They are doing it by filing a lawsuit to let a judge decide. From the Journal-Standard:
Freeport Township now looks to the court system to see if last year’s joint purchase of the property at 206 E. Stephenson St. with the Veterans Assistance Commission [of Stephenson County] was legal.
“An opinion by attorney Greg Pelini says that a township can co-own a building with a municipality,” said Mike Phillips, attorney for the Freeport Township. “The VAC[SC] is not a municipality and according to the opinion we are not authorized to co-own a building with them. We have no authority to do it.”
The pending lawsuit includes the VAC[SC], Security First Title Company and local businessman Dave Fonda as defendants. The township and VAC[SC] jointly bought the property that they currently share from Fonda for $366,971 and moved there in January.
The basis for the lawsuit is three counts, according to the article. The court is being asked to determine whether the VAC[SC] is prohibited from entering into contracts to buy property unless it’s partnering with a municipality, whether the electors of the township should have voted on the purchase, and whether the township failed to appropriate funding to cover operational expenses in the new building.
I guess theoretically a positive finding on any of these counts could result in vacating the purchase, though the township seems to prefer just to find a way to make it legal if it currently isn’t. The township is not asking for money damages.
However, back when the deal was made, a Stephenson County blogger found even more to trouble residents about the joint purchase than what is found in the suit. Continue reading Freeport Township Board Exploring Legality of Property Purchase Made by Its Old Board