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IL Supreme Court Will Hear Hotel Loan Case

By Bill Wheelhouse, IL Public Radio

Springfield, Ill. – The Illinois Supreme Court is going to decide whether State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka had the right to settle state loans to a pair of hotels for pennies on the dollar.

Back in 1995, Topinka offered to settle state-issued loans with the owners of the Springfield Renaissance and the Collinsville Holiday Inn. The two hotels were behind in paying the state on some loans approved during the Jim Thompson administration. The loans had been favorably-restructured for the politically-connected owners twice.

But after offering to settle the loans for a quarter on the dollar, then-Attorney General Jim Ryan scuttled the deal. Since that time, the hotel owners challeged the attorney general's right to block the deal.

A lower court agreed that the Attorney General was wrong to block it; but the Illinois Supreme Court will have the final say.

The last time the owners of the Collinsville hotel made a payment was five years ago; the owners of the Springfield hotel made a payment last year. The state's high court will likely take up the case next year.

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