Barack Obama just got some very bad news. His vanity project of a presidential library may not get off the ground after all.
Obama came under fire for the location of the proposed library and that is saying something – they love him in Chicago so only a supremely arrogant maneuver could have caused the backlash that has plagued the library almost from the jump.
A group of concerned citizens sued the Obama library in federal court and the judge just made a critical decision in their favor and at Obama’s expense.
Remember, Obama’s buddy Rahm Emanuel is leaving his job as mayor so this ruling could have a catastrophic effect on Obama’s library.
From The Chicago Tribune: In a major setback to plans to build the Obama Presidential Center on Chicago’s South Side lakefront, a federal judge ruled Tuesday that a lawsuit challenging its location can proceed.
In a written decision, U.S. Judge John Robert Blakey said the environmental group Protect Our Parks has enough legal ground to bring some of their objections before him. Blakey did toss out parts of the lawsuit filed against the city of Chicago and the park district.
The ruling to allow the suit to proceed is significant because it could delay construction for months, if not years, and potentially raise the question of whether the $500 million sprawling presidential campus can be built at all on lakefront property in Jackson Park.
A major point of contention has been whether Chicago has legal standing to build Obama center on public park property to begin with.
The Cultural Landscape Foundation, which backed the Protect Our Parks suit, said Obama Center planners “created this controversy by insisting on the confiscation of public parkland.
“The Obama Foundation could make this issue go away by using vacant and/or city-owned land on the South Side for the Obama Presidential Center (which is planned to be a private facility rather than a presidential library administered by the National Archives), or, better still, land owned by the University of Chicago, which submitted the winning bid to host the Center,” continued the statement from foundation president Charles A. Birnbaum.
The matter has been closely watched because it is reminiscent of the court case that killed the $400 million museum proposed by “Star Wars” creator George Lucas. In that case, Lucas and his team didn’t wait for a judgment, and decided to move his Museum of Narrative Art to Los Angeles.
The lawsuit challenging the presidential center was filed in May by the leaders of Protect Our Parks and three other plaintiffs. In their suit, the environmentalists called the presidential center an “institutional bait-and-switch.” The Obama Foundation isn’t named as a defendant in the lawsuit.
Instead, the lawsuit targets the city of Chicago and the Chicago Park District, arguing that the presidential center is not the same as a presidential library and should not be granted access to public land.
The foundation has said it wants to break ground this year, but with the lingering issues, there is no concrete date set. The foundation has not revealed if it has a design prepared for another location.