St. Clair County Circuit Judge Stephen McGlynn on Thursday approved a motion for substitution of judge in a case filed against East St. Louis elected officials and staff members by civic activist Matt Hawkins.
Hawkins is seeking the court’s assistance in enforcing his right to access information concerning the city's handling of grant money.
Hawkins claims in his petition for injunctive relief that he has not received a response from the city or its attorney to his request for documents concerning a Community Block Development Grant, where nearly $2.5 million was spent to renovate and/or build 16 housing units involving only 12 buildings.
Hawkins also requested minutes from meetings of the Tax Increment Finance Commission and Joint Review Board, which are boards that oversee millions of dollars in public funding.
The defendants named in the May 31 complaint are City Clerk Dorene Hoosman, Mayor Alvin Parks, City Councilman Roy Mosley, City Councilwoman Emeka Jackson, City Councilwoman Latoya Greenwood, City Councilman Robert Eastern III and City Manager Deletra Hudson.
Hoosman filed a motion for substitution of judge Aug. 5.
The defendants also filed a motion to dismiss Aug. 5, stating Hawkins’ complaint is “not in proper form or in compliance with the rules.”
The motion to dismiss filed by Belleville attorney Michael Wagner states Hawkins’ complaint fails to consecutively number the paragraphs and separate each paragraph into separate allegations.
Hawkins claims in his Aug. 7 motion to amend that since 1986 when the first Tax Increment Finance District was opened in the City of East St. Louis, an estimated $600 million has been spent with “little or nothing to show for it as it relates to development.”
Matt Hawkins is a plaintiff pro se.
Wagner of Clayborne, Sabo and Wagner in Belleville represents the city and its staff.
St. Clair County case number 13-MR-190.