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Legal fees so far in Millennium Park restaurant fight: $2.3 million

Updated: November 22, 2013 6:07AM

It’s a $2.3 million food fight.

That’s how much lawyers have been paid so far in a dispute that has City Hall squaring off against the Chicago Park District and the Park Grill restaurant in Millennium Park.

City Hall has paid the law firm of Barnes & Thornburg more than $749,000 over the past 20 months, as Mayor Rahm Emanuel tries to break the 30-year deal the park district gave Park Grill in 2003.

The park district has paid more than $585,000 to the Reed Smith law firm.

And Park Grill has spent about $1 million in legal fees, according to a deposition from restaurant investor Anthony Licata, an attorney who helped negotiate the deal with the park district. The restaurant’s tab also includes costs it incurred in successfully beating the Cook County assessor’s efforts to force Park Grill to pay real estate taxes — a case that ended with the Illinois Supreme Court ruling the restaurant doesn’t have to because it has a concession contract with the park district, not a lease.

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