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Wirtz Family OK With Stay In Stopping State Construction Plan

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Rocky Wirtz

Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz (Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) – Attorneys for the Wirtz family, who sued to strike down the state’s $31 billion capital construction program, now say they do not object to a stay in stopping the program.

Last week, the office of Gov. Pat Quinn filed a motion with the Illinois Supreme Court for a stay in enforcing a ruling that declared the 2009 capital construction program unconstitutional.

In addition to legalizing video poker, it also allowed for privatization of the Illinois Lottery and raised taxes on liquor, soft drinks, candy and various hygiene products.

The Wirtz family, which is in the liquor distribution business and also owns the Chicago Blackhawks, filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the construction plan.

Last week, the Illinois Appellate Court ruled unanimously that the Capital Projects violated the state constitution’s “single subject rule.” The legislation violated the rule that a bill appropriating funds must be confined to one subject, and that public funds must only be used for public purposes, the appellate court said.

In a filing last week, attorneys for the Wirtz family said they did not object to a stay in the ruling, since some construction projects now already in progress could stand to be defunded by it.

The Wirtz family filing indicated that the state had misunderstood some of their claims, but did not go into specifics.

The filing said the Supreme Court should “enter such orders as it deems just and proper.”

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