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Judge Okays Lawsuit Against Obama Center Project

A federal judge has ruled that a parks-advocacy group’s lawsuit seeking to prevent construction of former President Barack Obama’s $500-million presidential center in Jackson Park may proceed. Even as he dismissed parts of the lawsuit by Protect Our Parks, Judge John Robert Blakey said the group had standing to sue.

That standing arises from the group’s contention that their due-process rights as taxpayers would be violated if parkland in the public trust is provided to a private entity, namely the Obama Foundation. The lawsuit alleges that the transfer of parkland represented “an illegal land grab.”

However, Blakey dismissed a claim that construction of the Obama Center would violate the plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights if tax money were used to promote the former President’s political interests.

Blakey also reiterated that he doesn’t expect a long, drawn-out trial. He said he would limit any pre-trial fact gathering to 45 days.

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About Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny serves as Senior Content Director for Connect Commercial Real Estate, a role to which he brings 13-plus years’ experience covering the commercial real estate industry and 30-plus years in business-to-business journalism. In this capacity, he oversees daily operations while also reporting on both local/regional markets and national trends, covering individual transactions across all property types, as well as delving into broader subject matter. He produces 15-20 daily news stories per day and works with the Connect team and clients to develop longer-form content, ranging from Q&As to thought-leadership pieces. Prior to joining Connect, Paul was Managing Editor for both Real Estate Forum and GlobeSt.com at American Lawyer Media, where he oversaw operations at both publications while also producing daily news and feature-length articles. His tenure in B2B publishing stretches back into the print era, and he has served as Editor in Chief on four national trade publications. Since 1999, Paul has volunteered as the newsletter editor of passenger rail advocacy groups (one national, one local).

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