PARIS, IL. (ECWd) –
Timeline of Events as we know to be true:
-Summer of 2010? During purchase of 229HT, Chris Patrick asks Rusty to let him buy the plane and fly it for him. Rusty politely declines. Chris is on Citizens Bank board. This is the bank that Brian Phillips (the owner of 106PT and 229HT) approached for the loan.
-2011 – 229HT lands in Greeneville, IL due to engine trouble. The right engine is unrepairable. Chris asks Rusty to talk to him and they go for a ride in his truck. Chris asks him to swap an engine from 106PT to 229HT so that the bank will have a complete airplane. Brian is having problems making payments on 229HT. Chris is on the bank board and reportedly has a history of manipulating repossessions, buying them cheap from the bank and then selling them at a premium. Rusty refuses, saying that he didn’t own the plane and it would be grand theft.
-Summer of 2012 Chris Patrick, with Jimmy Wells (FBO Manager), tells Rusty to get 229HT and 106PT off ‘his’ tarmac. Rusty explains these are not his planes and Chris needs to discuss the matter with the owner (Chris and Jimmy continue to harass Rusty about removing the airplanes). Please note to this Rusty and Ann had a great relationship with Jimmy. They often told him how disappointed they would be when he decided to retire one day. Jimmy often told them how much he appreciated having their business and the traffic they brought to the airport. He discussed what an integral part of the growth of the airport RSB was.
-November 12, 2012- Rusty and Ann had noticed Jimmy being abrupt and short with people at airport. Rusty approached him in his office to ask if there was some changes that needed to be done. Jimmy tells Rusty that “This is not a daycare” and MJ can not be at the airport anymore. Rusty explained that he always intends to have MJ and any future children with him, as he works so many hours and because he wants to teach them a strong work ethic.
-November 13, 2012, Rusty and Ann approach Jimmy in his office to speak to him about his ‘No children at the airport rule’. Jimmy is pleasant, but does not want to try and work together at all regarding the issue.
-November 13, 2012, The airport advisory board meeting occurred. Verlin Funkhouser, Kevin Trogdon, Glenn Hutchison, Chris Patrick, Jimmy Wells, Karl Farnham, Rusty, and his father Rob are at the meeting. MJ and Ann left shortly before the meeting. As they exited the building, Ann saw Jimmy discussing something heatedly with Chris, in Chris’s truck parked at the front door to hanger. It was odd, as Ann waved and both saw her and ignored her. In the past they would have returned a friendly wave. During ‘new business’ at the meeting, Jimmy Wells spoke up and said he he had had two complaints that there was breastfeeding going on at the airport, he said this was unprofessional, this was not a nursery, and if left up to him he would not allow it. A brief discussion followed. Rob asked who had complained. Jimmy stated Dave Bristow, and he would not name the second person. Kevin Trogdon made a statement regarding another location for nursing. Rusty offered to renovate the northeast storage area that he had been offered from the beginning, and Kevin said lets go look at it, standing up at the same time. Chris Patrick (at this time he is president of the Airport Advisory Board) says ‘no that wont be necessary we will take a vote to leave it up to the airport manager’. Rusty was left with the impression that the manager was supposed to work with him on the subject and find a mutually beneficial resolution.
-The Edgar County Watchdogs received confirmation that Ben Jenness had made a phone call immediately after the meeting, explaining to [the person he called] that a ruling had been made to ban MJ from the airport because Ann nursed her.
-November 14, 2012, with the idea that Rusty and Jimmy would be able to work out the issue, Rusty, Ann, and MJ head to work at the airport per their routine. MJ is kept strictly to their office, so as not to irritate Jimmy unnecessarily. Rusty goes into the hanger and Jimmy approaches him. During the conversation, he tells Rusty to ‘get MJ out of here’ and also pokes his finger in Rusty’s chest and says ‘Ill show you”. We are working on getting statements from any employees who witnessed this. Rusty and Ann leave with MJ.
-November 14, 2012, Rob Bogue and Rob Anderson (a local lawyer) pass Glen Hutchinson in the airport hall way in search of Jimmy Wells. A brief discussion follows with Glenn denying that he voted to ban Ann and Mj from the airport. When reminded of the vote he cast, he’s confused and this upsets him. He doesn’t clearly recall what he voted for but is sure he didn’t vote to ban them from the airport. If he did so he didn’t intend to. Jimmy and Chris Patrick are found together behind the “lobby counter”. Jimmy circle’s around the counter and demands to know who is accompanying Rob Bogue. After a brief introduction, a copy of the state law is provided to Jimmy. Patrick has been listening in and quickly chimes, there isn’t time for a discussion to “get an appointment”. None is offered. A brief but heated discussions ensues. They argue they have no time to discuss these events, so Rob and Rob wait for nearly an hour before leaving.
-November 15, 2012, Rusty talks to WCIA Channel 3 out of Champaign IL. Jimmy refuses to give an interview says “Breastfeeding is not the only issue”. Paris Beacon News is contacted.
-November 23, 2012, Jimmy Wells hand delivers a letter terminating Rusty’s hanger lease.
-November 30, 2012, Jayne Brown goes to Zimmerly Concrete (Chris’s business) to speak with Chris and see if the situation could be resolved. He basically says nothing (there was an employee of his in the office within earshot and sight).
-November ?, 2012 Casey Bogue goes to see Chris at Zimmerly Concrete. The door to office is shut. Chris is very angry and insults Casey. Casey will still not tell the rest of the family what Chris says to him.
-December 3, 2012, (Video Here) New Edgar County Board members take oath. Chris resigns Airport Advisory Board and in January 2013 Jake Payne takes over his role as president.
-December 22, 2012, Rusty asks Jayne Brown to come to airport to be a witness in case anything happened. Upon arrival she notices that Jimmy Wells, FBO manager, is taping off the section of the hanger that he says Rusty is not renting. This section is the north east corner of main hanger. This means that Rusty is limited to only working on small airplanes. Rusty explained to Jimmy that this was Jimmy’s area that he had his plane in (Jimmy had not been paying rent and believed this to be a perk of his position despite the fact it is not in his employee contract). Jimmy gets in Rusty’s face saying that he ‘isn’t even paying your rent’. Rusty questions this. Their rent had always been paid by debit card each month by Lisa Gill (this is Chris’s current girlfriend that he made a position for at the airport as a secretary) charging the card. This was paid each month automatically. Rusty went to Lisa and asked her if the rent had been charged to his debit card. Lisa tells him, no. When questioned why, she says that Jimmy told her not to do so. All of this was witnessed by Jayne Brown. At some point Jimmy asks Dale Barkley to listen to his and Rusty’s conversation. Shortly there after, Dale quietly excuses himself.
-December 2012, Jimmy tells Rusty to remove an airplane that was being worked on for a client in the main hanger, so that Jimmy can park a snow plow in the main hanger (this had never been done before in the three years he had been there). It is December and a snow storm had been forecasted, but Jimmy tells Rusty he needs snow plow in hanger so he can ‘paint’ it. Rusty explains that this plane has to be done that day and delivered. It is soon noticed that the snow plow had been parked outside two main hanger doors blocking access and making delivery to client impossible. Our lawyers, Sheriff Motley, and one or two of the county board members are called by Rusty and informed of situation. Snow plow is eventually removed.
-January 22, 2013, Airport Advisory Board meeting becomes a witch hunt. They question Rusty about his insurance and continue to badger him, despite the evidence of a letter from his insurance company verifying he had insurance being on a huge presentation size board. Jimmy accuses him of not paying his fuel bill. This is a result of Jimmy changing the policy of charging Rusty’s debit card from each week to each month. The bill got too high for the daily limit of Rusty’s debit card. Jimmy tells everyone that it is for Non Sufficient Funds and that Jimmy and Chris had almost had to pay the fuel bill themselves. At another point Chris makes a big production of having some type of evidence that really shows Rusty’s ‘lack of character’. This turns out to be a simple plane registration that is expired. Please see this article for video of the meeting. Rusty is admirably cool and calm during the attack, even with his supporters getting upset at some of the board’s behavior.
-January 31, 2013, Rusty is on a week long trip. A County Board Meeting is suddenly called with an agenda of addressing RSB Aviation Lease. A motion passes to terminate old business lease. Dan Bruner surprises other members with a motion to create a lease that will be offered to RSB Aviation. It passes. (Video here with followup article here) Janie and Ann go to see Adonna at her home. There are rumors that Adonna will be appointed to the board and we wanted to talk to her and get an idea on where she stood; whether she was going to be honest or just try to accomplish Chris’s bidding. The conversation remains civil, but she makes several comments that are either completely fabricated, or lies that she had been told by Chris, that she believed. One such statement was that Dan Brunner and the other members had agreed before the meeting what the motion would be, and that he had changed the motion without the other board members knowledge, and that the members had passed it because they hadn’t heard the difference in the motion to be passed.
-Mid January 2013, Rob Bogue files an Open Meetings Act violation regarding no agenda being posted. Attorney General verifies this and issues an opinion that the Airport Board violated the OMA.
-February 2013, This month’s meeting of Airport Advisory Board is cancelled suddenly (at the meeting) when a large group of Rusty’s supporters show up to voice concerns over issues. This month Kirk Allen writes an article discussing Chris Patrick’s statement that the Airport Advisory Board is just that; an advisory board to the county board. Kirk analyzes the past motions and activities of the board which shows that this is not true. This is significant, because suddenly it is being used as an advisory board and issues are being sent to the Edgar County Board, of which Patrick is the president. Please see articles here and HERE.
-March 2013, Adonna Bennett is illegally elected to Airport Advisory Board using a ‘secret ballot’ (article and video here). At the time, John Kraft informed Ben Jenness that a ‘secret ballot’ is a violation of Open Meetings Act. Ben Jenness says that Augie Griffin says this is legal. Augie Griffin is the County Clerk. Auggie Griffin later denies telling Jenness this. Adonna is the ex girlfriend Mike Heltsley and ex lover of Chris Patrick. She has no aviation background, no pilot’s license, does not own a plane, etc, nor does she have any business experience or education. Three pilots who flew out of Edgar County Airport, including two who own airplanes and one who is a personal friend of Jimmy Wells and Glenn Hutchison, get outvoted. Stan McIntosh was one of those outvoted, despite being a friend of Jimmy Wells and Glen Hutchinson, Stan was also very supportive of Rusty. This meeting was reported to Lisa Madigan’s office who reported that yes, it was a violation of the Open Meetigns Act, but the result was basically a slap on the hand and no change was made to the appointment of Adonna to Advisory Board. See letter and article here. County board accepts and votes on Advisory Board’s election of Adonna. This motion was made by Ben Jenness and Mike Heltsley.
-March 19, 2013, The committee to the advisory board finished a standard business lease, to be used by all businesses. Jimmy decides that he doesn’t have enough of the main hanger to run county business out of. He previously had stored his non functioning airplane in ¼ of the hangar. Mike Heltsley also suggests that RSB Aviation start paying a percentage of the profits. See article.
–Another article that revisits some of the steps Chris has taken to get RSB Aviation out of the airport – and another article regarding a meeting where they attempted to stifle Rusty’s supporters from making comments during a public meeting, and evidence that Adonna is working with Chris on whatever his agenda is. After the meeting Mike Heltsley, Chris Patrick, Ben Jenness, Adonna Bennett, Jimmy Wells, and Bobby Hoult (a friend of Jimmy Wells) go out for drinks. See picture of them at bar taken by another bar patron. Three county board members together discussing county business during a social event is illegal (as well as unethical).
-April 2, 2013, Another article discusses how Chris lied to Dr Susan Shea, director of Aeronautics at the Illinois Department of Transportation. In a letter to her, he apparently stated that ‘the board terminated the lease (RSB Aviation’s lease) after multiple “violations”’.
-April 6th, Rob receives a threatening letter. See below. There is evidence that it was mailed from Edgar County Courthouse. It is a partial photocopy of the front page of the Beacon News, with the mailing label addressed to Mark Isaf, Edgar County State’s Attorney. It turns out that one of Mr. Isaf’s employees mailed that letter and she was later disciplined for her action.
-April 16, 2013, (Article here) Jake Payne resigns as interim advisory board president and Adonna Bennett is voted president, despite pending action based on the illegal vote to place her on the board. The first action she takes, despite this not being on the agenda (an open meetings act violation) is to reverse the rule that the president does not vote except in the case of a tie. She then allowed a vote on a motion to recommend to the county board that they not allow commercial business in the main hanger, and to halt progress on a commercial lease. This was another violation of the open meetings act as it was not on the agenda, and was a violations of the grant assurances. The grant assurances are to be honored as the airport took grant money to have the cross-wind runway constructed. See article.
-In the aftermath of this, Ben Jenness and Mike Heltsley either resign from the airport advisory board, or are removed by Chris Patrick – it is still unclear. Jeff Voigt and Karl Farnham take their place.
-April 17, 2013, Motion made by Airport Advisory Board is brought to county board (the motion to deny a commercial lease in the main hanger) and the motion fails (Article and video here). We believe this is a result of Al Malatnek (sp?) speaking to Jimmy and Chris. We believe he tells them that they can not deny Rusty the hanger to operate a business, but they can deny a commercial lease to everyone. Of course, this too, is against the grant assurances as well. Jeff Voigt makes a motion to repeat the original motion to create a business lease and offer it to RSB Aviation. This passes, despite Chris attempting to vote, despite knowing (at the time) as president of the county board that he can not vote and had not voted in the past. Here is article and video.
-May 8, 2013, Adonna Bennett goes on a slanderous tirade against Rusty. See website for the videotaped speech. In it she discusses what a ‘terrible businessman’, citing his messy t-hanger, someone’s fast food wrappers in a bucket at the fuel pump that she blames him for (these had been there for months and are from restaurants not in this area). There are two articles about this… the first includes the article with the video and the second has explanations of the pictures that Rusty explains what is actually in the pictures Another article is posted here in regards to the pictures again.
-May 2013, Jimmy Wells continues to deny that Rusty is compliant on insurance. He denies a conversation he had with one of the county board members describing this. Rusty had been compliant with insurance the entire time he was in business. This was proven the first advisory board meeting with the proper documentation. Further proof of their denial of this is in this article.
-June 2013, Chris Patrick decides to send a policy manual for the airport to the county board. Chris had not had a policy in place the previous 25 years he had been on the advisory board, but suddenly wrote and wanted to pass this manual. It had several conditions that were unusual and would make it impossible for RSB Aviation to operate normally without violating one of them. Article here.
-July 2013, There is an above average amount of flat tires on the C 152’s. This is repeated in statements, typed and signed from the employees. A tire would be changed, and a week later the same tire would be flat without any evidence of why. There are statements from an employee and a friend of Rusty’s.
-Summer 2013, Per Caleb Tretter’s statement; “Rusty and I had a conversation during lunch at a restaurant. During this conversation he told me he was concerned about all the flat tires, water in the fuel, and also was worried about Chris being at the airport at night going through the airplanes or tampering with them. When I asked what they could do out there Rusty stated “Well, they could walk by the Riley’s and dump a gallon of water in the fuel tank and kill someone.”” We have a signed statement from Caleb, a fabricator/welder for RSB Aviation.
-Summer of 2013, Questions start regarding insurance. Caleb is working late in the evening in the T-hanger. He sees Lisa leaving office. She gives him a hostile look, which he responds to by shrugging. She turns around and locks him out of the office.
Employees of RSB Aviation:
Jimmy Wells- FBO manager, friend of Chris Patrick
Dave Bristow- maintenance man, complained about Ann nursing MJ during his tv time
Lisa Gill- secretary, Chris Patrick’s girlfriend, conducting private business out of the airport
Bobby Hoult- Jimmy’s friend who was put on payroll a few months after attack on Rusty started, we believe his purpose was solely to be a witness and ‘bodyguard’ to Jimmy
County Board Members:
Dan Bruner- worked with Rusty to create lease, always fair and honest
Jeff Voigt – also worked with Rusty and was fair and honest
Alan Zuber- newly elected board member
Chris Patrick- resigned in shame
Mike Heltsley- always made motions in Chris’s favor, never attempted to talk to Rusty at all
Ben Jenness- at original meeting that banned MJ from airport, contacted a private party, then later when Chris was sworn in as a board member he quickly became a liason of his
Airport Advisory Board:
Glenn Hutchison – stayed silent, indicating support for Chris
Karl Farnham – worked with Rusty to create lease
Jake Payne – stayed silent
Adonna Bennett – always made motions in Chris’s favor, attacked Rusty at every turn
Ben Jenness – always made motions in Chris’s favor
Mike Heltsley – always made motions in Chris’s favor, never reads anything before voting for it
Dale Barkley – worked with Rusty to create lease, always fair and honest
To further familiarize yourself with the self-dealing, harassment, and collusion of your public officials and employees, read all of the Edgar County Airport Articles on the Edgar County Watchdog site.
Meeting Videos not linked to in their articles can be found on the Edgar County Youtube site.
Additional pictures supporting above statements: