JOLIET | Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow appointed an attorney Thursday to represent the interests of rural property owners who would be affected by the proposed Illiana Expressway in any dealings they may have with the Illinois Department of Transportation.
Glasgow issued a statement stating Joliet attorney Michael Hansen will serve as ombudsman for local property owners impacted by the project.
Hansen’s job will be to facilitate clear communication between the state and local residents when, and if, Illinois begins to purchase land for the Illiana proposal, an expressway planned to connect Interstate 65 near Lowell to Interstate 55 near Wilmington.
Glasgow said Hansen has a background in real estate development and has previously worked to help property owners work their way through state, county and municipal government procedures.
“Mike is a highly respected and knowledgeable attorney who has the strongest legal background to assist property owners who have questions when they are approached by the state regarding the development of the Illiana Expressway,” Glasgow said.
An agreement approved earlier this summer between the Will County Board and the Illinois Transportation Department allows for the hiring of an ombudsman.
Hansen once served as vice president, secretary and chief legal officer for Empress Entertainment Inc., which operates the Empress Casino in Joliet. He also helped with the licensing and development of the Empress Casino in Hammond while serving as vice president and legal counsel from 1999-2001.
A graduate of Notre Dame University and Drake University Law School, Hansen has the highest rating from the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings. The Leading Lawyer Network also has named him a leading attorney for business, gambling, land use, zoning, condemnation and commercial real estate.