PARIS, IL. (ECWd) –
So here we are, after over nine months of driving the conflict of interest train into the ground, up pops another one like in the old Whack-A-Mole game. Same player(s), different game.
Most of you are well aware of the fact that a Capital Development Board (CDB) Grant (CDB#546-250-017) was awarded to construct a heavy vehicle parking area to be used by the 1544th when they occupy the former work camp (across from the new high school). When I noticed some progress on the work out there I decided to see if a suspicion of mine was true – and it was.
contractor (EDIT) material supplier picked to deliver the materials for the concrete parking area was Zimmerly Ready-Mix, owned by Chris Patrick, Zack Patrick, and Hunter Smith – all from Paris, Illinois.
I submitted a Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) request to the CDB for copies of the actual grant paperwork and the statements of economic interest / conflicts of interest statements that are a requirement according to the grant.
When I received the paperwork, I noticed that Chris Patrick (document here) had completed his conflict of interest statement – but it included a supporting sentence that was not factually correct. He did check the box that indicated he had been an elected official within the previous three years. When a “yes” box is checked, you have to explain it below. He correctly explained that he was elected to the county board, took the seat in December 2012 and resigned in June 2013. Had he left it at that, I would have had nothing to complain about…BUT…he didn’t. He added “He had no procurement authority”. That statement is not true.
Taking that statement, I filed a complaint with the CDB and asked them for a copy of their determination as to the potential conflict of interest. They did not have a determination. I them made a phone call on December 2, 2013, explained the situation and asked them to look at the paperwork and make a written determination. The CDB called the prime contractor and informed them that Zimmerly’s could not provide materials until a determination was made. The next day, December 3, 2013, CCI Ready-Mix delivered materials to the project (See this related article). That afternoon, the CDB determined there was no conflict and put it in writing.
After reviewing that new determination, I re-looked at the original response to my FOIA and noticed that not only was Chris Patrick’s statement not factually correct, the other two owners did not have factually correct statements either.
Zack Patrick (document here) checked “NO” in the box that asked whether he had a relationship to anyone (spouse, father, mother, son, or daughter) holding elective office currently or in the previous two years? I think we all know that answer to be “YES” since his father is Chris Patrick, former County Board Member.
Hunter Smith (document here) also checked “NO” in the box that asked whether he had a relationship to anyone (spouse, father, mother, son, or daughter) holding elective office currently or in the previous two years? I think we all know that answer to be “YES” since his father is S. Craig Smith, Mayor of Paris.
Based on this additional information, I once again made complaint to the CDB and asked them to re-look at these statements:
Mr. Miles and Mrs. Patterson,
Thanks for the response.
I did notice that the board did not address the issue of the alleged false statement in Step 6 of Chris Patrick’s statement, where he stated he did not have procurement authority.
As a county board member, he had procurement authority, as the county board members are the only ones, as a matter of fact, that can authorize expenditures within the county.
At a minimum, I would have expected that non-factual statement to be addressed. If the board determines there is no conflict in this contract, so be it, but the fact remains the statement is not factually correct.
On the matter of Zach Patrick, the son of Chris Patrick – In Step 5, Question 4 – he checked “NO”, when the fact is that his father held an elected position within the past 2 years.
On a third item: The third owner of Zimmerly Ready-Mix also has a potential conflict in that his father is the elected Mayor of Pairs. In Step 5, Question 4 – he checked “NO”, when the fact is that his father currently holds an elective office. This should be a “YES” even if the grant was not given to the City of Paris.
Finally, we have the only 3 owners of this company submitting statements of financial interest, signed under penalty of perjury, that are “inaccurate” for lack of a better word.
Please re-look at this, look at the pattern of inaccuracies, look at the fact the statements were not factual, and make a new determination on whether these are conflicts. I am willing to attend any hearing or meeting to express my opinions.
The CDB Ethics Officer is currently reviewing the information provided and should have an answer in the next couple of weeks. We will provide an update when we get their answer.
Update 1-30-2014: Still waiting on an update from CDB…