Takings Clause: Debt Repayment

July 8, 2016

A recent case from the Third District Appellate Court in Willie Pearl Burrell Trust v. City of Kankakee, 2016 IL App (3d) 150655, defended by attorneys Michael Condon and Yordana Wysocki, upheld a city’s refusal to issue a rental license to an applicant who owed the county money for past ordinance violations. The City of Kankakee had passed an ordinance providing that no license could be issued to any person indebted to the City for any fine or penalty imposed for violation of a City ordinance. The property owner owed over $41,000 in fines to the City for ordinance violations relating to its other properties. The Appellate Court found that the property owner did not have a protectable property interest in the renewal of its licenses and, therefore, was not entitled to a due process notice and hearing when the renewal was denied. Additionally, the City did not directly require the property to relinquish any constitutional rights in order to obtain a renewed rental license. Rather, the City merely required applicants to pay their outstanding debts before issuance of any license. The Court approved of the City’s right to withhold the license until the past-due amounts were paid.

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