CHICAGO — Calling the potential loss of the Lucas Museum a bad deal for Chicago taxpayers and workers, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has asked the federal courts to stop the Friends Of the Parks lawsuit against the museum proposal.
City lawyers on Tuesday filed a "writ of mandamus" petition with the federal appellate court that seeks to dismiss the Friends of the Parks' suit against the city. The Friends of the Parks suit, filed in November, sought to stop the museum project from building on public lands near the Lakefront.
Emanuel said that his administration and the parks group agreed to withhold the lawsuit, but that the group then changed its mind and continued with the lawsuit, essentially delaying the project indefinitely.
"Their abrupt and complete change of position has proven that they cannot be trusted, and we will not allow them to hold this project hostage any longer," Emanuel said in a statement.
The city's action comes a day after Mellody Hobson, the wife of George Lucas, slammed the park group and said the museum would likely seek alternative locations in other cities.
The city's federal petition also asks the courts for a speedy decision, since the museum is on the verge of being lost to another city.
"Due to the extraordinary circumstances here, if immediate review is denied, there will be no litigation to appeal, as the museum will abandon its efforts to locate in Chicago," Emanuel said.
This is not the first time Emanuel has had to scramble to try and keep the museum here.
After the Friends of the Parks seemed unwilling to allow a museum on the parking lot south of Soldier Field, Emanuel announced grandiose plans to tear down the McCormick Place's lakefront property and replace it with the museum.
Friends of the Parks did not agree with the compromise and continued with its suit.
Emanuel said that the Lucas Museum would be an economic boost to the city as well as enhance the city's culture and tourism.
"The Lucas Museum is an incredible gift that would create enormous economic and cultural opportunities for our residents, which is why cultural, business, labor, community and faith leaders all agree that the museum and jobs it would create should stay here in Chicago," Emanuel said.
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