$135 Million Spent to Settle City Suits Last Year

By BJ Lutz
|  Thursday, Nov 12, 2009  |  Updated 11:29 PM CDT
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2010's Dreary, Dismal, No-Good Budget

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HIALEAH, FL - OCTOBER 30: Madelin Santana shows off the money she received for selling gold jewelry at the FastCashGoldParties.com party on October 30, 2009 in Hialeah, Florida. As the price of gold remains high, the company is busy setting up these modern day Tupperware parties to buy people's unwanted gold in their homes. Many attendees come to the parties for a little extra cash to help pay bills or to get rid of unwanted jewelry while prices for gold are so high. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Madelin Santana

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Your wallet feeling a little light, Chicago?

Verdicts against the city, or cases that were settled before making it to trial, have cost Chicago taxpayers nearly $180 million over the last two years.

That's the bad news.

The "good" news? Only $41.4 million of that was for settlements through Sept. 30 of this year, the Chicago Sun-Times' Fran Spielman reports.

Last year was a whopper, an "anomaly," according to the city's top lawyer, Mara Georges. Over $136 million was spent to settle several "very large cases" in 2008.

One case alone settled last year, the Oct. 17. 2003 high-rise fire in the Loop, cost taxpayers $50 million.

The lower amount this year can be attributed, Georges says, to city lawyers being more aggressive in their cases and outsourcing smaller-change cases to lawyers who charge a flat fee. 

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