CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Pay Now Illinois, a coalition of 82 human and social service agencies and companies suing Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger and seven state agency department heads for breach of contract, today filed a motion seeking a preliminary injunction for emergency relief that would require the state to begin immediate payment on contracts that are more than 60 days in arrears, an amount estimated to be more than $100 million. The total owed to the plaintiffs for 11 months of unpaid work exceeds $130 million.
The motion filed in Cook County Circuit Court follows Pay Now Illinois’ May 4 lawsuit seeking a permanent injunction and declaratory judgment against the defendants for payment on work performed under contracts that date back to July 1, 2015, the beginning of the state’s current fiscal year. A final judgment on that case could be months or almost a year away. In accelerating the request for payment, the motion asserts, “This case represents a public emergency. Plaintiffs together make up a vast infrastructure for delivering State-funded human services. Without an order requiring payment of the overdue bills, that infrastructure may well collapse.”
Plaintiffs also moved to file an amended complaint to add 18 new social and human services agency plaintiffs to the lawsuit. They are: Abcor Home Health, Chicago Commons, DuPage Youth Services Coalition, Heartland Human Care Services, Housing Opportunities for Women, Human Support Services, Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House, Medical Gear LLC, Nexus, Inc., Ounce of Prevention Fund, Polish American Association, Shelter, Inc., Stepping Stones of Rockford, Teen Parent Connection, The Fellowship House, The Resurrection Project, Turning Point Behavioral Health Care, and Vanguard Health and Wellness.
The new motion, the amended complaint, and a complete list of plaintiffs can be found at paynowillinois.org.
The motion for injunction comes as human and social service agencies are facing a cascade of damages – laying off staff, reducing or eliminating essential programs, or shutting down entirely.
“We simply want to be paid for services that have been performed under contracts signed by state officials, because paying bills on time and honoring contracts is good business,” Pay Now Illinois Coalition Chair Andrea Durbin said. “The only way to make this right is to pay our seriously overdue bills now. We have upheld our end of the contract by providing services. The state must uphold its end and pay our bills.”
Immediate payment is needed, the motion says, so the plaintiffs can continue to operate and function in their critical capacity as providers of human and social services in Illinois. The motion says, “Plaintiffs are alleging more than irreparable injury to themselves; rather they are complaining of a public emergency across the state.”
The motion argues that the 82 agencies have been acting as “de facto creditors” to the state for almost an entire fiscal year. The Governor’s budget veto and the State’s decision to sign and enforce contracts “undermines the reputation of the State as a responsible business partner – and raises the cost of doing business in the future,” the motion claims.
The motion for a preliminary injunction notes that once the current fiscal year ends on June 30, 2016, and once there is a close to the window for submitting vouchers for payment, there may never be a consented-to appropriation out of which these contacts can be paid.
New defendants named in the amended filing are Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger and Audra Hamernick, Director of the Illinois Housing Development Authority. The other defendants are Governor Rauner, John Baldwin, Acting Director of the Illinois Department of Corrections; Jean Bohnhoff, Director of the Illinois Department of Aging; James Dimas, Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services; Michael Hoffman, Acting Director of the Illinois Department of Central Management Services; Felicia Norwood, Director of the Department of Health and Family Services; and, Nirav Shah, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health.
For more information, please visit paynowillinois.org.
About Pay Now Illinois: The Pay Now Illinois Coalition is made up of 82 human and social service agencies and companies serving men, women and children throughout the State of Illinois. The members of the coalition provide a broad range of essential services, including healthcare, housing for the homeless, services for senior citizens, sexual abuse counseling, and programs for at-risk youth.