Coles County

E. Oakland Township – Illegal and free storage for boats, RVs, Farm Trucks…

OAKLAND, IL. (ECWd)

Glad to see they needed a large building…to store their privately owned recreational equipment and farming machinery in – and make the township taxpayers pay for it.

Public funds, property or credit shall be used only for public purposes.

If you look at it, that is a powerful statement, and carries with it, powerful penalties. It is the first sentence in Article VIII, Section 1(a) of the Illinois Constitution, which is the supreme law of the state of Illinois.

The Constitution can be used as the predicate for Official Misconduct, which is a felony in this state – if you don’t believe us, just ask the former Mayor of Pekin, Illinois – he was convicted and the Supreme Court upheld his conviction.

We hold that a violation of the constitution can serve as a predicate unlawful act for the purposes of the official misconduct statute. Accordingly, the indictment against defendant in this case, alleging a violation of article VIII, section 1(a), of the Illinois Constitution, was sufficient. As such, we affirm the judgment of the appellate court.Illinois Supreme Court in People v. Lyndell W. Howard, 2008

Prior to doing things like parking your RV inside of a Township Road District building, you should probably ask yourself: “Is this a public purpose, or a private purpose for private gain?”

I believe we all know that answer, and we all know you cannot store your private RVs, boats, and grain trucks (or anything else) inside the taxpayer-owned buildings of the Township. Nor can you store your private trailers on the public property.

The private things being stored inside the township road district’s buildings and in its parking lot, consist of at least 2 RVs, 2 boats, 1 farm grain truck, and another RV outside the building that we have pictures of.  There is also a red enclosed trailer behind one of the boats, a bulldozer, and red pickup.  The local word on the street is the bulldozer, pickup, and grain truck belong to the Township Highway Commissioner Brian Warner.

We know the owners of at least 4 of the licensed vehicles, and they are:

  • 2000 Ford Motor Home – Rick Boes – Expired license plate
  • 1995 Heritage Boat Trailer – Julie Boes – (East Oakland Township Supervisor)
  • 2002 Damon Motor Home – Terry L. and Dale A. Hanner – Expired license plate (East Oakland Township Trustee)
  • 2007 Chevrolet Cutaway – John T. Smith – (lives in Mattoon) Expired license plate

We submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for the following.

  1. A copy of all payments received for rental of any Township property in the last 5 years.  
  2. A copy of all current contracts/agreements for rental of any Township Property.
  3. A copy of the Open Meetings Act Training Certificates for all elected officials in the Township.
  4. A copy of the last 2 years of credit card statements for all credit cards used by the Township.

The response to the FOIA request tells us and the public everything we need to know as it pertains to this confirmed free storage for private property.

  1. We have not rented any of the Township Property in the last 5 years.
  2. We do not have any contracts for rental of any Township Property.

Even if a township could lease its building, which it cannot, an appropriate payment should have been made. No payments for use of this space were received in at least the last 5 years by East Oakland Township. So now we consider whether this was theft of use of public property – and we believe it is.  We can only imagine how long this practice has been going on.

In this case, we have elected public officials (Supervisor, Trustee, and Highway Commissioner) taking advantage of their position as a public servant and have done so for personal gain.  We believe that clearly constitutes Official Misconduct on their part.

We suggest these vehicles be removed immediately and that some sort of compensation is paid to the taxpayers of East Oakland Township for this illegal use of their building. Additionally, we suggest they resign their position as the public trust has been broken, not to mention the law.
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Categories: Coles County, feature, Oakland

18 replies »

  1. These, umm, “folks” who ask what harm is being done are ignorant at the least and, as you pointed out, are probably related to, if not THE culprits, or someone who is benefiting from the arrangement(s).
    They probably think they are entitled. They are the ones who turn their heads every time they see or hear of something improper. They are the disgusting residue at the bottom of the barrel, and frankly, they are the dust under our feet.

  2. For starters, those vehicles being stored in taxpayer buildings creates a liability/risk for the taxpayers. Does their insurance carrier know those vehicles are in the building and on the property? If not that is insurance fraud! Furthermore has anyone thought about what happens if a vehicle is vandalized or destroyed while on/or within taxpayer property? Better yet if someone Is injured as a result of that equipment being on the property? As a Township Clerk from a township a few hours away I would not stand for this in my township. As an elected official, who took an oath of office, I’m also responsible to report illegal activities to the proper authorities. I would expect the same ethical practice from any of the elected officials on this township board

  3. I think township citizens should start showing up with all their junk for storage at the public storage facility…..for the next 5 years.

  4. I wonder who took the pictures. When we discuss the possibility of “small crimes leading to larger ones” it occurred to me that it was possible someone either trespassed or broke in to the facility to take these pictures. The thought also occurred to me that this group of men/women are interested and active in “watching” Edgar County, at least by their title. Why then expand to Coles? Is there not enough to do in Edgar? Perhaps the citizens in Coles are less concerned about following the letter of the law than being beholden to their neighbors. Helping citizens should be admired rather than condemned, don’t you think?

    • If they leave the door open, it allows for pictures. We are all over this state and in several others. The owners of those vehicles are not “helping citizens” they are “helping themselves” at the expense of citizens.

    • Did it occure to you what these people are doing IS a crime? While you speculate on how pictures were obtained you ignore the evidence right in front of you. I suspect your connected to these people in some fashion. Friend, relative etc. How are their actions helping citizens, oh do tell.

  5. Interesting, same thing happened in South Grove Township in Dekalb County as well. Road commissioner stored his tractor for years in the shop.
    All while the Township was paying the former supervisor to store the snow plows at his residence. Oh wait the current supervisor is the daughter of the former supervisor and oh wait her husband is a trustee also.

    • Yeah, thats right, Trump is better, JOKE! no paid taxes 18 plus years, screwed people and small company, CANT SEEM TO HIRE THE RIGHT PEOPLE, please! Crawl back in your shell!

    • For starters, our elected officials set an example for our community. The community is harmed when those leading it violate the law. It sends a message that laws don’t matter. The fact you asked the question points to that decay in our society. Even though the law says these actions are not legal, you appear to minimize the law with your question, as if a resident has to be harmed in order for the law to apply. That is not how our Constitutional Republic works.

    • Well, that s simple.Give every resident a free spot to store they’re personal RV’s, boats, and farm equipment, and then see how much more space has to be built to accommodate, and then raise taxes to pay for it. what’s your address, they can send you your portion of this cost.

    • are you related to dale hanner- he is your brother in law one of the people who stored ther stuuf and a former employee of Oakland water dept mrs Kathleen andersoni

  6. Wow, maybe they’ll let me store the Minnow in their building?

    Did I miss it, or was there no response re credit card statements ?

    I withhold judgement on these folks but it begs an official investigation re:

    Official Misconduct 720 ILCS 5/33-3 (a):
    (2) Knowingly performs an act which he knows he is forbidden by law to perform (store personal property – boat / vehicles / machinery – in public building)
    (3) With intent to obtain a personal advantage for himself or another, he performs an act in excess of his lawful authority (store personal property – boat / vehicles / machinery – in public building)

    + the credit card use

    Let’s hope there is nothing awry re the credit card and there was no exchange of $ or favors for the storage . That still leaves the USE of the public building for personal use.

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