Decision filed 11/02/06. The text of
this decision may be changed or
corrected prior to the filing of a
Petition for Rehearing or the
disposition of the same.
IN THE APPELLATE COURT
GORDON MAAG, ) Appeal from
Plaintiff-Appellant, ) Circuit Court of
v. ) Madison County.
ILLINOIS COALITION FOR JOBS, GROWTH ) No. 04-L-1395
AND PROSPERITY, an Unincorporated )
Association; THE ILLINOIS STATE CHAMBER )
OF COMMERCE, a Not-for-Profit )
Corporation; RONALD GIDWITZ; )
and GREGORY BAISE, ) Honorable
) Patrick W. Kelley,
Defendants-Appellees. ) Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE KNECHT delivered the opinion of the court:
In the fall of 2004 plaintiff, Gordon Maag, was a member of the Illinois
Appellate Court running for retention in the Fifth Judicial District. He was also a
candidate in a contested race for the Illinois Supreme Court. The dispute in this case
arose from a flyer prepared by the Illinois Coalition for Jobs, Growth and Prosperity
(Coalition) mailed and hand delivered throughout the Fifth District headlined "In
Southern Illinois, the 'Wheels of Justice' have ground to a screeching halt... Gordon
Maag's Record On Crime: embarrassing--and dangerous." The flyer referred to plaintiff
as not thinking a crime was "exceptionally brutal" and "wantonly cruel" when the victim
was stabbed in the face, neck and chest with a butcher knife. The flyer also stated
plaintiff overturned sentences for a murderer, a drug dealer and a sexual predator.
Plaintiff filed a defamation per se action against the Coalition, the Illinois State Chamber