, the suit claims.

Following the transfer, Kasten received a home in Minneapolis valued at $400,000 and Gateway secured a $700,000 mortgage for the home, according to the complaint.

On July 11, 2008, ITAC was dissolved, yet it still had not satisfied the judgment against it, the suit states.

"All defendants stood to gain financially if a judgment in favor of Feather River could not be collected from ITAC or Kasten," the complaint says.

Feather River Rail Society wants to see the court invalidate the ITAC's and Kasten's transfer of property to Gateway. In addition, it seeks compensatory damages of $241,334 interest at 9 percent per annum, punitive damages of $750,000, attorneys' fees and other relief the court deems just.

Richard E. Boyle and Michael C. Hermann of Boyle Brasher in Belleville will be representing them.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 11-L-919.

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