Chicago (CBS) — CBS 2 spoke with Andrew Gasser in March. When elected Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner, he vowed to clean house, after what he said was years of misspending and mismanagement by his predecessor, Bob Miller.
Bob Miller’s son-in-law Derek Lee had been working for the highway department for 19 years. Lee and others unionized before Gasser took office, but Lee was fired on Gasser’s first day.
“It was literally his very first act as highway commissioner was firing me,” Lee said.
So began a legal tangle that continues despite the court validating the union contract ordering repayment and rehiring of employees.
Taxpayers are picking up the legal tab.
One attorney enlisted by Gasser for the highway commission has been paid more than $375,000 so far.
That attorney, Rob Hanlon, made a statement on behalf of Commissioner Gasser.
“We disagree with the decision of the circuit court and have decided to take the matter up on appeal,” Hanlon said. “Beyond that, I cannot comment due to the ongoing nature of the litigation.”
As for Lee, who went months without a job and out thousands of dollars in income, he’s ready to go back.
“I’m frustrated,” Lee said. “He had no reason to do what he did.”
The two sides will be in court again in December. The union wants Commissioner Gasser put in contempt, and Gasser will make the argument he shouldn’t be.
The fight and the fees will no doubt continue to mount.