Attorney General

DeWitt County Update On AG FOIA Investigation –

DEWITT CO. (ECWd) –

After speaking to several Legislators yesterday about a FOIA expansion bill, I returned home to a letter from the Illinois Attorney General stating that the County of DeWitt was correct in denying access to the credit card receipts from the Probation Department – something I informed the Legislative Committee about during oral testimony.

2013 PAC 26053 – The AG determined that DeWitt County’s response to my Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) request complied with the requirements of FOIA, in that the Appellate Court has determined that Probation Departments are not subject to FOIA simply because they are considered part of the judiciary or are an agent thereof.

The PAC also stated that FOIA does not directly require a public body to maintain records – that is governed by the Local Records Act. Since the Probation Department does not fall under FOIA, the County cannot be required, and does not have the authority, to obtain the records from the Probation Department. Don’t confuse this part with the Arcola Township situation where the records are FOIA-ble and not in their possession – a completely different scenario.

That leads us into two different scenarios, and I will attempt to address each one of them separately:

SCENARIO ONE: The credit card is a private credit card…

Under this scenario, that the credit card is a private credit card as the Assistant State’s Attorney has alleged (without providing proof), then what has just happened?

-The County Treasurer, by cutting a County check to pay the entire private person’s bill, has violated the Constitution of the State of Illinois, Article VIII (a) by using public funds, property, or credit for other than public purposes.

-The Circuit Court, by the act of approving payment to a private credit card, violated the Constitution of the State of Illinois, Article VIII (a) by authorizing the use of public funds, property, or credit for other than public purposes.

-The Probation Officer simply violated the trust of the Treasurer and the Circuit Court by asking the entire bill be paid and reimbursing the Treasurer at a later date.

-The Treasurer violated the law by improperly annotating the “reimbursement receipt” as “misc funds”, “probation automation – misc”, “misc expense”, and “probation fees” on the receipt – which clearly was not truthful and should have stated “reimbursement”.

-Are the sales taxes paid on the purchases made for public business? If so, why? In not, what about the personal purchases – taxes paid on them?

-Finally we get to the “Rewards Points” – who do they belong to? Is it not true that by using a private credit card for public purchases drives up the “Rewards Points” that should rightfully belong to the County? Is the probation officer gaining anything of value using rewards point gained from public purchases?

SCENARIO TWO: The credit card is a public credit card…

If you remember back to the meeting where this was discussed in-depth, the County Treasurer stated four times that it was a public (government) credit card. Now they claim it isn’t. So, just in case it is a public credit card, here is what happened:

-The County Treasurer, by cutting a County check to pay the entire bill without subtracting the personal purchases, has violated the Constitution of the State of Illinois, Article VIII (a) by using public funds, property, or credit for other than public purposes.

-The Circuit Court, by the act of approving payment of the credit card balance without subtracting the personal purchases, violated the Constitution of the State of Illinois, Article VIII (a) by authorizing the use of public funds, property, or credit for other than public purposes.

-The Probation Officer, by using it for personal purchases,  violated the Constitution of the State of Illinois, Article VIII (a) by using public funds, property, or credit for other than public purposes – even if he reimbursed the County at a later date.

-The Treasurer violated the law by improperly annotating the “reimbursement receipt” as “misc funds”, “probation automation – misc”, “misc expense”, and “probation fees” on the receipt – which clearly was not truthful.

-Are the sales taxes paid on the purchases made for public business? If so, why? In not, what about the personal purchases – taxes paid on them?

Closing…

So these are two scenarios where alleged felonious activity has occurred in County of DeWitt government including the Treasurer, Court, and Probation Officer. One of them is true, we just have to figure out which one.

We also have an employee of the DeWitt County State’s Attorney’s Office that is fully aware of these actions, and has even facilitated them to a degree.

Who will step up to the plate and say NO MORE?! Not on my watch!

 Unanswered questions:

Does a County Board Member have the right and the duty to see the actual receipts for claims made by the probation department prior to approving payments?

IF the County Board or Treasurer see actual copies of receipts from the Probation Department, do those receipts then become subject to FOIA?

[gview file=”http://edgarcountywatchdogs.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/dewittPAC26053.pdf”]

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