AURORA - Aurora's Planned Parenthood facility is built on lies and fraud, a lawsuit filed this week in state Appellate Court alleges. The clinic has operated as a non-profit since 2007 at a site explicitly zoned and reserved for a commercial, for-profit medical office building.
This week, the Thomas More Society, a Chicago-based public interest law firm, appealed the dismissal of the lawsuit it brought in 2008 for "Fox Valley Families Against Planned Parenthood" against Planned Parenthood of Illinois, filing with the Clerk of the Illinois Appellate Court, Second Judicial District, a 50 page brief and also an appendix packed with over 200 pages of evidence detailing Planned Parenthood's massive zoning fraud.
The lawsuit was brought by residents neighboring the Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Aurora and by "Fox Valley Families Against Planned Parenthood," a voluntary association formed to oppose Planned Parenthood's new Aurora, Illinois mega-clinic, which contains 12 surgical recovery rooms. The suit alleges that Planned Parenthood misled Aurora zoning and building officials to get permits to build its facility. Since then, the clinic has operated as a non-profit at a site explicitly zoned and reserved for a commercial, for-profit medical office building.
To obtain the permits to build its facility, Planned Parenthood hid behind an entity named Gemini Office Development, LLC, "G.O.D.," which filed an application to build a for-profit, commercial medical office building that would rent space to physicians, dentists, and other medical professionals. But Planned Parenthood had obtained an $8 million loan from the Illinois Finance Authority on condition that its new Aurora facility be operated as a tax-free, not for profit entity.
"Aurora officials and citizens have both the duty and the right to evaluate the lawfulness and desirability of new businesses in the community, including any abortion business," said Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Society. "Planned Parenthood, however, deceived the people of Aurora and prevented them from any real evaluation of the facility before it opened. Planned Parenthood compounded its fraud by applying for and receiving (as a non-profit) $8 million from tax-free bonds from the Illinois Finance Authority, to build its facility. Thus, not only did Planned Parenthood slap Aurora citizens in the face with its fraud, but worse, it did so at the citizens' own expense."
Under the Aurora zoning ordinance, Planned Parenthood's proposed non-profit land use would have required special notice to neighbors and then a public hearing, which Planned Parenthood avoided by covering up its real identity. Only when the Chicago Tribune broke the story about Planned Parenthood's involvement in July, 2007, did the truth become widely known. A great public outcry ensued, with over 1,000 demonstrators protesting at the site, and hundreds of opponents lining up to testify at late night City Council meetings.
But Aurora's Mayor intervened before the City Council took any action, calling on supposed "experts" who rendered reports that grossly misstated the applicable zoning and related laws. Based on their flawed reports, the Mayor directed that permits be issued -- despite the clear violations of law. Planned Parenthood opened, and Thomas More Society immediately filed suit.
Despite Planned Parenthood's illegal behavior, DuPage County Judge Paul Fullerton dismissed the lawsuit on August 29, 2013, deferring, he said, to legislative action, although the Mayor, not the City Council, had ordered issuance of the requisite permits. Judicial review in such a case should not have been deferential, but substantial and exhaustive. As Planned Parenthood has been operating in violation of the law, the facility must be dismantled or sold to a legitimate, for-profit medical office facility. Plaintiffs fully anticipate that their appeal will succeed, and that justice will finally prevail.