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


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 – 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 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.



Appellate Court Decision – Kraft v. Arcola Twp –


The decisions in Kraft v. Arcola Township, in which four cases were appealed out of Douglas County Circuit Court, were decided on March 17, 2016.

The short answer is that the circuit court decisions were upheld and it was not a precedent-setting case.

You can read the decision below.

To me, this had absolutely nothing to do with whether or not I submitted a request for public records or whether or not Arcola Township actually provided the records pursuant to the FOIA request. I know I submitted the request and I know they did not provide the requested records.

The loss, in the end, was all about the procedural process in the court system, and not so much about whether FOIA was violated or complied with.

It does not mean Arcola Township was right in their actions, it means they spent a lot of money keeping public records from the public, and succeeded for now.

I will continue seeking those records improperly denied.

Download (PDF, 75KB)


Kraft v. Arcola Township Oral Arguments Audio –


Oral Arguments were heard this morning at 10:00 a.m. on four cases appealed out of Douglas County Circuit Court.

All four cases dealt with the Freedom of Information Act, and Kraft’s assertion that Arcola Township violated the act.

Listen to the arguments below:

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Jim Acklin failed to address the issue of mandated reporting –

102nd District – (ECWd)

Once again we must look to official records to inform the voters of inconsistencies and misleading information made by those running for office. In this case, Jim Acklin, former St. Joe-Ogden School superintendent. A recent video released by Liberty Principles PAC exposed serious concerns regarding sexual abuse by a former SJO teacher that actually was convicted and is now a registered sex offender.

For clarity, watching the video released on the matter below, then reading and watching Acklins responses, followed with reading the court documents you can come up with your own determination regarding what appears to be very clear troubling issues with this candidate and his claims.

What Acklin called facts, as exposed in this recent article, simply are not facts.

A written response to the above video hit the wires in less than 12 hours.  Below is our Fact Check of Acklin’s claims to include direct links to documents supporting our reporting.

Acklin – claimed fact: “Jim Acklin’s Record of Keeping Students Safe  -ST. JOSEPH— Upon release of a low rate smear of longtime school administrator, coach, and teacher Jim Acklin, it is important to set the record straight about lies being told by the desperate and despicable Halbrook campaign.”

Fact – Halbrook campaign had nothing to do with the video exposing matters of serious importance to the voters.  Acklin lied in his so-called “Fact Check” and we first exposed that in this article.  If Acklin is willing to lie about a political ad’s origination, can you trust him to not lie about other matters?

Acklin – claimed fact: “As soon as Jon Jamison was accused of wrongdoing, he was removed from the classroom. “(Jamison) was placed on administrative leave…(and) was sent home that day.”   “The first priority here at St. Joseph-Ogden High School has always been and will always be the safety of our students,” said Acklin, who said he was first made aware of the allegations late Monday afternoon. -News-Gazette, 2/8/2012″

Fact: There is so much evidence that proves his statement to be untruthful, it is concerning.  Facts prove he was accused of wrongdoing in 2008.  In fact, as outlined below in more detail, the sexual abuser was told future similar activity would lead to dismissal.

Did he forget what really happened, or simply mislead the public?  You can read ALL the records of the court case at these links, here, here, here, here, here, here, here (disturbing reading), here, and here to get a better grasp of the whole story. We will highlight some bullet points from those documents to make our point.

From Page 8 of the complaint – On February 6, 2008, Brooks and Acklin met with Jamison concerning the allegations of Jamison’s conduct with JANE DOE-1. During that meeting, Brooks and Acklin:
a. instructed Jamison to remove all students from his MySpace page;
b. instructed Jamison not to allow any more students access to his
MySpace page;
c. informed Jamison that his conduct was not in his best interest;
d. informed Jamison that “if anything else came up regarding this
circumstance or similar to these issues,” he would be dismissed.

So the records show he in fact knew of inappropriate behavior in 2008.  Inappropriate because he gave specific corrective measures and warnings to the now convicted sexual abuser.

He acknowledges the actions of the accused coach were “not in his best interest”.  Interesting he took that position instead of citing what was in the best interest of a child.  Considering he also acknowledges any other circumstance or similar issues would lead to his dismissal, one could argue Acklin gave him a chance to stop his improper behavior.  It appears that decision was wrong, as a child ended up getting sexually abused.

Acklin – claimed fact:Acklin was never accused of any failure to report Jamison’s activity.”

Fact: Page 8 of the complaint reports“Uphoff, Brooks, and Acklin failed to further investigate complaints against Jamison for sexual harassment and/or sexual grooming and/or sexual abuse of his female students and failed to make mandated reports.

So you see, he was in fact accused of failure to report Jamison’s ActivityHis statement to the contrary is simply a lie and the court record proves it!

In fact, on page 28 he was accused of failing to report not once but twice.  (See Page 28 of the court record)

James Acklin WAS accused of not reporting Jamison’s activity!

 Acklin- claimed fact: “There is precedence for criminal charges being filed against school administrators who do not report allegations of sexual abuse to DCFS.  “Former Urbana school Superintendent Gene Amberg…(is) charged with one count of failing to make a mandated report.” -News-Gazette, 8/22/2008 Jim Acklin never faced charges.”

Fact: There is precedence for criminal charges being filed.  Considering the record reports multiple failures to report by several people, Acklin included, we can only wonder why no one was charged with failure to report.  It’s clear from the record, they knew a problem existed and even warned the now convicted sexual abuser to not allow any more similar acts to take place and that if he did, he would be dismissed.  Was this a case that if they charged one they would have to charge two others, thus stripping the school of its Superintendent & Principal?   Sadly we will never know, but at least now you have records you can read for yourself to better decide what to believe.

Acklin – claimed fact: “Acklin was never found liable for any civil wrongdoing. Jim Acklin was fully released of any “derivative claims associated with the alleged acts of Jon Jamison” and continued to deny any misconduct. The suit was settled for $6,500, a level many experts consider a “nuisance” suit.”

Fact:  That is correct.  A settlement offer was agreed to and an interesting part of that settlement needs to be known.  “Plaintiff also further acknowledges and agrees that settlement is made to avoid the expense in time and money of’ further litigation and for the purpose of judicial economy.” 

Was this a case where a sexually abused child who finally saw her abuser convicted simply could no longer afford the costs of pursuing further civil action and just wanted to get on with her life?  The language of the offer seems to indicate as much.  The fact that no court ever found Acklin liable does not mean he did nothing wrong.

Acklin statement: “Within minutes of being informed by the sheriff’s office of the pending arrest, (which was February 7, 2012), I called the teacher into my office, I suspended him, I banned him from school property, and I took immediate steps to ensure he would never teach again, not only at SJO, but anywhere, ever.”

Fact: In 2008, 4 years prior, records reflect Acklin outlining this same teacher’s conduct was not in his best interest and further similar activities would lead to his dismissal.  Sadly, by not taking steps in the best interest of the child, a child was sexually abused.

Citing action taken after the police notify you of an impending arrest is hardly a sign of leadership in most people’s opinion.

From the record: “Board -Policy 5 90 refers to St Joseph-Ogden District’s written policy written policy 5 90 entitled Abused and neglected Child reporting, which prior to December 19, 201, stated in relevant part “Any District employee who suspects or receives knowledge that a student may be an abused or neglected child shall immediately report such a case to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services“.  (See page 7 of court records – pages 8-13 MOST disturbing)

Reading of the records it sure appears their own policy was not followed.

We urge the voters to take the time and read ALL the records on this matter and educate themselves on all the information pertaining to this horrific event that impacted a young girl and other’s lives.

An informed electorate is the only solution to fixing the laundry list of problems we face with our local government.  Again, we urge you to review all of the information and make an informed decision when you cast your ballot in the upcoming election.

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State Rep Candidates Jim Acklin and Randy Peterson would impose FOIA fee to access public documents –


During a recent “Meet the Candidates” night in Paris, Illinois, Candidates for the 102nd State Representative District were asked if they would support or oppose a fee to access public records thru the Freedom Of Information Act.

Brad Halbrook, Jim Acklin, and Randy Peterson were present.

Brad Halbrook stated he would oppose any fee for public records because the public has already paid for those records and there needs to be more accountability.

Both Acklin and Peterson stated they would not oppose such a fee, meaning they do in fact support charging the public for records they already own by law and have already paid for.

History has shown us that a sure sign of hiding things from the public is making them pay for information that should be provided without charge.

Watch below:

Complete video here:

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In sexual misconduct suit, state rep candidate said female student was responsible for relationship with teacher –


Legislative candidate Jim Acklin of Ogden countered a former high school student’s sexual misconduct suit against the school district he once led by blaming her.

“Plaintiff was under a duty to use care and caution for her own safety and well being” while at St. Joseph-Ogden High School, lawyers for then-superintendent Acklin and the district school board argued in 2012.

They argued that the student, then a 15 year old freshman, concealed facts from school officials and deceived them when they asked about her relationship with high school coach Jon Jamison.

They held her responsible for most or all of the negligence that harmed her.

Acklin and the district won the case in Champaign County circuit court in 2014, arguing that Jamison passionately kissed and caressed, but did not have sexual intercourse with the student.

“The dissimilarity between kissing and having some sort of oral contact with or penetration of the sex organs is self evident,” they argued.

Circuit judge Jeffrey Ford agreed that under Illinois Code, “None of the alleged acts by the plaintiff fit the definitions of sexual conduct or sexual penetration.”

The school district settled the claims for $6,500.

Meanwhile, in a case involving another student, Jamison pled guilty to a charge of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a victim between ages 13 and 18.

While the lawsuit brought by Jane Doe received widespread media attention when it was filed, the responses of Acklin’s and the school board’s did not. The Record reviewed the entire case file on Feb. 21 and 22.

Acklin currently seeks the Republican nomination for State Representative in the 102nd District, which includes Paris, Shelbyville, Sullivan, and Tuscola.

According to a Champaign News-Gazette article on Jamison’s arrest in February 2012, Acklin once coached Jamison on the high school cross country team. In Danville Commercial-News, an announcement of Jamison’s Dec. 2005 wedding identified Acklin as a groomsman and his son, John Acklin, as ring bearer.

Jamison’s wife divorced him after his arrest.

The civil lawsuit

In May 2012, lawyers Thomas Bruno and Dennis Mickunas of Champaign sued the district and Acklin on behalf of “Jane Doe.”

“Jamison was incompetent, unfit, and dangerous for employment,” they wrote.

They also named as defendants Chad Uphoff, St. Joseph-Ogden High School principal in 2006-07, and Brian Brooks, the school’s principal in 2007-08.

The suit claimed that Uphoff and Brooks investigated allegations by another girl’s parent, but didn’t report them as required by law to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).

Attorney Mike DeBartolo of LaGrange, who has represented school districts for 16 years, said that if credible evidence of abuse, neglect or sexual assault are presented to school officials those must be reported to the DCFS.

He said that while judgment calls are made in these situations, it is better to “err on the side of caution” when allegations are made, not only to protect interests of the school, but more importantly to protect the student.

“If they truly think it didn’t happen or there was an ax to grind, you better be on solid ground,” DeBartolo said.

He also said that because the record shows that Acklin had a personal relationship with Jamison, he should have recused him from making any determination about the credibility of Doe’s accusations.

“He should have handed it off,” he said.

According to Doe’s attorneys, Acklin, Uphoff and Brooks concealed the allegations from students and parents.

In the suit, they wrote that Jamison flirted with Jane Doe, sent her suggestive messages and made suggestive calls, kissed her passionately, and rubbed her thigh. He was also accused of providing Doe with alcohol and that he drank with her more than once.

Brooks confronted Jane Doe, then age 15, and she . . . continue reading at the Madison Record (HERE) . . .



State Rep Candidate Randy Peterson – The do-nothing county party chairman –


When you look at people and how they conduct themselves in their quest for political power, you must take into consideration the actions from their past that may reflect on how they will act once elected.

When we look at candidate Randy Peterson, we clearly see someone who has done absolutely nothing since he became the Edgar County Republican Party Chairman.

He has held no meetings of his own accord (except once to recommend a county board appointment and advertising). There was a meeting a couple months ago, but I scheduled that one, sent out the email blast, and contacted the speakers. He refused to answer emails, phone calls, and text messages about the meeting.

There have been virtually no other meetings in the almost two years since he became the republican party chairman in Edgar County.

The Lincoln Day Dinner from last year was a complete disgrace, with most likely the lowest number of attendees in Edgar County Republican Party history.

Peterson failed to even schedule a Christmas Party for this past year. What a piece of work!

There is no Lincoln Day Dinner scheduled yet for this year, if there will ever be one scheduled.

To top that off, just incase he has been working behind the scenes in his own county – One measure of success at the local level could be based on how many Precinct Committeeman are running for office? In Edgar County, of the 31 Precincts, only 11 have anyone running as Precinct Committeeman. Of those 11, 1 is Peterson and 2 are Watchdogs. For those lousy numbers, he is a failure.

He actively campaigned for Democrat Party candidates over those in his own party during the last election cycle.

More on Peterson: here.
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Randy Peterson photo from his facebook

Appellate Court Oral Arguments rescheduled for John Kraft v. Arcola Twp. –


Edited to correct date…

The Appellate Court Fourth Judicial District has rescheduled John Kraft v. Arcola Township on its calendar for Oral Argument on March 9, 2016, at 10:oo a.m. in Springfield, IL.

These are the cases coming out of Douglas County Circuit Court and appealed by John Kraft.

They are Illinois Freedom Of Information Act cases.

See page 4 (below).

Download (PDF, 114KB)

4thAppIL (WinCE)

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


Appellate Court Oral Arguments set for John Kraft v. Arcola Twp. –

Arcola, IL. (ECWd) –

UPDATE: December 3, 2015 @ 1835
Hearings and arguments were postponed due to an emergency within the Appellate District Court.
Will update when rescheduled…


The Appellate Court Fourth Judicial District has set John Kraft v. Arcola Township on its calendar for Oral Argument on December 2, 2015, at 9:oo a.m. in Springfield, IL.

These are the cases coming out of Douglas County Circuit Court and appealed by John Kraft.

They are Illinois Freedom Of Information Act cases.

Download (PDF, 110KB)

4thAppIL (WinCE)

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…


Gov. Rauner

Brad Halbrook


State Rep Candidate Randy Peterson’s DUI was more than twice the legal limit –

Paris, IL. (ECWd) –

The reporting on Randy Peterson’s candidacy by the News-Gazette, which reported Peterson’s ’03 DUI arrest as having “a preliminary blood test said he had a blood alcohol content of 0.156, as detected by a portable breath alcohol test device”  while it may be factually true, the complete truth of the DUI conviction was that Peterson’s BAC was actually 0.162, or more than twice the legal limit.

This is an important distinction, in that some people may have thought it was just a little over the limit and should be dismissed as not important, however, with more than twice the legal limit – it shows just how irresponsible he was to think he could get hammered and drive home while risking the lives of everyone else on the road. Other observations of the arresting officer were: “Driving completely in wrong lane of travel, red-watery eyes, strong odor of alcohol, mumbled speech, failed all field sobriety tests…

So, if Peterson has “learned from his mistakes” and it is “all in his past” maybe he should insist on accurate reporting.

I sent the News-Gazette reporter a copy of the actual ticket and BAC printout the day after the article was posted, but it doesn’t appear he made any attempt at correcting his story.




Brad Halbrook Announces Candidacy for the 102nd House District

For Immediate Release Contact: Mark Shelden

September 23, 2015 217-493-8543

Brad Halbrook, former State Representative and Republican from Shelbyville, will be announcing his intention to be a candidate for the 102nd State Representative District at a series of press availabilities and events on Thursday, September 24, 2015. His seven county schedule is as follows.

9:00 Paris

Paris City Hall, 206 S Central Avenue, Paris

10:00 Sidell

Sonny’s Cafe, 302 N Gray St, Sidell

10:45 Tolono

Tolono Township Building, 111 E Holden, Tolono

11:45 Tuscola

Douglas County Courthouse, 401 S Center, Tuscola

12:30 Arcola

Village of Arcola, 114 N Locust, Arcola

2:00 Macon

Bullet Trap, 279 N Front St., Macon

3:00 Sullivan

Moultrie County Courthouse, 10 S Main St, Sullivan

4:00 Shelbyville

Shelby County Courthouse, 301 E Main St, Shelbyville

Randy Peterson is interested in Rep. Adam Brown’s seat –

According to The Southern Illinoisan article published yesterday, which matches a text message I received from Peterson last Friday, he stated is is planning on running for the State Rep seat at the next election.

Peterson is quoted as sayingWhile its a scary time in Springfield, I feel as though I am ready to try and tackle some of the state’s problems

Now that’s a scary thought, Peterson “tackling” the state’s problems…

To me, it is hard to believe a person can be any help with the state’s problems when he cannot even tackle local problems. Since becoming the Edgar County Republican Chair, he has held absolutely no meetings. Previously we held meetings once a month. Since his chairmanship? ZERO. The last Lincoln Day Dinner was a disgrace with only about 30 people there. He can’t even garner support for a Lincoln Day Dinner in his home county. Is that a reflection of the amount of support he has in Edgar County?

So once again, if he cannot even conduct party business in Edgar County when he is supposedly in charge, how can anyone ever expect him to do anything good in Springfield?

For the record, I asked him to reconsider his decision to seek office.


Randy Peterson – pic taken from Facebook

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                                                       

“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.



Rep. Reggie Phillips

Rep. Adam Brown confirms he won’t seek another term –

Springfield, IL. (ECWd) –

We have heard rumors of this for a little over a week, and according to CapitolFax, in a post yesterday, they state they have confirmed that State Representative Adam Brown (R), Champaign, will not seek another term in office. He says he intends to take over operations of the family’s six-generation farming operations.

The 102nd District covers parts of Champaign, Douglas, Edgar, Macon, Moultrie, Shelby and Vermilion Counties.

This was unusual for an announcement to come this early in the election season, which leaves us to wonder if Brown intends to serve out the remainder of his term or resign early and have a replacement appointed.

Much more to come as this situation unfolds…


IL. State Rep. Adam Brown

Arthur Park District voted to rescind all board member privileges –


At its most recent meeting, the Arthur Park District placed on its agenda an action item to rescind Board Member Privileges.

I wrote about how the idea of offering an “incentive” to serve on the park board was approved in November of 2014 and laid out in detail how these so-called incentives were in violation of established law in this article (here).

At the meeting, the district did what they should have done, and voted to approve rescinding all board member privileges. Basically, they voted to follow the law.

We thank them for doing the right thing as it pertains to this matter!

Now if we could just get the rest of Illinois’ park districts and community colleges to follow this example we all might be a little better off.

IMG_162265558749 (WinCE)

Newman, IL. resident apprehended after high-speed two-state chase –

Vermillion Co., IN. (ECWd) –

News Release:

June 16, 2015

Vermillion County Indiana Deputies Nick Hall and Dan Whallon responded to I-74 to assist Illinois officers with a vehicle pursuit that was initiated in Belgium Illinois.

A red 1998 Chevy Blazer driven by Bobby Joe Crippin (37) (picture here) of Newman, IL fled police after an attempted traffic stop on Rt 1 in Belgium when he failed to stop for officers. The vehicle pursuit then turned eastbound on I-74 crossing into Indiana. Speeds were in excess of 90 mph with Illinois officers still in pursuit. Crippin then swerved to attempt to hit a officer at the 3 mile marker before crossing the median at the 5.5 mile marker in an attempt to allude officers. Crippin then side swiped a westbound semi, driven by David Estep of Kenova Wayne, WV causing minor damage to the semi. The Blazer then spun out coming to rest facing eastbound in the westbound lanes of the Wabash River Bridge.

Crippin and his passenger, Chelsea L Bollman (21) (picture here) of Urbana, IL both fled on foot before being apprehended by Illinois authorities.

Crippin was taken to Union Hospital Clinton for treatment of minor injuries. Bollman declined treatment.

Crippin and Bollman were both booked into the Vermillion County Jail on local charges from the incident.

Bobby Joe Crippin: Resisting Law Enforcement (Vehicle), Leaving the Scene of a Property Damage Accident, Reckless Driving, and Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated (Drugs).

Chelsea L Bolman: Resisting Law Enforcement.

Vermillion Circuit Court Judge has set bond at $25k cash each.

Further charges may be pending on both upon the completion of the investigation.

Assisting at the scene, Vermillion County Drug Task Force,Fountain County Sheriff’s Office, Covington Police Department, Perrysville Fire Department, Vermillion County EMS, and Several Illinois Law Enforcement Agencies.

*Under the Law, criminal charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

VermCoINsheriff (WinCE)

Arthur Park District – Commissioners get Free Lifetime Park Pass…

Arthur, IL. (ECWd) –

In a disgusting move, an Arthur Park District Commissioner that was not going to run for office again decided that he needed “compensated” for his past service as Commissioner by motioning to award all “retiring” commissioners free lifetime passes to all park district properties.

In the October 2014 meeting minutes is this paragraph:

General Subject Matter:  Marvin presented the board with a proposal that would issue a lifetime park pass to all retired board members.  Since the role of park commissioner is unpaid this would offer an incentive for people to run and show appreciation to those that do serve.

So on  one hand they acknowledge Commissioners are “unpaid” – but then since one of them is “retiring” they think it is OK to offer an “incentive”.

Where is the disconnect between “shall act as such without compensation” and claiming incentives are not compensation? We have written on this issue in the past with the Clark County Park District (here), the Naperville Park District (here, here, and here), and now this one.

Compensation is anything received, based on the position of commissioner, that the ordinary citizen or taxpayer does not receive. So if they have say, ink pens used for advertising that they give out to everyone, then the commissioners can also receive one. That’s how it works.

In the November 2014 meeting minutes is this paragraph:

Retired Park Board Member Benefit:  Marvin approached the board about providing retiring board members a lifetime park pass.  He explained that this will be a nice incentive for becoming a board member and a nice thank you for those that have served.   Marvin made a motion to approve this benefit for all retiring park board members from here on out.  Dan seconded the motion, all in favor.  M/C. 

Wow, isn’t that sweet…it’s always nice when you can give away other people’s money isn’t it? Why these people think they are entitled to anything is beyond comprehension – they should be locked up.

While I respect the desire to serve on a park district board, I fail to respect the receipt of compensation for doing so when the law is so clear a 10 year old could understand it.

A park district board cannot grant privileges and “incentives” that they are not allowed by law to grant. They cannot provide compensation, or deferred compensation, when it is specifically prohibited in the Park District Code.

If they were somehow “unaware” that they could not do this, then they can easily place it on the next meeting agenda and cancel all of the freebee park passes and other “incentives”. Failure to do that is Official Misconduct [720 ILCS 5/33-3 (a)(2) , 33-3(a) (3), and 33-3(c)], a violation of the Park District Code Section 4.1, and a violation of the Illinois Constitution Article VIII Section 1 (a).


65558749 (WinCE)





Arcola Township’s $11,273.85 in legal bills –


This was forwarded to me from Bloomington, Illinois and is Arcola Township’s response to copies of all legal invoices for 2013 and 2014.

Here is what I found:

Total amount invoiced was $11,273.85

The overwhelming majority was for fighting against Freedom of Information Act requests.

Residents of Arcola Township should call their township officials and tell them they appreciate their efforts at keeping public records secret – but rest assured, it won’t last forever.

The really sad part of this is that the Township could have simply provided what was requested, and provided it to the person that requested it. Simple moves like that could have saved the Township over $10,000.00.

But what do they do instead? They lie to Chapin Rose (HERE), lie to Judge Lincoln (HERE), lie to Judge Broch (HERE), then they continue to fight it in court, and they also help push a failed attempt at changing the FOIA law, to somehow try and make FOIA requesters pay for the public records by adding a “voluminous requester” provision in it…and even though the legislature passed the amendment to FOIA, it failed because the same people exempted under “recurrent requester” are likewise exempted under “voluminous requester” – which happens to be us and other news media organizations.

That amendment put the screws to you, the typical citizen requesting public records, and you will pay dearly for them if you ask for too many.

Download (PDF, 405KB)

Arcola Township Supervisor lies to Sen. Chapin Rose and Rep. Adam Brown –


That’s right, Mr. John G. (Corky) Clark sent a letter to Illinois State Senator Chapin Rose and Illinois State Representative Adam Brown in which he proceeded to fabricate, misstate, exaggerate, or what we would simply call: LIE.

He starts out complaining about the “great hardship”  dealing with us while failing to mention their refusal to provide public records when requested.

He stated that Kirk Allen and I had sent 40-plus FOIA requests (as of the date of the letter), which is another lie. I guess if their attorney can lie to a Judge (article here), Corky Clark figured he could just make the number bigger and lie to Chapin Rose and Adam Brown.

He then tries to tie our FOIA requesting with some TIF extension that we were not even aware of, let alone attempting to help extend, since the example of TIF expenditures provided in our own local town of Paris, Illinois is enough to sour anyone on the prospect of TIF districts. So, lie number 3 in his attempt at connecting us with some “local group” promoting TIF.

Next he states the Township had to hire an attorney, even though the attorney lied to a different Judge claiming to be an employee already (article here). They didn’t hire an attorney, they already had one on a contractual basis (meaning not an employee).

Clark also states they do their “level best” to comply with FOIA requests and no matter what they send we are not satisfied. This is laughable at best, since they are still covering up their theft of public credit. I suggest they actually send the public records asked for, and to quit attempting to re-phrase a request for records as a question, then denying it based on being a question. Oh, and he forgets this attorney has stated that “transparency is a ridiculous word” when referencing FOIA and public records.

Then he shows his absolute ignorance of the law when he claims it is simply a scheme by us to make money. Mr. Clark, there is no money to be made in suing for public records and we would be happy if you would simply provide the records requested.

For the record, one of our first articles (here) on Arcola Township shows how the Township Secretary used the Township credit card to purchase fuel on a four state Harley-Davidson cruise, on a holiday weekend – which is felony misapplication of public funds and a Constitutional violation (Article VIII, Section 1(a)). Theft is a better name for it.

In a future article, I will show all of the invoices from Mark Petty to the township so everyone can see just how much money this township has spent since early in 2013 trying to avoid producing public records…and it is not over yet.

Download (PDF, 90KB)


Arcola Twp FOIA cases and Appellate Appeals –


Last week Mr. Mark Petty, attorney for the Township of Arcola, submitted a statement to the Arcola newspaper regarding FOIA cases and their appeal.

He claims that the appeal was dismissed, which is technically correct, however, he failed to mention that it was only one of the four cases and was dismissed solely because the township had filed a motion for attorney fees in the case which meant the Circuit Court decision was not yet a final appealable decision. That hearing was held on March 5, 2015, ruled and is now a final appealable decision. I was sanctioned $441.00 for improper service of subpoena.

That case, 2013_MR-53 will once again be appealed to the Appellate Court.

The article implies that all four cases were rejected, which is not the case. There are still three other cases (2014-MR-16, 17, and 20) for appeal at the Appellate Court – all related to the Freedom Of Information Act. This will once again make the fourth case.


Arcola Township Attorney Mark Petty caught lying to Judge Lincoln in Douglas County Court –

Arcola, IL. (ECWd) –

Once again, the Arcola Township attorney has lied to the Court during a Hearing. This time it was to Judge Lincoln prior to his retirement.

On May 6, 2014, during one of the FOIA suit hearings on Kraft v Arcola Township, case no: 2014-MR-53, Petty was trying to explain why the Township cannot follow the law in relation to the Freedom of Information Act, and he stated as fact that “This gentleman sent 30 requests to Arcola Township.” It appeared that Judge Lincoln was a little surprised by this statement and asked “How many?!“, and Petty repeated that lie by restating “Thirty.

This “exchange of ideas” is found on page 45 of the official transcript (below).

Knowing that to be a lie, later that day I counted the FOIA requests I had sent to Arcola Township since my very first one around April of 2013 – – and the total was 18 requests in a 13 month time-frame – FAR short of the 30 requests that Petty lied to the Court about.

To top that off, just in case I missed some here or there when counting, Kirk Allen requested a copy of every FOIA request I had sent to Arcola Township (just the request – not the responsive documents). Their answer? “We have no documents responsive to that question!

So, not only did Petty lie to the Judge during the hearing, Arcola Township lied when they responded to Kirk’s FOIA request – because we know that have a copy of at least the one I was in court about, even if they threw all the others in the trash.

This appears to be a pattern of behavior with Petty. He is taking advantage of his situation, artificially enhancing his representation, and running the risk of impeachment or otherwise being found not credible.

Previous article on his “not so truthful” ways:

Download (PDF, 170KB)

Attorney Mark Petty lied to Judge Broch in Douglas County Court –

Douglas, Co. IL. (ECWd) –

During the December 16, 2014 hearings on FOIA cases against Arcola Township, I was making the argument that Mr. Petty was not authorized by law to respond to a FOIA requester since he was not an “employee or officer” of the Township of Arcola. One requirement in the Freedom of Information Act, is that the FOIA Officers for a public body must be an “employee or officer” of that public body [5 ILCS 140/3.5(a)]. Additionally, the FOIA officer is the person that has to respond to the requester.

After my presentation to the Court, Mr. Petty stated to the Judge that he was an employee of the Township and had been an employee for more than 15 years, see page 10, line 10 of the below transcript. Judge Broch believed his lie and found that he was an employee of the Township, see page 12 line 19, without any further proof other than his statement.

What Petty is, is a contracted service provider, providing legal services to the Township.

Just to show that Petty must not understand FOIA, I challenged a different public body’s attorney when he initially made similar claims in reference to FOIA requests. His answer was the correct answer, and stated:

Mr. Kraft,
…Because I am an outside attorney, not a village employee or officer, I am not authorized to receive FOIA requests on behalf of the Village.  That’s why my name was not shown on the list of FOIA officers.

So there are some honest ones out there, just not the one from Arcola…

Download (PDF, 110KB)


Notice of Appeal Filed in Arcola Township FOIA Suits –


A Notice of Appeal to the Appellate Court has been filed in the four FOIA suits that were decided in Douglas County on December 16, 2014 (that article here).

On January 14, 2015, our attorney file a Notice of Appeal (circuit court docket here) requesting “that all orders be reversed that were entered on the complaints arising under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 ILCS 140/1, et seq., each entitled Complaint for Declaratory Judgment and Injunctive Relief and that the causes be remanded for further proceedings consistent with rulings by the Appellate Court.”

We are currently waiting further instructions and docketing by the Appellate Court.

Download (PDF, 14KB)



Attorney Mark T. Petty lies in letter to the press –

Arcola, IL. (ECWd) –

In a letter sent to some members of the press, in what appears to be an attempt at gloating about their recent “win” in Circuit Court, Arcola Township’s attorney, Mr. Mark T. Petty of Petty Law Office, failed to tell the truth.

According to the Paris Beacon News, Mr. Petty stated that “the trial judge made a decision on each count at the close of the plaintiff’s case holding that the plaintiff had failed to furnish adequate evidence that the Township had acted inappropriately“. That statement could not be more wrong.

The decision was that the judge determined that I did not provide evidence that I had ever submitted a FOIA request to the Township. I believe it to be an inappropriate decision and not based on established precedent. The Illinois Supreme Court, way back in 1945 (and again in 1988), stated that there is no higher evidence of truth, then a defendant’s admission of a specific fact alleged in a complaint.

That is what happened in three of these cases, I alleged in one of the allegations in each case that I submitted a FOIA request to the township, the township affirmed my allegation in their answer to the complaint. Unfortunately, this judge did not see it that way.

Undisputed truths need not be argued, nor additional proof given, and can be used in trial. These cases did not evolve to the point where arguments on the actions of Arcola Township were heard, let alone any arguments that they acted inappropriately.  All four of these cases will be appealed to the Appellate Court and I am confident I will prevail in the end. I simply ask that the Beacon News report on it when the Appellate Court rules on it.

I published an article on these Court decisions the day after they happened, you can read it here.

There are still three more cases against Arcola Township that have yet to be heard, and like I have said before – they sure are spending tons of money to keep public records hidden from the public.


Arcola Twp FOIA Suit Updates – 12-16-2014 –


A temporary blow was dealt to Plaintiff Kraft in Douglas County Circuit Court yesterday with the FOIA lawsuits against Arcola Township.

In a Directed Verdict in 2013-MR-53, the Court ruled in favor of Arcola Township, claiming that Plaintiff had failed to establish evidence.

In a Directed Verdict for 2014-MR-16, 17, and 20, the Court ruled in favor of Arcola Township, claiming Kraft had failed to establish evidence that he had ever even submitted a FOIA request to the township.

Plaintiff is considering a Motion to Reconsider, or in the alternative, an Appeal of the verdict.

Much more information will be provided when a decision is made.

There are still three more unresolved FOIA suits pending: 2014-MR-33, 34, and 56.

Seventh FOIA Suit Filed Against Arcola Township –


Once again, failure to follow the Freedom of Information Act, failure to provide responsive public records to the person requesting the records.

This is the 7th FOIA civil suit against Arcola Township.

You can read it below, but the main problem is that Arcola Township thinks they can do as they please, the law be damned.

Enjoy, and if you are an Arcola Township taxpayer, remember, YOU are paying for this with your property taxes.

This is a prime example for the need of criminal penalties for violations.


Download (PDF, 794KB)




Update on the Six Arcola Township FOIA lawsuits…


Since December is almost upon us, and the Hearing/Trial date is on December 16, 2014 for case numbers: 2013-MR-53, and 2014-MR-16, 17, and 20, I thought I would provide an update on how things have been progressing so far. (click here for all Arcola Township articles)

As you may remember, these were all consolidated and can be viewed here on There has been a Motion for Protective Order filed in relation to production of documents requested by Defendant.

A Motion of Summary Judgment was filed by me in 2014-MR-16Arcola replied to it – I responded to Arcola’s reply.

In case number 2014-MR-34, (click here for complaint) I have filed a Motion to Disqualify (with memorandum in support) defendant’s attorney, and also filed a Motion for Protective Order in response to defendant’s request for production of documents. Additionally, defendant filed an answer to the complaint, and I filed a response to their answer. There is no hearing date set yet, by I am trying to get it scheduled on December 16 also.

In case number 2014-MR-33, there have been several documents filed: complaint, defendant answer to complaint, defendant’s request for production of documents, and plaintiff response to defendant answer.  No hearing date scheduled at this time.

We still believe we will prevail against Arcola Township’s attempts at keeping public records from the public. When these cases are finished we will calculate the actual cost to Arcola Township residents and make sure they are fully aware of how their money has been spent.



Arcola Twp FOIA suit update – 9-26-2014…


On Friday, September 26, 2014 there was a hearing for all motions on five of the six Freedom of Information Act civil suits against Arcola Township.

Here is a quick run-down on the results of the hearing:

2014-MR-33  –  Motion for additional time to answer granted

2014-MR-16  –  Additional time granted to defendant to answer Plaintiff Motion for Summary Judgment 21 days to answer plus 21 days to respond

2013-MR-53  –  Pl Meet and Confer Conference stricken – Def Motion for Sanctions denied (non-compliance reserved for ruling) – Def Motion to Compel Production denied – Def demand for document production partially denied and partially granted (must produce within 28 days) – Def Motion to Quash subpoenas granted and Sanctions against use of material obtained granted and he reserved a ruling on the Cost to prepare document on the subpoenas.  Judge gave them 15 days to prepare a written summary of costs

2014-MR-16, 17, 20, and 2013-MR-53 Set for Hearing on all matters (trial) for December 16, 2014

2014-MR-34  –  Motion to consolidate not considered this date