Watchdog sues Coles County for Public Records –

COLES CO., IL. (ECWd) –

In the process of fielding complaints on massive hikes in assessed value of commercial real estate in Mattoon Township, I figured the first step would be to find out how the assessments were accomplished and what they used for their values.

I sent the Supervisor of Assessments (“SOA”) a Freedom Of Information Act (“FOIA”) request for a copy of the study conducted by the individual contracted to conduct the commercial assessments.

At first there was no answer, then the SOA wanted me to take records other than what I had requested, and then I was told the SOA sent the request to the contractor and State’s Attorney claiming the county didn’t possess any of the records, and work product of something like that.

The problem is that FOIA considers those records public records and requires the public body to retrieve them from the contractor:

5 ILCS 140/7(2) A public record that is not in the possession of a public body but is in the possession of a party with whom the agency has contracted to perform a governmental function on behalf of the public body, and that directly relates to the governmental function and is not otherwise exempt under this Act, shall be considered a public record of the public body, for purposes of this Act. 

So I had to file suit today in Coles County Circuit Court. My hope is the County produce the requested records – read it below:


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Video: Oakland Fire Protection District Fighting Structure Fire –

COLES CO., IL. (ECWd) –

The Oakland Fire Protection District was called out this evening to a structure fire in rural Coles County.

Video:




Lake Land College Blows $1,017,697.20 “Into the Wind”

Lake Land College Blows $1,017,697.20 “Into the Wind”
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Question:
What does an Illinois junior college do with industrial wind turbines which are 4 years old
(The answer may surprise you, but it does not surprise us.)
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Answer:  The new wind turbines will be TORN DOWN!!!!
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Yes, tonight, Lake Land College Board of Trustees are likely to vote to remove 2 wind turbines.  The cost for removal is $30,000.  One turbine will be removed entirely, and the second wind turbine will have its blades removed.  The remaining turbine tower and nacelle will be left standing, minus blades, for “education purposes.”  Perhaps it will be a reminder for the community, and the thousands of people who drive past on Interstate 57, that this was a monumental waste of taxpayers’ dollars.  The removal of the blades seems like a good plan because of ice throw hazards and severe damage or death caused in the event of a blade failure or detachment.
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Link to the $987,697.20 Wind Turbine Waste article here:
http://edgarcountywatchdogs.com/2016/04/lake-land-colleges-987697-20-wind-turbine-waste/
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So, Lake Land College has now wasted away $1,017,697.20 on wind turbines in just 4 years since they were installed.  The college will never, ever see one more dime of wind energy revenue out of these turbines.  The wind energy experiment in Mattoon Illinois is/was a giant flop.  Surely somebody should be fired for making the decision to allow money to be spent on installing these wind turbines.
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To make matters worse, many wind energy companies are promoting 500′ tall turbines, which are well-known for causing sleep deprivation for nearby residents, and local government officials continue to allow this to happen to their neighbors throughout Illinois and Indiana and elsewhere.
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The lesson here is this:  If a wind energy promoter comes to your school or college campus, be aware that in all likelihood, these machines will never, ever live up to the promises of paying for themselves.
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The ECWD would like to commend the Lake Land Trustees for removing these turbines now.  Removing turbines will increase the health and safety of everyone within close proximity, including those who are travelling on nearby Interstate 57.
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Attached image of the turbine near I-57:

i-70-turbine

Click to enlarge

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State Rep Candidate Dennis Malak’s Lies, Bankruptcy, Victoria’s Secret, Campaigning At Work (EIU) –

CHARLESTON, IL. (ECWd) –

In a post on Dennis Malak’s official campaign facebook page, he took to telling lies…about us…which is why this article was written.

For the record, the Edgar County Watchdogs had never written any articles in reference to Malak, and never intended to write any. Until Malak started making wild, unsubstantiated claims that the “Edgar County Watchdogs and Tea Party Bloggers taking mean, personal hits” – trying to gain sympathy from his followers.

After a google search, there were recently a couple of articles written about Malak:

  • From BLNNEWS.com – a site run by Diane Benjamin, who has been writing about local public bodies for several years and has a very good track record of reporting the truth, no matter what it may be.
  • From DisclosureNewsOnline – a monthly news magazine who reports on all kinds of issues, including election issues, and has been in operation for more than 14 years, and covers most of Southern Illinois, including most of the 110th District.

Neither of those publication are affiliated in any way with ECWd, and most importantly, they have the same access to all of our information that any other news publication has as evidenced on our “about us” page (here). We share all kinds of public records that we may never write about but may be of interest to others who do write.

Both BLN and Disclosure wrote articles talking about Dennis Malak’s claims that his opponent cannot be an independent voice by taking money from the Republican Party, while failing to mention his taking of money from out-of-district unions – somehow thinking that will not impact his own ability to be an independent voice – and his untruthful statements as to his reason for filing bankruptcy (here) and (here).

For his bankruptcy, which he claimed on his own campaign website was due largely in part because of his “drowning in medical bills” turned out to be inaccurate. Looking at his bankruptcy filings, only about $3,500 of the massive debts were from medical bills, while the remainder were from car payments, tons of student loan debts, house payments, and large amounts of credit cards with debt attached to them, including Ameren, Capitol One, Citibank/Sears, Discover, GE/JC Penny, John Deere Credit, Kohl’s/Capitol One, TD Bank/Target, U of I Credit Union, and a Victoria’s Secret credit card and Toy’s-R-Us credit.

It appears to me there was a lot of shopping going on with the Sears, JC Penny, Kohl’s, target, John Deere, Toy’s-R-Us, and Victoria’s Secret charge accounts. His bankruptcy filing lacked any evidence of “drowning in medical bills” due to his wife’s illness that he posted on his website, and allegedly talked about in a radio interview.

Nothing like throwing your wife “under the bus”…with the medical bills claims. If it appeared to be a true statement, it would be different. His own court filing only listed $100 per month in medical and dental expenses (page 39, item 11).

The worst part of all of the wild claims on his bankruptcy was that he blamed “the system” for his bad financial decisions, as if “the system” owed him. He actually stated that “the system failed us” and claimed he only did what he was supposed to do in life..you know…purchase everything on credit and then whine when you can’t pay it back, and blame “the system” instead of yourself.

I did make comments on the “independent voice” claims, in my individual capacity, and none of the comments would be considered “personal hits” unless talking about his own campaign donations are personal hits. I just commented that he cannot claim to be an independent voice when 96% of his campaign donations came from mostly out of district unions – just like he was attempting to make that same claim against his opponent.

We never wrote about his allegedly campaigning while on the clock at his state job at Eastern Illinois University – I personally talked to him on the phone this past summer about his campaign – while he was at work at EIU. We never wrote about all the Facebook posts that were posted during what we believe was his working hours at EIU (see his timesheet here).

We never wrote about his stance on the second amendment, even though it was quite clear with this Facebook comments where he stands – and it doesn’t seem like he stands with the vast majority of voters in the 110th on that issue, with is statements of “excessive weapons, lock boxes, gun registration fees, new taxes, etc”…. No, we didn’t write about that either.

We do wish he would explain how the ECWd took mean, personal hits about him, or even post a link to those so we can figure out what he is talking about. Until then, we will say he lied to the potential voters of the 110th.

 

 




Costly Broken Wind Turbines Give College Whopping Negative 99.14% Return On Investment

Mattoon, IL – Lake Land College –

Costly Broken Wind Turbines Give College Whopping Negative 99.14% Return On Investment

Posted By Andrew Follett On 1:32 PM 04/12/2016 In |

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Photo from original article (link at bottom)

Lake Land College recently announced plans to tear down broken wind turbines on campus, after the school got $987,697.20 in taxpayer support for wind power.

The turbines were funded by a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, but the turbines lasted for less than four years and were incredibly costly to maintain.

“Since the installation in 2012, the college has spent $240,000 in parts and labor to maintain the turbines,” Kelly Allee, Director of Public Relations at Lake Land College, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The college estimates it would take another $100,000 in repairs to make the turbines function again after one of them was struck by lightning and likely suffered electrical damage last summer. School officials’ original estimates found the turbine would save it $44,000 in electricity annually, far more than the $8,500 they actually generated. Under the original optimistic scenario, the turbines would have to last for 22.5 years just to recoup the costs, not accounting for inflation. If viewed as an investment, the turbines had a return of negative 99.14 percent.

“While they have been an excellent teaching tool for students, they have only generated $8,500 in power in their lifetime,” she said. “One of the reasons for the lower than expected energy power is that the turbines often need to be repaired. They are not a good teaching tool if they are not working.”

The college estimates it would take another $100,000 in repairs to make the turbines function again after one of them was struck by lightning and likely suffered electrical damage last summer.

Even though the college wants to tear down one of the turbines, they are federal assets and “there is a process that has to be followed” according to Allee.

The turbines became operational in 2012 after a 5-year long building campaign intended to reduce the college’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to fight global warming. Even though the turbines cost almost $1 million, but the college repeatedly claimed they’d save money in the long run.

“It is becoming more and more difficult for us financially to maintain the turbines,” Josh Bullock, the college’s president, told the Journal Gazette and Times-Courier last week. “I think it was an extremely worthy experiment when they were installed, but they just have not performed to our expectations to this point.”

Bullock states that the turbines simply haven’t been able to power the campus’ buildings and that most of the electricity wasn’t effectively used.

Lake Land plans to replace the two failed turbines with a solar power system paid for by a government grant. “[T]he photovoltaic panels are expected to save the college between $50,000 and $60,000 this year,”Allee told the DCNF.

Globally, less than 30 percent of total power wind capacity is actually utilized as the intermittent and irregular nature of wind power makes it hard to use.Power demand is relatively predictable, but the output of a wind turbine is quite variable over time and generally doesn’t coincide with the times when power is most needed. Thus, wind power systems require conventional backups to provide power during outages. Since the output of wind turbines cannot be predicted with high accuracy by forecasts, grid operators need to keep excess conventional power systems running.

Wind power accounted for only 4.4 percent of electricity generated in America in 2014, according to the Energy Information Administration.

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URL to article: http://dailycaller.com/2016/04/12/costly-broken-wind-turbines-give-college-whopping-negative-99-14-return-on-investment/




Lake Land College’s $987,697.20 Wind Turbine Waste –

MATTOON, IL. (ECWd) –

Lake Land College has reportedly discussed taking down the wind turbine that was struck by lightning last year due to the cost of repairs – and because it never really worked as they thought it would.

Lake Land College (LLC) wind turbine history can be seen here:

2007-2010 COST BREAKDOWN:

2007:  Wind feasibility study completed for $30,000
2010:  LLC provided $500,000 from Illinois DCEO to “build one turbine.”
2010:  LLC provided 18% of $2,542,762 from US Dept of Labor for “green job training program and related equipment including a 100 kW turbine.”  (The turbine portion of this US DoL grant calculates to $457,697.20 per the small print details.)

WHAT DO WE HAVE TO SHOW FOR TAXPAYER $987,697.20 spent to build these boondoggles?https://www.lakelandcollege.edu/as/tec/sustain/documents/Sustainability%20Media%20Guide%202012.pdf

Operation date: 2012

http://jg-tc.com/news/lake-land-wind-turbines-are-up-running/article_c011d95a-0f6b-11e2-9f3a-0019bb2963f4.html

(read the comments from “gringa”in 2012……totally good point about it never paying for themselves)

No mention of payback periods in this article. Seems like LLC would include the economic effectiveness of this investment in any discussion of it. After all, isn’t this all about return on investment? Maybe not. Wind is free, but the land and equipment and maintenance to that equipment is NOT free.

in 2014, another article was written touting the “savings”:

http://jg-tc.com/news/lake-land-college-saves-with-green-energy/article_e9f30825-81cb-5f7c-b3c7-f4fa0e7673e4.html

LLC should update their college website “infomercial” found here since the turbines no longer (if ever) actually saved $44,000 per year per the over-optimistic claims:

https://www.lakeland.cc.il.us/as/tec/green_jobs/documents/EAR%20INSERT%20LLC%20May%202013.pdf

Just for fun, IF the turbines saved $44,000 per year, these two junkers would have to last 22.5 years, but they only lasted a shameful FOUR YEARS!!!!!

This year – April 2016 – Lake Land College to consider taking down wind turbine:

Posted from TG-TC.com – https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2016/04/10/lake-land-board-to-weigh-future-of-wind-turbine/

Bullock said the southernmost wind turbine of Lake Land’s two 160-foot-tall, 100-kilowatt turbines was damaged by a lightning strike last summer and has not functioned properly since then. He said the administration does not believe that making the nearly $100,000 in repairs estimated for the turbine would be cost effective.”

They were not “cost-effective” when they were built, why is that an issue now?

Bullock said the two 100-kilowatt turbines, which were made possible with federal grant funding, have not been effective at powering buildings on campus. “

Just now figuring out they are not effective?

I wonder how much these machines actually produced while they were operating……….probably even less than the most conservative estimates.  This all makes me want to puke……it adds up to more than THREE TIMES THE LOSS of the below $319,900 home ruined by the InvEnergy wind farm in Vermilion County, IL.

The Zillow listing for the Vermilion Co. house:  http://www.zillow.com/homes/for_sale/Armstrong-IL/pmf,pf_pt/2106868722_zpid/23520_rid/any_days/40.334768,-87.712956,40.186217,-88.048039_rect/11_zm/1_rs/

Both LLC’s turbines should be removed to delete the shameful “monument of waste.”

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LLC




Former Sheriff Darrell Cox, whining about getting caught grabbing breasts and illegally selling guns –

COLES CO., IL. (ECWd) –

The former Sherriff of Coles County, Darrell Cox, who was publicly outed during his campaign (by the Edgar County Watchdogs – not by Phillips) for illegally selling guns in violation of State Law and in violation of Court Orders (WTHI article here), has decided to chime in and urge people to vote for Kaye, who has had his own bouts with the law.

Cox was also publicly outed for conducting business between his own private company and the Coles County Sheriff Department (article here) – a criminal conflict of interest.

Cox was caught lying under Oath, drinking prior to shift as a Sherriff Deputy, withholding information (article and pdf), conspired with others to cover his tracks, and sexually assaulted a co-worker by grabbing her breast and even betting that he could get away with it, bad behavior with progressive discipline over 17 years, tried to hide public records but we got them anyway (click here for that massive embarrassment), lied about his budget (HERE and HERE),

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (“ATF”) is currently investigating the situation with Darrell Cox – it is not over for him yet.

We are still gathering data from Cox’s time as Sherriff and will post that article in a few months when we finish gathering all of it – it is worse that anything we have written on him so far.

After his failed election run, the Coles County State’s Attorney sent out a letter to all law enforcement in Coles County warning them that it is in fact a violation of law to continue to sell guns. (click here to read the letter) He tells them it violates State Law, just as we wrote about prior to that election. He is not the only Sheriff we wrote about that was illegally selling guns.

Cox talks about the “court history” Reggie Phillips has, and we covered all that in 2014 (HERE) noting that it was all civil cases and in the normal course of business. But Cox failed to mention that in his letter to the editor.

Darrell Cox’s letter to the editor – click to enlarge:

Darrell-Cox-Letter

Every single thing we published about Darrell Cox is true, the public records obtained thru the Freedom Of Information Act and the Circuit Court are included in the articles, and it was us that did it, not Phillips. Cox accuses Phillips of communicating with the Liberty Principles PAC, which Cox lied about, but he doesn’t care, he is still sore from the beating he took at the last election where he thought he won and was in the process of celebrating at the local bar, only to find out he was given the wrong information (what a party-killer that had to be LOL) and actually lost.

We are not here to tell you who to vote for, but we do ask that you please research the history of Darrell Cox before you believe anything he has to say as there is nothing worse than supporting a candidate based on lies told by a law breaker himself.

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former Sheriff Darrell Cox




#FundEIU rally draws concern over remarks –

Charleston, IL. (ECWd) –

Students, staff, and residents held a rally at Eastern Illinois University last week to protest and demand that Governor Rauner pass the budget and provide the much needed funds promised to EIU and other schools in the state.  Sadly, missing from the call was for the General Assembly to pass a balanced budget, which is required by law.

Speakers included Gateway Advisor Yolanda Williams.

We received several emails and phone calls from people about the content of William’s speech, and who expressed concern that some students may take it literally.

I talked to Ms. Williams in her office this morning and explained that I was seeking an answer on the intent of her comments, specifically the “turn over a table or two” comment. I asked if she meant to tell the students to go downtown and trash local businesses, or if she meant her comment as a figure of speech. She declined to comment on the intent of her words, and instead stated that the people reading (or watching the video) should make up their own minds on what her intent was.  It was rather surprising that she did not deny a possible intent of an actual call for violence.

There are a couple interpretations of its content – specifically the “flip a table or two” comment:

The comments stated: “emails, phone calls, and tweets to the governor, and petitions to pass the budget and give them (EIU) their money. They want his supporters to know that if they are going to continue to support him, they (petitioners) are not going to support them (the businesses). It’s time for action, it’s time to mobilize, it’s time to maybe flip a table or two, it’s time to make Governor Rauner to pass the budget and give us our money. “

  1. Was this an innocent figure of speech not to be taken literally?
  2. Was this a call to action, as in violent behavior to specifically start flipping tables over?

We do appreciate concerns of unpaid bills from the State of Illinois to EIU, however, the question needing asked at this point in time is why was the only legislator permitted to address the students a Democrat from outside the district and others present were not permitted?  Was this a coordinated effort by the Democrats prior to the President’s visit to Springfield?

Does it not take two to negotiate? Why no mention of Mike Madigan? If they were truly interested in the budget process and bill payments, maybe consider the constitutional requirement of a balanced budget, which Madigan has yet to provide to the Governor’s office for signing?

By no means are we suggesting the State should get by without holding up their end of contractual obligations, but there can be no expectations of only one side reaching across the isle to meet the other. Proper negotiations require more.

All indications are this “Rally” was nothing more than a political event designed to stir emotions against a Republican governor.  Sadly, as an educational institution, an opportunity to educate on our State Constitution was missed and clearly more people have been misled with the presentations.

EIU-Logo

 




Lakeland College – Vice President for Business Services Raymond Rieck resigns.

Coles Co. (ECWd) –

Tonight at the Lakeland College Board meeting there is an Agreement and Release document for Vice President  Raymond Rieck, who signed a resignation notice February 1st, 2016, as well as the Agreement and Release document on that same day.

What is interesting with this so called ‘resignation’ is the fact we were tipped off about the VP’s departure a couple weeks ago.  According to our source we were told Mr. Rieck had his keys taken from him and was escorted off the campus approximately two weeks ago.

Calls to the school to confirm this were met with denials of any such situation, however, having looked at our fair share of resignation letters, we do find his rather interesting.

“This letter will confirm my retirement and my voluntary resignation as Vice-President for Business Services of Lake Land College, effective August 31, 2016. I have decided to resign from my position as Vice-President for personal reasons.”

As I understand it, when a person submits a resignation letter they are doing so voluntarily, thus no need to state such.  Couple that strange claim of a voluntary resignation with the fact he has been placed on Administrative Leave, one can now only wonder what the real reason for his departure is.

Most resignation announcements effective 8 months later we see those people continuing to perform their duties.   In this case, the taxpayers are footing the bill for 8 more months for a person to basically do nothing on their behalf, unless asked, and then he can only do so by phone and on projects he was involved in. In other words, don’t come back to the campus.

In addition, the wording in the Agreement and Release indicates Mr. Reick will ‘remain’ on administrative leave.  That appears to  indicate he was placed on Administrative leave prior to this resignation letter.

Thus the question, why was he placed on Administrative Leave?

The agreement outlines that he ‘agrees’ to voluntarily resign.  If his resignation is voluntary, why would he need to ‘agree’ to a voluntary resignation?

We suspect there is more to this story and will do our best to find out.  If any of our readers have information they can share please feel free to do so through our tip line that is 100% confidential.

Download (PDF, 1.06MB)

 

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Village of Lerna appoints new village president –

LERNA, IL. (ECWd) –

In a brief Special Meeting of the Village of Lerna Board of Trustees, held at 2:00 p.m. today, the trustees appointed a new village president.

After roll call, the (new) unconditional resignation of Don Pearcy was read aloud, and each of the trustees declined appointment to the vacant seat.

According to the Illinois Municipal Code, when a village of under 5000 people have a vacancy in the office of president or mayor, and all trustees either decline or fail to receive majority vote, on the vacant seat, then the village can appoint another resident as its president.

A motion was made, subsequent to all trustee’s declination of appointment, to appoint village resident Mr. Wilbert Beals to the vacant village president seat. Motion was seconded, and a unanimous vote affirmed his appointment.

Mr. Beals swore his oath of office.

Meeting adjourned.

WCIA reported on this earlier this past week: here and here.

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Lerna-Sign




Lerna Village President resigns, Village Board makes illegal appointment – –

LERNA, IL. (ECWd) –

Don Pearcy, the unofficial now-former Village of Lerna President (maybe), tendered his “conditional resignation in a Special Meeting today, January 31, 2016.

The problem is that the term of his “conditional” resignation resulted in the village trustees violating the Illinois Municipal Code due to the fact that he conditioned his resignation on the appointment of Wilbert Beals as Village President – who happens to be the father of Janette Beals, the village clerk who resigned as trustee in order to take the clerk position.  It shows  how bad they wanted him out of there, to violate the law to get rid of him…

Any such appointment at this stage is a violation of the Illinois Municipal Code.

What is a Conditional Resignation?

The Illinois Municipal Code provides for “conditional resignations” in Section 3.1.10-50 (2):

(2) Conditional Resignation. A resignation that does not become effective unless a specified event occurs can be withdrawn at any time prior to the occurrence of the specified event, but if not withdrawn, the effective date of the resignation is the date of the occurrence of the specified event or the date the resignation is received by the officer authorized to fill the vacancy, whichever date occurs later.

The conditions placed on a resignation cannot violate other laws – like, say, the Illinois Municipal Code, Section 3.1/10-50 (f)(1):

(1) Mayor or President. If the vacancy is in the office of mayor or president, the vacancy must be filled by the corporate authorities electing one of their members as acting mayor or acting president. Except as set forth in subsection (d), the acting mayor or acting president shall perform the duties and possess all the rights and powers of the mayor or president until a mayor or president is elected at the next general municipal election and has qualified. However, in villages with a population of less than 5,000, if each of the trustees either declines the election as acting president or is not elected by a majority vote of the trustees presently holding office, then the trustees may elect, as acting president, any other village resident who is qualified to hold municipal office, and the acting president shall exercise the powers of the president and shall vote and have veto power in the manner provided by law for a president.

Here is what should have happened. Either the board should have declined his resignation on the position that he cannot dictate they violate the Illinois Municipal Code, or, they should have accepted his resignation and followed the Municipal Code. Each Trustee must decline the appointment OR not be elected to fill the vacancy by a majority of the board PRIOR to appointing a non-trustee to the position.

Either way, Dan Pearcy, in his final grasp at holding on to 0what little power he may have had,  has lost every shred of integrity that he might have had left. I will add him to the list of scumbags.

As for the board of trustees, they exhibited one of the most outrageous acts I have ever witnessed in a public body. Just when you thought you have seen it all, something like this pops up and takes the cake.

How much is he hiding that he must try and dictate who the next village president is?

Additionally, the appointment violated the Open Meetings Act since the action item was to “fill” or “appoint” a BOARD vacancy. There was never an item to accept the resignation of the village president or to appoint a person to fill the vacancy of the village president. There is no such thing as a “board” vacancy, only trustee vacancy and/or president vacancy for this situation.

What a freak-show.

I certainly hope their new attorney didn’t play any part in this.

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Village of Lerna fills Trustee vacancy –

LERNA, IL. (ECWd) –

The village of Lerna, Illinois held its regular meeting on January 5, 2016.

During the meeting there was considerable discussion of water drainage, a decision was made to pay the water loan off, among other items, and a lengthy discussion on an appointment to the vacant Trustee position.

After the discussion on filling the vacancy, a vote was taken, and Mr. Robert “Bob” Boles (not sure of the spelling) was nominated and appointed on a 3 – 2 vote to fill the vacancy. He was immediately sworn in.

One of the only remaining items needing addressed, is that Mayor Pearcy (missing from this meeting) is still in a conflict with his full-time job as village maintenance supervisor. He is committing a new crime each and every day he goes to work. Too bad the Appellate Prosecutor’s Office is dragging their feet on it.

The new village attorney said he hasn’t finished researching the conflict of interest issue yet, but would finish in a couple of weeks.

Read our previous articles on Lerna, including the Conflict of Interest (here).

Lerna-Mayor (WinCE)

Lerna Mayor Don Pearcy

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UPDATE: New Year’s Eve fire in Mattoon, IL. (video) –

MATTOON, IL. (ECWd) –

UDATED with about 15 minutes worth of video from Disclosure News Magazine’s Google+ page
Or you can see all 15 videos of the fire at the YouTube page of “Walleys World” (click here).

The old Standafer Construction building block south of 19th and Charleston (middle of block) is engulfed in flames this evening with firefighters on the scene.
Short video below from the facebook page of Jim Scott, hopefully more on the way.
If you are reading this New Year’s Eve, you can listen to the radio broadcast live here.

 

https://www.facebook.com/jim.scott.94801/videos/10205954839693603/

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MattoonFireSmall2

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Kassandra Wilson Pleads Guilty/Sentenced On Battery Of Pregnant Woman –

Charleston, IL. (ECWd) –

Coles County State’s Attorney filed charges on September 15, 2015 of Battery/Bodily Harm against Kassandra Wilson of Charleston. A Class A Misdemeanor.

Wilson struck the victim 3 or 4 times to the head, causing her to fall. Victim was 11 weeks pregnant at the time, and an Eastern Illinois University (“EIU”) Graduate Student.

During the initial investigation, Wilson admitted to the Sheriff’s Deputy that she did hit the victim. After several conflicting statements made by Wilson, she was arrested and taken into custody on August 20, 2015.

She posted $1500 Bond.

Mugshots and charge sheet below.

On December 2, 2015, Wilson entered a guilty plea and was sentenced, pursuant to agreement, to:

  • 1 yr supervision,
  • fine of $250 plus court costs,
  • $75 Violent Crime Victim Assistance,
  • $5 Drug Court fine,
  • $30 Court Appointed Special Advocates,
  • $10 Probation Operations,
  • 100 hrs Community Service Work,
  • Mental Health Evaluation and treatment as required

Deft ordered immediately to Probation regarding Community Service Work and Evaluation. Bond to apply.

Supervision Order entered.

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Download (PDF, 252KB)

 

 




Election Board Lottery Determined Ballot Order For 2016 Primary Election –

Springfield, IL. (ECWd) –

The Illinois State Board of Elections held the lottery on December 9, 2015, to determine ballot placement in the upcoming election.

Ballot order for the 102nd Illinois State Representative District is

  1.  Brad Halbrook
  2.  Randy Peterson
  3.  Jim Acklin

Ballot order for the 110th Illinois State Representative District (without ballot due to filing dates):

  1.  Reggie Phillips
  2.  Jonathan Kaye

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Gym owner admits to coworker he lied; testimony about audiotape given –

Charleston, IL. (ECWd) –

COLES CO. – The preliminary hearing held in October for a local gym coach was a startling one, according to the reactions of those in the courtroom hearing the testimony for the first time.
Zac Lawson, the 33-year-old former coach and owner of Sun Elite Gymnastics and Tumbling in Charleston, stands charged with a single count of Unauthorized Videotaping.
That count was the basis of testimony elicited by the Illinois State Police trooper who investigated the case, as given on Monday, October 19, at Lawson’s preliminary hearing, which he likely should have waived…since there was so much more coming out in the testimony than even that with which Lawson has been charged.
On September 4, a single charge was filed by Coles County prosecutor Brian Bower  – that of the unauthorized videotaping, wherein it’s alleged that Lawson placed a video recording device or transmitter in a restroom at the gym facility, which is located on North Loxa Road near Charleston, and actually made a recording which was subsequently transmitted. To where, or to whom, has not been made public.
The device was discovered earlier this year (March 23) and the discovery shut down the gym temporarily while ISP agents swept the 14,000-square foot building to make sure that the one they’d been tipped on was the ONLY one, which apparently it was.
However, at the time of the filing and of Lawson turning himself in on the warrant September 8, Bower seemed to be quick to point out that there was “no evidence that there was any sexual component” in regards to the device nor any transmission of whatever it might have recorded. However, he did initially allude to the fact that SOMETHING was captured on the recording.
Lawson’s HSCA
Upon publication of the gym’s temporary shut-down March 24, Lawson had a high-speed comeapart and contacted area media outlets, including television in Champaign, insistent that Disclosure’s online coverage was inaccurate and that not only had his gym not been shut down and locked (an act ISP had taken to ensure no one else connected with the facility could gain access while the physical investigation was going on), but that there was no suspicion of a recording device on the premises, something Disclosure had been assured was the situation, this by sources close to the case.
According to testimony on Oct. 19, however, there was more to it than just the recording/transmission device.
At that time, the court was told during the hearing set to present enough evidence on the charge that it would bind Lawson over for trial, that Lawson’s phone had also been confiscated on the day the gym was shut and locked.
On that phone, ISP testified, was communication between Lawson and many of his students at the gym. And while none of the communication was sexual or even suggestive in nature, the very fact that he was texting his underage charges – and at 2 and 3 in the morning, no less – could most assuredly be considered inappropriate.
However, it was what ISP testified was found on the phone in between the texts that was the most disturbing.
With Lawson’s wife sitting present in the courtroom in Charleston, the trooper explained that the agency had discovered, in between the text messages, evidence that Lawson had been viewing pornography that purported to show “young teen girls” in hardcore sex acts.
Whether or not this was porn that used actual underage girls (which is routinely produced and distributed out of Denmark, Russia, and other locales in Europe and Asia, all a part of the international sex slave trade) was not discussed.
Devastated
Lawson’s wife was reported as “devastated” at this testimony (apparently she hadn’t been apprised of this aspect of the investigation, by her husband or anyone else) and his attorney Jay Ferguson was reported as “outraged,” as apparently he wasn’t fully aware of what the ISP investigation had turned up, either.
Ferguson, as a matter of fact, was throughout the hearing attempting to say that a witness by the name of “Trey” (possibly a student/former student at the gym, reportedly someone who is helping keep the facility going at the present time) was actually the one who had “set up” Lawson, and had been the one who had set the recording device in place.
ISP testimony, however, elicited that this person, Trey, had been the one to whom Lawson had, during a recorded phone conversation, admitted that he (Lawson) had placed the recording device in the bathroom. According to information elicited at hearing, Trey had caught Lawson in a series of lies that ISP was easily able to disprove.
The judge laughed at the suggested that Trey was wholly responsible for Lawson’s alleged acts; then bound Lawson over for trial.
There has been no official indication that any further charges might be filed against Lawson. However, sources close to the investigation have advised Disclosure that the ISP examination of the recording device has not been concluded yet. More detailed information emerging about that device and what it allegedly contained, as well as the alleged pornography on the confiscated phone, might very well lead to more charges.
Lawson has entered a not guilty plea, and the case is moving forward. A status hearing on the charge had been set for November 23 in front of Judge Teresa K. Righter.
This story, and more available at DisclosureNewsOnline.com (HERE) Subscription

Lawson_1 (WinCE)

Mugshot: Lawson




Lerna Village Clerk, Trustee Resign –

Lerna, IL. (ECWd) –

Tonight’s meeting of the Village of Lerna Board of Trustees received the resignations of Village Clerk, John Protz, and also Village Trustee Janette Beals.

We previously wrote about the apparent conflict with the Village Clerk also working by the hour in the Clerk’s office. He has protested the article, claiming village policy set his salary at the amount he is receiving. He claims he gets a stipend to attend meetings, and also gets paid minimum wage plus fifteen cents per hour working in the Clerk’s office. I have not seen a copy of whatever he says his salary is, but I do not believe an elected village clerk gets paid hourly, if they did they could effectively raise and/or lower their pay any given week they so chose to do so, which violates the Constitution of Illinois.

Additionally, he claims the Coles County Clerk, or someone in that office, told him what to write down on his Statement of Economic Interest. Something the clerk’s office has told me they never do. That, he says, is the reason he didn’t fill out his SEI correctly.

I will research this further and clarify the previous article if need be.

We also know that Trustee Beals was also working for the village by mowing yards and turning the invoice in for payment from the village – which is a violation of the Illinois Municipal Code.

Village President Don Pearcy is still digging in his heals trying to stay on in the conflicted positions of Village President and Village Maintenance Supervisor, which is a violation of the Illinois Municipal Code and a Class 4 Felony for each and every paycheck he gets while in both positions. He receives a check every week.

Why is this so hard to understand about the Illinois Municipal Code?

a) A municipal officer shall not be financially interested directly in the officer’s own name or indirectly in the name of any other person, association, trust, or corporation, in any contract, work, or business of the municipality or in the sale of any article whenever the expense, price, or consideration of the contract, work, business, or sale is paid either from the treasury or by an assessment levied by statute or ordinance.

(d) An officer who violates this Section is guilty of a Class 4 felony. In addition, any office held by an officer so convicted shall become vacant and shall be so declared as part of the judgment of the court.

The next steps for the Village of Lerna are to place “declare office of Village Clerk vacant”, “declare office of Village Trustee vacant”, appoint Clerk, and appoint Trustee, on the agenda of a meeting, declare the offices vacant, and appoint replacements.

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Don Pearcy shown in the act of violating the law.




Rauner backs Halbrook for 102nd House Race –

Tom Kacich: Rauner backs candidate in state House race

Gov. Bruce Rauner has jumped into the 102nd House District Republican primary, endorsing former state Rep. Brad Halbrook in what for now is a three-way race.

Halbrook, of Shelbyville, is running with Jim Acklin of Ogden and Randy Peterson of Paris to replace retiring state Rep. Adam Brown, who announced this summer that he would not try for a fourth term in 2016.

“The governor is supporting Brad because he’s the right fit for the district and supports the governor’s Turnaround Agenda,” said Rauner spokesman Lance Trover.

The 102nd District includes all or parts of Champaign, Douglas, Vermilion, Shelby, Moultrie, Macon and Edgar counties. It is largely rural and… continue reading with The News-Gazette…

Rauner

Gov. Rauner

Brad Halbrook

 




John Protz, Lerna Clerk, Lied on Statement of Economic Interest –

Lerna, IL. (ECWd) –

Some of you may have read our recent articles on the Village of Lerna (here).

We are still sorting out some of the details, but we do know when public officials refuse to stop their lawbreaking, there is more to the story.

I had wondered why certain Lerna officials were strongly defending their Village President, Don Pearcy, and his illegal actions.

It is because they are guilty of the very same violations of law that Pearcy is violating.

Lying on a Statement of Economic Interest is a criminal offense – nothing can make me believe these people did not understand what they were signing. A fifth grader could understand this paperwork.

John Protz, the elected Village Clerk, who is also working in a hourly position in the Clerk’s office (better known as conflict of interest) failed to disclose this fact in item number 6 on his Statement of Economic Interest.

He signed his name to a fraudulent document attesting to its accuracy. How can he be trusted with anything else?

He lied. He needs prosecuted.

Download (PDF, 1.89MB)

20151006_185629 (WinCE)

John Protz – Lied on Statement of Economic Interest.

 




Don Pearcy, Lerna Village President – Filed False Economic Interest Statements –

Lerna, IL. (ECWd) –

The excuses we hear every where we go are almost all the same, but I am starting to think there is a secret book of excuses out there some people are reading.

Several months ago during a Lerna village meeting I informed the Village President, Don Pearcy, that his Statements of Economic Interests were not truthful – as a matter of fact, they have contained false information for at least the past 5 years.

Everyone keeps telling me how much of a “nice guy” Pearcy is, and how he only wants to help out the residents of the village.

I would have believed that if he had filed a corrected Statement of Economic Interest when he was informed his was false. Now I believe it to be knowingly and willfully. So I will call it like it is.

The Illinois Governmental Ethics Act requires certain elected, appointed, and employed individuals to file an annual Statement of Economic Interest. It requires the person named to be truthful on the SEI – Don Pearcy was not truthful.

In the IGEA’s definitions, to further understand some terms unsed on the form, it defines “entity” as:

Sec. 1-111. "Person" or "entity" means an individual, proprietorship, partnership, association, trust, estate, business trust, group, or corporation, whether or not operated for profit, or a governmental agency, unit, or subdivision.

Item number 6 on the SEI Form asked to “List the name of any entity doing business with a unit of local government in relation to which the person us required to file from which an income of more than $1,200 was derived during the preceding calendar year…

Pearcy (the “entity”) should have written: “Don Pearcy, Lerna Maintenance Supervisor” – instead, he wrote “NONE”. Pearcy was the entity who derived income in excess of $1,200 and it was with the Village of Lerna, for which he was filing the SEI.

He is required to file under Section 4A-101(g) of the Act.

Section 4A-107 explains the Penalty of not filing, or filing a false or incomplete SEI – That Penalty is a Class A Misdemeanor, which carries a potential fine of up to $1000, imprisonment of up to 1 year, or both fine and imprisonment.

He was informed a couple months ago at a meeting, the former village attorney informed him, and yet he defies the law by letting the false document stand as though it is correct.

Is this the action of “a good person”…or is this the action of a person who finally got caught and is delaying the inevitable?

More on Pearcy in future articles, and reaches back more than 10 years…

Lerna-Mayor

Don Pearcy, Lerna Village President with a Conflict of Interest as Lerna Maintenance Supervisor and filer of  false Statements of Economic Interest




Village of Lerna, Don Pearcy, and the Illinois Municipal League –

Lerna, IL. (ECWd) –

This is the third month we have attended the Village of Lerna monthly meeting of Trustees.

The first month I explained the conflict of interest between the Village President and his job as full-time Village Maintenance Supervisor. I also mentioned the conflict between a Village Trustee submitting invoices to the village for the village to pay her to mow the yards of repossessed houses.

The second meeting (Sep.) there was considerable discussion on the issue, and the village attorney even spoke up and said that she had told Pearcy a month ago that there was a conflict with those two positions. She resigned as village attorney a couple days later. The village is now without an attorney.

This week, Pearcy was absent, and the acting board president stated (see video below) that they had canceled their special meeting in Sep because Pearcy was ready to resign, but the Illinois Municipal League told him there wasn’t a conflict and there was no need for him to resign. So they canceled the special meeting.

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During public comment I let them know that they would never receive a letter from the IML stating what they just told the public, and I didn’t believe the IML would tell them that. I also said I would buy them dinner if they received a letter from the IML with that information on it.

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Yesterday I contacted a representative of the IML and asked for a comment on what they said to Don Pearcy. As I suspected, nothing of the sort was said to him, and below is their written comment:

For publication: “Without knowing the exact details about a situation, our policy is to refer municipal leaders to their city attorney and that was done in the case of Lerna.  We advise elected officials to be aware of both real and perceived conflicts of interest and to seek written legal opinions on any topic of concern, since local ordinances may apply and all of the facts are usually not shared over a phone call.”

BRAD COLE, Executive Director

Illinois Municipal League

They referred them (Don Pearcy) to their city attorney… Since their attorney already told them, in a public meeting, that it was a conflict of interest, no further discussion is needed. But I suspect they will continue to stall, and continue to spend village money on various attorney opinions, just to get the same answer. They will never find an attorney to sign his name to a document with the opinion stating that it is perfectly OK for a Village President also having the job of full-time Village Maintenance Supervisor. Never.

20151006_185629 (WinCE)

This is not Don Pearcy, but he still thinks he can keep people from recording meetings…




Village of Lerna tried to ban video cameras at their meeting –

Lerna, IL. (ECWd) –

Edited with the video at bottom of article…

The Lerna Village Trustee Meeting was held on October 6, 2015.

From the start, even before entering the building, one of the Village elected officials told me if I recorded audio, took any pictures, or recorded video, that he throw me out of the meeting, and if I didn’t leave when asked he would have me arrested.

I stayed the entire meeting while recording video and audio on two separate devices.

About 3 1/2 minutes into the meeting, the acting board president stated that he noticed I was recording and recording was allowed, that the village had the power to say what was done with the recording after I recorded it, and since I was going to post it on youtube he told me to turn the camera off.

That did not happen.

Then the person that threatened me outside the building if I recorded anything at the meeting tried to tell me to leave the room.

That did not happen.

The village board eventually gave up their losing cause and proceeded with the meeting.

A citizen did say he would call the sheriff department, and I gave him the phone number, but he never called.

The learning experience these local public officials should take away from this is:

Any person has the statutory right to record audio, record video, and take pictures, at every open public meeting. The only rules a public body can place on that right is to designate a particular place for setting up cameras, and it must be a REASONABLE rule. If handheld devices (cell phone, etc) are used, those placement rules do not apply. The eavesdropping law specifically exempts recording at open public meetings – meaning no permission or notification required. Record at your leisure at an open public meeting.

Other “useful” statement I heard that night: “This meeting is only an open meeting to the village residents” and “the State’s Attorney told us we could make you shut the camera off” and “I’ll call the sheriff department” …the night was filled with comedy!

Video of this exchange of ideas will be added to this article when I can finally get it uploaded.

In the meantime…he wanted to stand in front of camera:

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Lerna residents – Question answered, thanks –

Lerna, IL. (ECWd) –

UPDATE: We received a phone call from the person in the photo who claims to have not meant it as a threat, but more as a safety thing while we were down around E. St. Louis. He sounded sincere, so I consider this issue closed. As such, the photo and video have been deleted from this page.

For those that live in Lerna and were at the September village trustee meeting, please help identify this person.

This person communicated what I consider to be a threat to me after the meeting and I would appreciate knowing his name.

The threat consisted of a comment about “I have friends“, and “make sure you don’t get shot in the back” .

Any assistance is appreciated.
 




Sun Elite Gymnastics Owner, Zach Lawson’s Mugshot, Intake Record –

Charleston, IL. (ECWd) –

The alleged offense is [720 ILCS 5/26-4(a)] “Unauthorized Video Recording and Live Video Transmission” of the Illinois Criminal Code, which states:

(720 ILCS 5/26-4) (from Ch. 38, par. 26-4)
    Sec. 26-4. Unauthorized video recording and live video transmission.
    (a) It is unlawful for any person to knowingly make a video record or transmit live video of another person without that person's consent in a restroom, tanning bed, tanning salon, locker room, changing room, or hotel bedroom.

The alleged offense is a Class 4 felony.

The file on Judici.com lists this alleged offense as a Class 4 felony (click here).

The sentence, should he be found guilty, can range from 1-3 years can include a fine of up to $25,000.

Previous article (here).

Click on a picture to enlarge…

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Zach Lawson mugshot #1 – Coles Co. Sheriff’s Department

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Zach Lawson mugshot #2 – Coles Co. Sheriff’s Department




Charleston Gym Owner Charged With Unlawful Videotaping –

Charleston, IL. (ECWd) –

Update: Click HERE for mugshot…
Zac Lawson, 33, owner and coach at Sun Elite Tumbling and Gymnastics in Charleston, has been charged with a single count of secreting a videotaping device in a room at his facility in an effort to film people (mostly minors) changing clothes.

He was charged on a single count of “unlawful videotaping” and turned himself in after learning of the warrant.

– Read more at Disclosure News Online (here).

This is an update to a post we made from March 2015 (here) where he was barred from certain USTTA/AAU Events.

Edited to add booking sheet:

ColeCountyArrestSheet

lawson-zac




Rep. Reggie Phillips announces he is running for a second term –

Charleston, IL – Contrary to what was reported in IllinoisReview, Rep. Reggie Phillips is notactively considering leaving the state,” according to Phillips.

State Representative Reggie Phillips today announced he will seek a second term as State Representative in the 110th District.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                 Contact:  Reggie Phillips

Sept. 5, 2015                                                                 reggieforrep@gmail.com

“I went to Springfield because I was tired of seeing bad policies drive jobs and opportunities away from our state,” Phillips said. “I looked at my grandchildren and I wondered what kind of future will they have? The decision to run was based on my desire to turn our state around. I think it is important to have representation in Springfield that is not beholden to campaign contributors or party leaders. I am an independent voice and I serve the people of the 110th District and I would be honored to continuing serving in Springfield for another term.”

Rep. Phillips is working with local farmers in opposition to the Green Belt Express Clean Line. He also sponsored a measure (House Resolution 173) to support the nation of Israel. Additionally, he is working with several of his colleagues to pass a measure (House Resolution 671) which calls for an investigation of Planned Parenthood in light of the recent videos exposing some horrific practices involving the sale of human body parts.

One of Rep. Phillips’ top priorities is to change the economic climate in Illinois and enact meaningful business reforms. Illinois ranked dead last in the Midwest per capita for new payroll jobs added to the economy in 2014 while Iowa ranked 14th and Wisconsin 20th, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“One of things I find so frustrating is that there are a few simple changes we can make to really get our economy going but we continue to ignore these simple reforms,” Phillips said. “Enacting real workers’ compensation reform, reducing excessive business regulations, and unleashing the full potential of Illinois’ natural resources would put us back on a course to economic growth and prosperity. The current policies are not working. Illinois can be a leader in good paying jobs but we have to improve the business climate or we will continue to see jobs disappear.”

Rep. Reggie Phillips grew up in Arthur, Illinois. He and his wife Martha have four adult children and 10 grandchildren. In 1986, Reggie and Martha started a residential and commercial building business in Charleston, Illinois which now employs approximately 400 people. He was elected State Representative in the 110th District in 2014. The 110th District encompasses parts or all of Coles, Crawford, Lawrence, Cumberland, and Edgar Counties.

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RepReggiePhillips

Rep. Reggie Phillips




Lerna – Eavesdropping during public meeting?

Lerna, IL. (ECWd) –

Does the eavesdropping law apply to open public meetings in Illinois?

The short answer is “NO”.

This accusation comes up frequently when we attend meetings where we haven’t attended before.

During the September 1, 2015 meeting in Lerna, one resident stated that I did not have his permission to tape the meeting and that I was breaking the law by doing so.

He was mistaken.

The Illinois Criminal Code explicitly exempts recording of meetings required to be open by the Open Meetings Act.

720 ILCS 5/14-3 – ARTICLE 14. EAVESDROPPING
Sec. 14-3. Exemptions. The following activities shall be exempt from the provisions of this Article:
(e) Recording the proceedings of any meeting required to be open by the Open Meetings Act, as amended;

A comment left in a recent article eluded to the Open Meetings Act and the public body’s ability to establish rules governing the ability to record meetings. This also comes with the legislative intent that things like designating a place for camera, etc. to be located are reasonable rules as long as it does not hamper the recording of a meeting, but any rules cannot eliminate or place any other restrictions on the ability to record an pen meeting including requiring advanced notice, requiring permission to record, or even requiring a person notify people they are recording.

Sec. 2.05. Recording meetings. Subject to the provisions of Section 8-701 of the Code of Civil Procedure, any person may record the proceedings at meetings required to be open by this Act by tape, film or other means. The authority holding the meeting shall prescribe reasonable rules to govern the right to make such recordings

There is an exception for testimony to a tribunal, etc.

The Open Meetings Act states that anyone may record and calls it a RIGHT, and the Eavesdropping law exempts open public meetings from its definition of eavesdropping.

There you have it folks! Record open meetings without worry or threat.




Standing Room Only at Lerna Village Trustee Meeting

Lerna, IL. (ECWd) –

I attended the September meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Lerna and asked Village President Don Pearcy why he had not submitted a truthful Statement of Economic Interest since he was informed back in July (audio below) that the SEI he submitted was not accurate – He failed to disclose income obtained from the Village of Lerna the previous year, which resulted in a false SEI being filed.

His answer was that he went to the Coles County Clerk’s office the day after the July meeting and they would not help him file a new one, so he gave it to the village attorney. The problem is that it is Pearcy’s responsibility to file the SEI, and to file a true one – which is not the job of the attorney.

Next I asked if he would resign due to the conflict of interest with him being the Village President and the Village Maintenance Supervisor. There was no direct answer to that question, but I was left with the impression he was going to hold on to both jobs, in violation of the law, until he is forced to vacate one. ECWD’s opinion is that by taking the oath of office of Village President, he automatically forfeited his position as maintenance person for the village. This will have to be decided in a Court.

After that, Pearcy allowed the 30+ Lerna residents to voice their opinions on the subject, and they were in favor of him keeping both jobs in violation of the law because “that’s is how they’ve done it for 15 years” – like that is supposed to make it OK. I was not prepared for direct questions from the residents, but i agreed to engage in the discussion after Pearcy agree to allow it to happen. It was a lively back and forth between myself and the residents that wished to speak. I had the impression they had not been given the complete story by Pearcy, because the village attorney had previously informed him it was a conflict. Rob Bogue had a comment that the residents should not take it as a personal attack on Pearcy, but rather it should be taken as what it is, a violation of law, it needs to be fixed, and it does not mean Pearcy is a bad person. My thoughts are that it does not mean he is a bad person unless he refuses to do what is right and eliminate the conflict be resigning one of those two jobs.

After about 10-15 minutes of discussion, one of the residents asked what the village attorney thought about the conflict of interest. She replied (audio below) that she had previously informed Pearcy of the conflict and that her opinion was that it is a conflict and not in keeping with the Public Officer’s Prohibited Activities Act.

Another interesting discussion involved the Trustee who had collected payment from the Village for mowing yards (in violation of law), and who also, at the July meeting Motioned to give Pearcy a pay raise, tried defending his conflict of interest – which tells me she might still be getting paid by the village to mow yards. A request for payment information will provide that answer.

Nothing was said at this meeting that we haven’t heard before, like: “Go home“, “stay out of our town“, “you have no business here“, etc, etc…

Forthcoming articles will fully explain in detail why these are conflicts of interest and will include citations from the applicable statutes, Attorney General opinions, and Precedent setting Court Rulings.

July 2015 Lerna Public Comment:

Lerna Village Attorney response to question:

Lerna-Mayor (WinCE)

Don Pearcy – Village of Lerna




Lerna, IL.: Conflicts of Interest with Mayor, Employee, Trustee –

Lerna, IL. (ECWd) –

We have been receiving tips from Lerna residents for at least two years now, and decided there was enough information to attend a Lerna village trustee meeting.

In July of 2015 we attended the trustee meeting in Lerna, which is a village due south of the Coles County Regional Airport. During the meeting, we explained that the Mayor had an incurable conflict with his job as the Village of Lerna full-time maintenance supervisor. This is a conflict of interest and had been ongoing, admittedly, for years, possibly more than a decade.

Additionally, the Mayor had filed a false Statement of Economic Interest in which he failed to include his income from the village, where he made more than $1200 last year. I asked him to refile a correct SEI, but am unaware at this time if that was ever filed.

At the same meeting, a village trustee motioned and made the case to increase the maintenance supervisor’s compensation by $200 per month – and then a subsequent vote to pay that same trustee for mowing grass on the repossessed properties AND have the village pay her to do that. I asked them to quit paying for that conflict of interest and either find another person to mow the yards or ask the trustee to resign. There is no other option.

Hearing nothing, we attended the August meeting to see if anything had, or was about to, change. Everyone was present except for the Mayor/Maintenance supervisor (who had a family emergency to take care of). The attorney did acknowledge that she agreed with the assessment of the conflicts of interest, and I noticed she had a blank Statement of Economic Interest with her.

There was no indication of what the mayor’s intent would be, so we will be at the September meeting to find out. Sixty days is more than enough time to figure out you need to resign due to conflicts of interest.

It is entirely possible that nobody in the village knew there was a conflict since it has been ongoing for so long, but that does not excuse its continuing into the future.

Lerna-Mayor




West Nile virus detected in bird in Coles County –

Mattoon, IL.  –

Article from JG-TC:

July 30, 2015 11:43 am

CHARLESTON (JG-TC) — The Coles County Health Department has reported that a bird collected on July 21 in Mattoon has tested positive for West Nile virus, marking the first time in 2015 that this virus has been detected in Coles County.

A health department press release reported that the positive test result is a clear indication that West Nile virus is in the area and appropriate measures should be taken to prevent the virus from spreading to humans.

West Nile virus is transmitted through…continue reading…