Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration petitioned a federal appeals court Wednesday to dismiss the Friends of the Parks' lawsuit challenging plans for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.
"Today, we are filing with the federal appellate court a petition for writ of mandamus, which requests that the appellate court direct the district court to dismiss the lawsuit," Emanuel said in a statement. "Friends of the Parks' claims for federal relief are frivolous, and we can no longer wait for the completion of legal proceedings to correct these legal errors on appeal. Due to the extraordinary circumstances here, if immediate review is denied, there will be no litigation to appeal, as the museum will abandon its efforts to locate in Chicago."
The administration's action comes after George Lucas and his wife Mellody Hobson announced Tuesday they are "seriously pursuing" locations outside Chicago for the Lucas Museum. Those comments followed news that the Friends of the Parks group is opposing, and considering taking legal action against, Emanuel's plan to demolish McCormick Place East and replace it with the Lucas Museum.
Emanuel proposed the McCormick Place East plan after Friends of the Parks sued the city over the mayor's initial proposal to have the Lucas Museum built on lakefront property just south of Soldier Field.
Friends of the Parks announced its opposition to the McCormick Place East site just after the group agreed to suspend its lawsuit.
"The Lucas Museum is an incredible gift that would create enormous economic and cultural opportunities for our residents, which is why cultural, business, labor, community and faith leaders all agree that the museum and the jobs it would create should stay here in Chicago," Emanuel's statement added. "After having productive conversations with Friends of the Parks, and after the organization agreed to stay its lawsuit, their abrupt and complete change of position has proven that they cannot be trusted, and we will not allow them to hold this project hostage any longer. As Mellody Hobson's recent comments indicate, Chicago will lose the museum and its tremendous economic benefits if this lawsuit is not resolved."
The administration's petition was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.