Debts and donations
Attorney has $42K in city debt forgiven, donates to mayor’s reelection campaign
By Scott Reeder
A politically connected Springfield lawyer, George Petrilli, who was fined more than $46,000 by the city for failing to maintain a dilapidated property, had almost all of his debt forgiven and later donated $2,500 to Mayor Jim Langfelder’s reelection campaign.
The city has waived fines and forgiven utility bills in hundreds of cases during 2022, Illinois Times has learned. But Langfelder’s administration has refused to release the names of those who benefited, claiming it is personal financial information exempt from public records laws.
In response, Illinois Times filed a lawsuit March 6 in Sangamon County Circuit Court requesting that the identities of the forgiven debtors be released.
Joe Craven, an attorney representing the newspaper, said it will likely be at least 60 days before the names become public.
“There are a plethora of Freedom of Information Act decisions, both court opinions and public access counselor opinions, that essentially state that debts owed to a public body are not personal financial information because they relate to the receipt of public funds and are therefore public information,” he said.