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Illinois Clean Energy Community Found. v. Filan

Citation: 35 ELR 20002
No. No. 04-2277, (7th Cir., 12/22/2004)

The Seventh Circuit held that the state of Illinois would be violating the U.S. Constitution if it confiscated any part of a clean energy foundation's assets. After the state legislature passed an authorizing statute, the foundation was created out of the profits from a private company's sale of seven fossil fuel power plants. A few years later, the legislature amended the authorizing statute to require the foundation to turn over $125 million of its assets to the state. However, the state's demand, if enforced, would be a taking of private property for public use without just compensation. The foundation's property is not the state's property. By authorizing the transfer of private property from one private entity to another, the state did not destroy the private character of the property. And even though the trustees are appointed by the state, they have a fiduciary duty to conserve the foundation's assets.