ELWOOD, IL – The Village of Elwood filed a lawsuit last week in Cook County Circuit Court seeking to force CenterPoint Properties to detail how it spent the $150 million in Tax Increment Financing money it received to redevelop a 1,820-acre site.

   CenterPoint said in a statement to GlobeSt.com that it was surprised and disappointed at the village’s decision to file the suit.  
   The village claims in the lawsuit that despite repeated requests from officials to release information on the project, the developer has refused to say how it spent the TIF money allocated to construct the Deer Run Industrial Park, located on the site of the former Joliet Arsenal property.
   The village asserts that CenterPoint’s promises of new economic development, jobs and incremental tax revenue have failed to materialized.
   CenterPoint takes issue with these charges and defends its record.
   ”CenterPoint took an abandoned Superfund site and, with the help of many others, turned it into one of the most successful transportation hubs for global commerce,” the company tells GlobeSt. 
   In 2000, the village says that CenterPoint asked for a TIF district to be created that would let the firm secure up to $125 million in village tax breaks. This was increased to $150 million in 2003 at the urging of CenterPoint, the village says.
   The TIF was created in exchange for CenterPoint’s commitment to invest $840 million of its own money to develop the Deer Run project that called for industrial, retail, restaurants and hotels that would create up to 12,000 jobs and generate $20 million to $40 million in annual incremental tax revenue, the village says. 
   No hotel, retail or industrial facilities were ever built and only 3,800 jobs have been created, the village contends, adding that the project turned out to be mostly warehousing, with lower wage jobs. 
   CenterPoint contests these accusations.
   ”Thousands of jobs and millions of dollars of economic benefit have resulted from this project and Elwood has been the beneficiary in multiple ways,” CenterPoint tells GlobeSt, adding that ”Any funds we have received under the TIF program were a fraction of the moneys we spent on the project and were only lawful reimbursement for investments made by us.”
   The village says it wants a detailed financial accounting.
   “CenterPoint made a lot of promises in order to secure $150 million in taxpayer dollars,” according to Village President William E. Offerman. “CenterPoint received public tax money and is obligated to tell us where the money went and why the promises of economic development, jobs and revenue never followed.”
   CenterPoint says that “We believe this suit is entirely baseless and counterproductive, and we look forward to demonstrating that.”