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Cicero Withdraws Offer of Apology to Racial Harassment Victims

August 14, 1986

CHICAGO (AP) _ The town of Cicero has withdrawn an offer to write a letter of apology to two blacks who were found to be victims of racial harassment and received $30,000 from the Chicago suburb, the couple’s attorney said Wednesday.

Grace Wein said the letter was to have been sent to her clients, Spencer Goffer and Patricia Franklin, who contended that Cicero police stood idly by when their Chicago apartment was pelted with bricks and bottles on Nov. 7, 1984.

Goffer and his girlfiend lived in an all-white area of Chicago known as the Island, adjacent to Cicero, from which the bricks and bottles were thrown.

Ms. Wien said the town had agreed late last week to write the letter of apology. But she said an attorney for the town, Norman Finkel, called her Wednesday and said the letter would not be written.

″I thought it would have been nice for Cicero to write a letter of apology, which would have evidenced their good faith,″ said Ms. Wein.

However, Finkel said there was never an agreement to issue such a letter.

″We never offered or agreed to submit any letter of apology to the plaintiffs,″ he said. ″Any suggestions that we did are erroneous.″

Finkel said Ms. Wein had asked for a letter of apology during pre-trial discussions, but that her request was refused.

The couple had filed a $1.1 million lawsuit against the town stemming from the incident. Cicero town attorney Steven Filipowski said the town and the couple agreed on a judgment of $30,000, under which the town would make no admission of liability.

A letter of apology was never part of that judgment, he said.

The judgment was formalized Tuesday by U.S. District Court Judge Ilana Rovner.

Filipowski said Cicero offered to agree to a $30,000 judgement because ″we felt at this time if the offer was accepted, we could deal with the matter in a more economic fashion.″

″It would have cost us time and money to try the case, and I believe we saved money by doing what we did,″ he said.

The couple no longer lives in the Island neighborhood.

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