PARIS, IL. (ECWd) –
A little over a month ago, RIDES Mass Transit District (“RIDES-MTD”) filed suit naming Edgar County Treasurer Don Wiseman as Defendant seeking the $152,000.00 + they believe should have been paid to them after the claimed dissolution of the East Central Illinois Mass Transit District (“ECIMTD”).
The lawsuit, here, is a two-count suit alleging “Breach of Contract” and seeking “Mandamus” (an order to force Treasurer Wiseman to write the check). In our article on this lawsuit, we covered both Counts and also wrote about Dillon’s Rule, the Counties Code, the Local Mass Transit District Act, and the fact that local governments cannot pass resolutions/ordinance which violate state law – as reasons the county could not pay those left-over funds to RIDES-MTD.
Edgar County filed its Motion to Dismiss on September 19, 2016, citing the following:
- Only the Board can order the Treasurer to remit payment
- Plaintiff failed to enjoin the Board in this suit
- Resolution was adopted without statutory authority and is void on its face
- Without statutory authority, the Resolution violates Dillon’s Rule and would be tantamount to a gift or grant of public funds not authorized by law and would amount to a breach of public trust
- Mandamus cannot rely on a void Resolution, nor on an impermissible gift, which are illegal activities
- Latches (waiting too long to file the lawsuit)
Edgar County also filed its Memorandum Of Law In Support Of Its Motion To Dismiss and makes for interesting reading. The County explained the need for statutory authority, the effect of Dillon’s Rule, Article VII Section 7 of the Constitution, Section 9 of the Local Mass Transit District Act, the Counties Code, how contracts cannot be made in violation of law, and how they all play a role in providing for a lack of authority to pay those funds to RIDES-MTD.
We first looked at this issue in early 2013, and again in June of 2013 where Kirk Allen’s civil rights were violated by being ejected from the county board meeting – just as he was discussing the RIDES-MTD/ECIMTD situation. The Edgar County Board passed a Resolution in June of 2013 basically saying it would give RIDES-MTD the left-over funds from ECIMTD after dissolution, and we have repeatedly talked to the board about that being a Resolution which violates state law.
On June 12, 2013, the vote on this Resolution was tabled and had to be re-worded to remove any reference to “merging” the two districts since state law doesn’t allow the merging of mass transit districts, but was later approved on June 17, 2013, with new language reflecting annexation, but still in violation of law.
On June 22, 2013, we warned this resolution was “trouble on the horizon” and would end up being a long, drawn-out thorn in the side of Edgar County, and it has been.
We wrote about IDOT’s Bureau Chief of Transit Operations letter asking the board to give those funds to RIDES-MTD, and noting the letter appears to instruct the county board to violate the law in relation to those funds.
In November of 2014, we were notified Edgar County had decided to keep the funds, as the law requires. Later RIDES-MTD would keep seeking those funds, threaten legal action, and take legal action.
On December 21, 2015, I spoke on this subject (with a correction from Kirk Allen) at a county board study session, going thru the process of dissolving, annexing, and disposing of all assets of the former district. Even mentioning each and every point made in this motion to dismiss, with the exception of the constitutional reference. Video of the December 21, 2015, meeting is here.
This is yet another case where the County Board and State’s Attorney are answering to a court instead of listening to us and researching what we point out before acting.
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