Asbestos lawyer-turning-judge and his firm are big contributors to MC bench

By Record News | Jan 30, 2019

EDWARDSVILLE – Among nine circuit judges who considered Barry Julian for associate judge, five received campaign contributions from Julian, partner Randy Gori, and the Gori Julian firm. 

Their contributions to chief judge Dave Hylla and judges William Mudge, Dennis Ruth, Kyle Napp, and Sarah Smith total $51,500 since 2012. 

Julian, Randy Gori, wife Beth Gori, and the firm contributed $28,350 to three judicial candidates who won last November. 

The firm provided $9,750 for Smith’s successful campaign to advance from associate judge to circuit judge. Gori gave her $5,400; John Julian, a name Barry Julian sometimes uses, gave her $2,000. 

Gori gave $6,450 to a joint retention campaign for Hylla and Napp, and wife Beth Gori gave $4,750. 

Gori and Julian supported Hylla’s retention and Napp’s election in 2012. 

In that election cycle, Hylla received $1,000 from the firm, and $750 each from Randy Gori and Julian, and $500 from Beth Gori. 

Napp received $1,000 from the firm and $500 each from Randy Gori and Julian. Julian paid an additional $4,336 for a Napp video production. 

In 2014, Randy Gori, Julian, and the firm each gave Ruth $5,000 for his retention campaign. 

In 2016, Beth and Randy each gave Mudge $500 for his retention campaign. 

The firm gave him $950, and Gori Julian lawyer Sara Salger gave him $750. 

Their power extends beyond the county line. 

The firm gave the Senate Democratic Victory Fund $22,200 on Oct. 9, and gave the state Democratic Party $22,200 on Oct. 30. 

Julian contributed heavily before he teamed with Gori. 

In 2004, he gave $95,000 to the state party and $50,000 to Justice for All, the committee behind Supreme Court candidate Gordon Maag. 

In 2006, he gave Hylla $5,000. 

In 2010, as John Julian, he gave the state party $50,000. 

He gave Rep. Jay Hoffman $17,500. 

Julian showed various addresses in campaign records over the years. 

Last July 9, he showed an address in Naples, Fla. 

He showed it on July 10, and identified himself as retired. 

On Oct. 22, U.S. Magistrate Stephen Williams assigned Julian to represent a prisoner in an injury suit. On Oct. 24, Williams wrote that Julian informed the court that he retired, no longer practiced law, and wished to be removed from the court’s roll. 

Now, retirement has turned into a new career for Julian, 68, of Edwardsville. The Administrative Office of Illinois Courts officially announced his appointment on Monday. 

Also on Monday, Hylla said that a date had not yet been set for Julian's swearing in.

Calls were made to all 12 applicants for the position that was created when Smith was elected in November.

A receptionist answering Gori Julian's number said Julian had retired, though his profile remains on the firm’s website. His phone number on file at the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission on Tuesday morning connected him to the firm. 

Mark Rabe of Edwardsville, a Republican, said he didn’t see Julian’s selection as an appointment of someone from another state. Rather, he said he sees Julian as “one of the core participants in asbestos litigation.” 

“I ran for circuit judge and lost, so being passed over for a Democrat…(that's) probably is my first reaction,” he said. “They don’t appear to ever consider a Republican.” 

Rabe compared Julian’s appointment to the appointment of former Casino Queen president Jeffrey Watson, as associate judge in St. Clair County in December.    

“Why are those people even wanting this position,” Rabe said. “Nothing surprises me.” 

Applicants Derek Filcoff of Granite City and Kelly Sullivan of Collinsville, both Democrats, said they had no comment. 

Other applicants didn’t respond to messages.

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