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Local News

Ex-Avon Township attorney reaches 'amicable' settlement

ROUND LAKE PARK – For a couple of months last year, attorney Tom Leverso fought on behalf of Avon Township, including battles with those requesting public records.

Recently, he was fighting the township itself.

A few weeks ago, Leverso, who resigned as Avon's attorney last July, sued the township, saying it failed to pay him for his last month of services, amounting to $1,550

In his lawsuit, the South Barrington attorney contended he sent the bill to the township several times and had spoken with Avon's supervisor, Lisa Rusch. But the township's current attorney, Gerald Dietz, said his clients had no record that the invoice had been delivered before June 17, the last time that Leverso said he sent it.

Last week, the trustees voted to pay Leverso's bill, Rusch said. According to the bill, a third of the work dealt with "improper" Freedom of Information Act requests.

On Thursday, Leverso confirmed that he had been paid, saying the township and his office have reached an "amicable settlement."

In its 72 pages, the lawsuit veered from the breach-of-contract issue at hand. Much of it focused on Ed Mullen, a Chicago attorney with ties to former and current township officials.

Last year, Mullen represented former Avon Township Supervisor Sam Yingling, now a Democratic state representative from Grayslake, in dissolving the Avon Township Community Foundation. A couple of months ago, Mullen filed a federal lawsuit against the township on behalf of Avon Assessor Christopher Ditton, who accused the board of trustees of cutting his budget in political retribution.

According to Leverso's lawsuit, he came into contact with Mullen, to whom he refers as "Big Ed Mullens," in working for the township. In 2010 and 2011, the suit said, Leverso represented Avon in a case before an appeals court, while Yingling served as supervisor.

Leverso's lawsuit includes exhibits about a foreclosure on Mullen's condominium, a disorderly conduct charge in Ohio and a bankruptcy.

"[Mullen] holds himself out as something of a politico and champion of the little guy, yet seeks only to advance his own ultra-left-wing, LGBT agenda," Leverso writes in the lawsuit. An exhibit includes five pages of Mullen's Facebook postings pushing the legalization of same-sex marriage.

Asked why he included these postings, Leverso said, "He is a self-styled politico. It is to show there is influence from Mullen."

In an interview, Mullen said he doesn't know Leverso well. When told about the lawsuit, he said, "I'm a little flabbergasted."

As for the allegations, Mullen said he went through a "bad two or three years." He said the contention that he was influencing the township made no sense, given that he sued Avon.

In an interview, township attorney Gerald Dietz said he had no idea how Mullen fit into the breach-of-contract lawsuit.

Rusch said the township hired Leverso based on a recommendation, but she declined to say from whom.

"It was quickly decided he wasn't a good fit," she said.

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