Local

Algonquin Township attorney cuts ties with Andrew Gasser

James Kelly steps down after board votes to slash road district legal budget

Algonquin Township attorney James Kelly reviews a document with board member Melissa Victor on Feb. 14.
Algonquin Township attorney James Kelly reviews a document with board member Melissa Victor on Feb. 14.

Algonquin Township attorney James Kelly has severed ties with Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser.

In a May 18 resignation letter addressed to the first-term road commissioner, Kelly wrote, “I am writing to advise you that I will no longer be representing the Road District or the Highway Commissioner effective immediately.”

The Northwest Herald called Kelly – an attorney with the Law Offices of Matuszewich & Kelly in Crystal Lake – for details about his resignation. He would not elaborate.

Kelly’s decision followed more than a year of legal turmoil inside the highway department.

Gasser has stood at the center of infighting and lawsuits that have drained McHenry County’s most populous township of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The highway commissioner has had trouble finding an attorney to help him navigate the legal maze of complicated road projects, according to township sources. The Northwest Herald could not reach Gasser on Wednesday.

The legal drama came to a boiling point May 15, when township trustees voted, 4-1, to slash Gasser’s proposed legal budget from $250,000 to $150,000.

Trustees Dan Shea, Melissa Victor, Dave Chapman and Supervisor Charles Lutzow voted to cut the budget for fiscal 2019 by $100,000. Trustee Rachael Lawrence voted against it.

Before the vote, Gasser made his case for his proposed budget, referencing a letter from Woodstock attorney Robert Hanlon, who billed the department more than $276,000 last year and already has billed more than $62,000 this year.

Billing records show Kelly billed the highway department $716 ($225 an hour) in March for 3¼ hours reviewing Gasser’s lawsuit against Clerk Karen Lukasik and documents related to work on Rogers Road.

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