COD Motions for Interlocutory Appeal v. Breuder –

DuPage Co., IL. (ECWd) –

On March 17, 2017, the College of DuPage filed a 9-page Motion to Certify For Interlocutory Appeal the denial of the College’s Motion to Dismiss on the basis that Dr. Breuder’s contract was void ab initio.

The core issues identified for appeal involve important issues of Illinois state law. Hopefully, the trial court will grant this motion and allow the US Court of Appeals to more fully analyze Illinois State statutes, Illinois Common Law and hopefully reverse those portions of the trial court ruling which were adverse to COD.

They asked the Court three questions:

  1. Whether, under Illinois law, a board of trustees can tie the hands of future boards to hire or fire an administrator;
  2. Whether, under Illinois law, a board of trustees can enter into an employment agreement requiring all board members’ presence at a termination hearing and a supermajority to vote to terminate: and
  3. Whether, under Illinois law, a Board can agree to extend an employment agreement based entirely on action taken in closed session.

We had already voiced our opinions on these questions long before any lawsuit was filed, and they are that:

  • Unless the legislature specifically permitted contracts extending beyond the board’s tenure, they cannot be valid. An example of Legislative permission is a Water District Director, who can contract for 5 years according to the Water District Code – there are others, but we will use this one.
  • Unless the Legislature specifically stated that all board members must be present and a supermajority vote required to terminate, the contract is invalid. An example of this is the Water District Code again, where the Legislature requires a unanimous vote of all board members to terminate a Director of a Water District.
  • Actions taken in closed session are voidable according to the Illinois Open Meetings Act and you cannot contract around the OMA’s requirements.

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Update: Lisle Woman Accused of Forging Petitions for Seat on College of DuPage Board of Trustees

DuPage Co., IL. (ECWd) –

Press Release

Contact Information: Media Coordinator: 630-407-8160

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Lisle Woman Accused of Forging Petitions for Seat on COD Board of Trustees

      DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert B. Berlin announced today that Rafath Waheed, 61 (d.o.b. 7/21/1955) of 6193 Hickory Drive, Lisle, has been charged with submitting forged petitions to earn a seat on the College of DuPage (COD) Board of Trustees. On March 14, 2017, a $10,000 with 10% to apply arrest warrant was issued for Waheed. Last night, Waheed turned herself in to authorities and was released after posting the necessary $1,000, or 10%, of her $10,000 bond.

It is alleged prior to December 19, 2016, Waheed collected signatures on petitions for her to apply as a candidate for the COD Board of Trustees. It is further alleged that at some point in time, Waheed made photocopies of two completed signature portions of the petitions and then completed the candidate information by hand. It is further alleged that she then notarized those petitions as authentic. It is alleged that Waheed then filed these petitions, along with the originals, with the proper COD authorities. Her alleged scheme was uncovered during a hearing on an objection that was filed against her petitions.

“The bedrock of our entire system of government is free and fair elections,” Berlin said. “It is alleged that Mrs. Waheed, in an effort to win a seat on the COD Board of Trustees, attempted to circumvent one of the basic requirements for candidacy – filing petitions with the correct number of authentic signatures. I would like to thank investigator Jim Duffy as well as Assistant State’s Attorney Diane Michalak for their work on this case.”

In all, Waheed is charged with two counts of Forgery, two counts of Issuing a Forged Document and four counts of Perjury. All offenses are a Class 3 Felony.

Waheed’s next court appearance is scheduled for April 12, 2017, in front of Judge Liam Brennan.

Members of the public are reminded that this complaint contains only charges and is not proof of the defendant’s guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the government’s burden to prove her or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

DuPage County State’s Attorney Press Release (here)
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UPDATE:

We reported on this incident when it originally happened, to include posting a link to the video of the College of Dupage Electoral Board Hearing.

College of DuPage – Candidate admits photo-copying petitions-blames COD for her failure to comply with law

In the Electoral Board Hearing, Rafath Waheed blamed COD citing, obfuscation of the electoral process” on the part of COD as it relates to her not filing a statement of candidacy. You can see that statement at the 48:40 mark of this video.  For those not familiar with the meaning of the word obfuscation; “the action of making something obscure, unclear, or unintelligible.” 

In addition to blaming the school for her non-compliance, she admitted under oath to being the one who copied petitions and then signed them and had them notarized affirming they were original signatures, which they were not, just as we said in our first article on this.

57:25 of the video is where the information comes to light regarding the copies of petitions being submitted.  The candidate first claims she DID not photocopy them and then when questioned further admits she did and that no one else was given her papers.

After about 30 minutes of creating  excuses and eventually admitting to things she did – made copies of signatures and turned them in, she reads a prepared statement which was her withdrawal from the race. You can watch that starting at the 1:19:04 mark of the video.
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College of DuPage makes history- SLEA Director approved by ILETSB

DuPage Co. (ECWd) –

For the first time in the history of COD, the SLEA Director has been approved by the ILETSB. 

We first reported on the Suburban Law Enforcement Academy at the College of Dupage (COD) as it related to issuing credit hours to academy cadets two years ago.  That issue later became the primary focus of the Higher Learning Commission who later placed COD on Probation as it relates to their accreditation. Our reporting on HLC’s findings can be found here.

Our question for over a year has been, who is in charge and have they been approved. As in, who is the Director of SLEA and have they ever been approved as required by law?  We were unable to get any such approval records from COD even though they had just recently hired a new Director.  Initially, the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board (ILETSB) was also unable to produce any such approvals, even though they are the agency tasked with the obligation of approving all the Directors in our State’s Police Academies.  What was most disturbing was the fact the ILETSB had never approved any Directors and they informed us “we have never done that”.

After writing numerous articles about the ILETSB’s failure in performing their obligations, we once again asked for approval records for the newly hired COD SLEA Director.

Clearly, our FOIA, that pointed to the appropriate Administrative Code, is what forced the ILETSB Executive Director to comply with the law. This is yet another example of how the Freedom of Information Act is a law that is not just about getting copies of records but can trigger a government agency to do the job they are paid to do.   By asking for records that pertain to a public body’s obligations, it brings their statutory obligations to the forefront.

Our first example of this fact was exposed in this article in which our FOIA triggered the same agency, ILETSB, to fulfill their obligations as it related to County Sheriff’s training obligations.

We are pleased to see that the ILETSB finally performed their obligations and provided the mandated approval for the newly hired COD SLEA Director Raymon Cordell.

We have asked for the same approvals for all other Police Academy Directors and hope that those approvals have finally been taken care of.  If they have not, it’s time for resignations at that agency.

Download (PDF, 71KB)

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“Mulchgate” – Claims in Committee Hearing proven false!

DuPage Co. (ECWd) –

Representative Peter Breen testified in support of his wood chip bill on behalf of his constituents a few weeks ago and we now have proof many portions of his testimony was based on either false information and/or in some cases what appear to be outright lies as it relates to the claim his township is spending money getting rid of wood chips.

1:40 mark of the video “What would happen at the end of the season is the township would have to pay a waste hauler to take that pile of wood chips off to a landfill

We filed a Freedom of Information Act request to his Township for a copy of applicable documents to either prove or disprove his testimony which was “that the township would have to pay a waste hauler to take that pile of wood chips off to a landfill. “

Our FOIA

  • A copy of any payments made for the purpose of disposal of wood chips and/or mulch to any landfill in the last 12 months. This would include any payment for trucking, hauling, pickup, delivery, as well as actual payment to the landfill.
  • A copy of any receipt for expenses related to any of the above-referenced payments of landfilling wood chips and/or mulch in the last 12 months.

Their Response

“There are no documents responsive to your request”

That means there have been no payments, contrary to the oral testimony at the hearing!

That fact alone should convince every person in that committee that this bill is not being represented with truth but instead false information. In fact, our findings were so extensive it took two articles to get the information to the public, here and here

Representative Tom Bennett asked Representative Breen the following at the 15:45 mark of the video.

“One other question if I may, you’re saying at the end of the season might be a big pile just sitting there and they pay somebody to take that to somewhere else?

Representative Breen responds:

“I understand, as it was told to me, we are taking it to a landfill, literally having to pay someone to take a large pile of wood chips to a landfill.(15:58 mark of the video)

Representative Breen, you were not told the truth! 

Who ever told this information to Representative Breen needs to be removed from public office.  This state is filled with lying politicians.  When we allow them to lie in order to influence their legislators to legalize their illegal actions it does nothing but degrades our system of government and our trust in our laws & elected officials.

We urge Representative Breen to fact check things he is being told in the future as to avoid further embarrassment of providing false information to the legislative body.  Those who support this behavior with votes for bills based on misinformation and lies are part of the problem in this state.

The fact of the matter is, wood chip delivery has been a long-standing tradition as a means of taking care of those who take care of them, just as we were told.  Those complaints are coming in even more now that we exposed the first two stories on this.   This long long-standing tradition is actually a long-standing statutory violation of law that for reasons we will never understand, has become a hot button for passage.

Why is a certain segment of legislators so eager to legalize this practice for 1432 Townships instead of holding those five townships accountable for violating the law?

Representative Breen closed out his testimony with an opinion based on this false information.

“It’s getting rid of a problem. It’s reducing a cost to the township.” 16:39 mark of the video.

How can it be reducing a cost when his very own township has no record of any costs associated with this so called problem?

The public is tired of manipulation by their elected officials and this bill has all the indicators of yet another Dupage County problem that is going to be thrust on the rest of the state.

I ask, how can anyone vote for this bill when it was based on so many false representations?  We urge this bill be stopped and if you need more info to justify a no vote, just read these two articles here and here.

 

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Why Illinois is in the wood pile: Wood Chips –

Springfield (ECWd) –

Follow the law and be honest, that is all we ask. 

This is the condensed version(LOL) that every legislator in Springfield needs to read regarding the wood chips of DuPage County and the attempt to change one law that will impact the whole state.  The more detailed exposure on this matter can be viewed at this link.

We will highlight the claims provided in a so-called “analysis” for House Bill 2423 which we understand is provided to those who pass our laws.

  • Without distribution options to the public, the township would have to pay for the mulch’s transport to a landfill.

And the Township would have to pay for the mulch’s transport even if this bill passes, just to a different destination so that is not a cost savings. How about you follow the EPA laws in place as it relates to municipal waste?  There are multiple options to the public and as of this reporting, we are not getting ANY feedback on the solutions to this claimed problem of excess wood chips in Townships.

  • Watchdogs oppose and expressed concerns about the potential for graft, providing equal access to residents, and the possibility of lawsuits as a result of this type of public policy.  

May we suggest you simply watch the video to have a true representation as to why we oppose this bill as the above statement left out the most important issue, one of Constitutionality.  We have urged a written opinion on this matter from the Attorney General, yet to date no response from those pushing this bill.  If they are so confident this bill is not allowing public property for private purpose, simply prove us wrong with a written legal opinion from the AG. Is that asking to much?

So why is it that not a single lawyer supporting this bill has taken steps to enforce the laws broken by the activity to include demanding an investigation into the claimed graft that created this mess in the first place?  Yes, the law and Constitution forbid certain actions but what good does that do when you ignore it when exposed to it?

  • The sponsor believes that providing this public benefit is constituted with current local government programs such as rides for seniors and the bill provision would provide the legal standing for the policy.  Current law and the constitution already forbid the potential repercussions described by opponents.

Art. VIII, Sec. 1 of the Constitution of the State of Illinois clearly states, “Public funds, property or credit shall be used only for public purposes.” Ill. Const. 1970, art. VIII, § 1.  What constitutes a legitimate public purpose, however, is often unclear.” It may be impossible to clearly delineate the boundary between what constitutes a legitimate public purpose and a private benefit with no sufficient, legitimate public purpose to support it.” Southwestern Ill. Dev. Auth. v. National City Environmental, 768 N.E.2d 1, 8, 199 Ill.2d 225 (Ill. 2002) “Each case turns on its own facts.” Berman v. Parker, 348 U.S. 26, 32 (1954).

The claimed public purpose is getting rid of municipal waste saves the township money by delivering it free on a first come first serve basis to residents.  The private benefit (residents get free wood chips) is with no sufficient, legitimate public purpose as it only benefits a very limited group of residents.  Does Due Process mean anything anymore?

Attempting to justify the delivery of wood chips by comparing the spending of township money on Seniors is frankly insulting. The well-established laws pertaining to the care of seniors has a well-defined public purpose that meets the constitutional test and we challenge those supporting this bill to provide a “sufficient” and “legitimate” public purpose for delivering their waste product to people of their choosing.

Public purpose on Seniors is well defined.

  • To decrease the sense of isolation and dependence that often accompanies old age.
  • To enrich the social and intellectual life of older adults.
  • To help older adults meet practical problems attendant on aging, such as health, diet, adjustment to changed circumstances, and finances.
  • To help older adults contribute to community well-being as effective and useful citizens.
  • To help persons approaching retirement to appropriately plan for it.
  • To organize community interest in generally improving the climate of living for older adults.

 

  • “Delivering mulch to residents is not specifically banned under current law, but townships have received a legal opinion that they should stop delivery of mulch to local residents because of the lack fo clarity in the law.”

Once again, Illinois is a Dillon’s Rule state, which means you don’t have the legal power to do something unless the legislature gave you such power.  The fact the law does not permit it now, is, in fact, a ban on the practice, which is why they want the law passed!  The legal opinion they speak of was that it was a violation of the Constitution as it was private use of public property.  We know because that is the argument we presented and multiple townships confirmed that is what they were told. One township Highway commissioner even called back and thanked us and then apologized for insisting we were wrong.  He stopped delivering mulch!

  • “Mulch from tree trimmings are currently in large piles so few people come get it, so the township has to both pay to store and then to dispose of the mulch in a landfill.”

Few people come and get it because it is located behind gated, locked, mesh covered fences with a No Trespassing sign.  As far as paying to store?  That is a lie as the pile in York Township is on York Township property, as are most other piles in other townships and we confirmed they DO NOT pay to store it.  We have asked for disposal cost records and instead of turning over the records they have violated FOIA and to date refused to respond to our FOIA related to those records.

  • A township highway commissioner in the sponsors district suggested the bill.

Yep, the same one that is refusing to provide us with the records to prove or disprove the claim of costs associated with getting rid of wood chips.

  • Fiscal Impact – None

None?  Since when does the use of township equipment, which takes fuel, maintenance, and personnel, have no fiscal impact.  Loaders to load the trucks, Trucks to deliver the product, manpower, insurance, etc.  How on earth can an Analysis on a bill claim there is no Fiscal Impact?  Are you starting to understand why Illinois is in the Wood Pile?

  • Five Township Highway Commissioners support the bill

Never mind the 1427 other Highway Commissioners that don’t have the problem those in DuPage County have.

  • IDOT and Illinois MuMunicipaleague are neutral on this bill

Well, isn’t that special.  A Township Government bill and no mention of Township Officials of Illinois.  I was told that they confirmed our Constitutionality concerns and advised the practice stopped.  Does anyone else find it Odd that TOI has not chimed in?

Does anyone else find it odd that no one wants to get a legal opinion from the Attorney General on the Public Purpose question?

This bill is not what Illinois needs.  The information provided to legislatures about this bill is appalling as it is filled with misinformation and out-right fabrications.  I urge you to bury this bill and never let it see the light of day until we get answers to our questions instead of more violations of law by withholding requested records.

 

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Free Wood Chips – No Trespassing!

DuPage Co. (ECWd) –

About a month ago I wrote this article about our legislators passing laws to legalize activity that had been going on in violation of the law.  As was pointed out in #3 of that article, a new bill has been drafted to allow for the delivery of wood chips to residents of the Township which can be viewed at this link.

This bill was generated because we found out wood chips were being delivered to some, but not others, and it was claimed to be political, as in, if you supported the right people, you got wood chips.  Although no one will admit to that accusation, we do know the activity of using public property for personal delivery’s stopped after we brought our Constitutional concerns to the table.  We had been told that multiple township attorneys confirmed the practice was, in fact, use of public property for private purposes, a violation of the Illinois Consitution.

Representative Peter Breen also confirms the practice of government or political graft is already illegal.  Which is why we got involved in the first place.  He states that he is all for uncovering and attacking government and political graft.  Can anyone explain why there has been no call for an investigation into his constituents who may have been involved in such graft?

Of particular interest in this bill is the Policy statement in support of it.

“Section 1. Public policy. It is hereby declared that wood chips, mulch, and other products generated in the act of tree maintenance by a township road district are waste products of no value to the district. It is further declared that the distribution of the wood chips, mulch, and other products to residents of the district is of public benefit, maintenance of a healthful environment, and reduces costs by eliminating the need to pay for the hauling and disposal of the products. It is further recognized that the distribution and delivery of the wood chips, mulch, and other products to residents of the district is a long-standing tradition in certain parts of this State with a minimum fiscal impact. It is further declared that this traditional service is salutary, as long as it is provided without prejudice or favor to any particular person or interest.”

Let us begin from the bottom up, as it is becoming very clear the only way to fix our broken system in this state is from the bottom up, and it’s clear those at the top have no clue what is really going on down here on the street level.

We see the claim in the policy statement that this new bill is salutary “as long as it is provided without prejudice or favor to any particular person or interest.”

So I guess by saying it’s OK as long as the practice is not abused somehow takes away from the fact it was that abuse that put us here in the first place?  My head is spinning!

Moving on up the policy statement, we thank Representative Breen for pointing out this illegal activity is a “long-standing tradition” in certain parts of the state.  We know it’s illegal because they’re trying to pass this bill to make that long-standing tradition legal. Are we allowed to ask why we are not enforcing the Official Misconduct statute that applies to public officials who violate the law?   Maybe we should just repeal the Official Misconduct statute since it appears to be a pattern that once a violation is identified they just change the law to un-rob the bank.

As far as this activity having a “minimal fiscal impact”, we challenge the Representative and those supporting this bill to present any evidence using township vehicles to deliver products to private residents will have minimal fiscal impact. To date, we have been unable to validate such a claim.

In our efforts of validating claims made during the last hearing, we filed a Freedom of Information Act request to the Representative’s Township for payments made to get rid of these chips because it was represented to the committee that “they have to pay to get rid of it”.

Show us the payment! 

Our FOIA request is now past due for that evidence and we are getting zero answers from those supporting this bill as it relates to costs of hauling and dumping.  Never mind the fact the Township has now violated FOIA in what appears to be an effort of concealing the truth. You are free to infer as you wish as to why they refuse to provide this information.

The next issue is the claim that allowing the current illegal action to be legal will “reduce costs by eliminating the need to pay for the hauling and disposal of the products.”  Did you catch that?

We’re are going to “haul” wood chips to “dispose” of them at residents property, so by allowing that action, it reduces the cost of “hauling” and “disposing” of them at the dump? I may be missing something but the only savings is possible disposal fees as they are still spending money to haul it, just to a different location.

It’s a misrepresentation that this bill, to legalize what is currently illegal, is going to save money when they refuse to provide evidence of any expense incurred to date. 

We offered a free disposal option but have not heard a word back on the proposed solution.

“Why not simply amend 415 ICLS 20/3 to include all units of government!  That SOLVES the problem and removes the question of private use of public property!”

(415 ILCS 20/3) (from Ch. 111 1/2, par. 7053)
    Sec. 3. State agency materials recycling program.
    (a) All State agencies and (units of government) responsible for the maintenance of public lands in the State shall, to the maximum extent feasible, use compost materials in all land maintenance activities which are to be paid with public funds.

Why is this the simple solution?  The very township performing this long-standing tradition acknowledges “Mulching around trees and bushes is an excellent landscaping tool. Nutrients are provided, soil stays moist longer, there is less lawn to mow, and mowers do not scar trunks and stems.” Changing one statute to include local government to do just as state agencies do is a simple fix. We believe a far better fix than opening up the pandora’s box of allowing 1432 Townships to start hauling to private residents.

Besides, why is Township Government wanting to compete with local landscape providers that are trying to create jobs by selling wood chips and mulch, along with delivery of those goods?

When government competes with local businesses, businesses always lose.

The policy states the bill is a “public benefit”.  Tell that to the businesses that sell wood chips! 

In addition, how can they claim this new bill will have minimal fiscal costs when no one will produce any records?     Sure, people get free mulch, however, they already get that for free at the local wood chip pile as was insinuated in the committee hearing………or do they?  More on that below-LOL

And finally, we get to the confirmation that wood chips are a waste product.  Huh, is that not municipal waste under the EPA laws in this state? Wonder why we are passing this delivery bill when we already have laws that point to how this matter is to be addressed?

415 ILCS 15/2(a)(2) that counties should have the primary responsibility to plan for the management of municipal waste“.  And what else does it outline should be happening, that clearly is not?

“(5) that solid waste planning should be encouraged to take place on a multi-county, regional basis and through inter-governmental cooperation agreements whereby various units of local government within a region determine the best methods and locations for disposal of solid waste.”  

 And to top it off, what was the purpose of that EPA statute?

(b) It is the purpose of this Act to provide incentives for decreased generation of municipal waste, to require certain counties to develop comprehensive waste management plans that place substantial emphasis on recycling and other alternatives to landfills, to encourage municipal recycling and source reduction, and to promote composting of yard waste.

Now that we have written a book, let’s get to some facts and logic.

The goal is to get rid of the chips and it was claimed that York Township has this big pile on the corner in town, that people can come and get them, but they’re not doing that.  Well, we drove to York Township (about 3 1/2 hrs from Edgar County) and took some pictures on a Saturday afternoon.  You know, Saturday, a day when most people are off work and able to do yard work.  Turns out, the pile of wood chips is behind a gated, locked, meshed covered fence with a sign that says “No Trespassing” – “Open Only to Walk Ins”, and if you want a truck or trailer load you have to call the township.  So the fact of the matter is you can’t just go get wood chips anytime you want as was implied during committee hearings in Springfield, which can be viewed below.

If a resident wanted wood chips, the first deterrent might be that NO TRESPASSING sign, or the locked gate.  Even if it was open, they only allow Walk-Ins.  Should they bring a bucket, wheel barrow, or garbage can to get these chips?  As far as the claim everyone knows they are there and they are free for the taking, may we suggest you remove at least part of the fabric mesh that blocks viewing through the fence?  Doing so might make people aware of what’s behind door #1.

The implication that they are out on the corner of a primary street and free for the taking is misleading at best. You can’t see them or get access to them without calling the Township.

We have also confirmed the claim the township has a newsletter that goes out on a regular basis is not true according to at least one trustee we spoke with today.  The inference that a newsletter goes out informing citizens about the wood chips was disproven with a single FOIA response for the newsletter, no such newsletter is sent regarding woodchips.

The truth of the matter is, they can’t get rid of chips because they are not allowed to burn them like every other township in the state, a problem of their own making with burn ordinances.  Couple that fact residents are not allowed to come and get them on their own schedule as was implied, we must question the real need for the passage of a law to legalize identified illegal activity. Far more questions need answered before we pass a new law.

I believe there are simpler solutions, not to mention we have much bigger problems in this state to fix than spending time legalizing actions being done in violation of law, but it appears that is the norm in DuPage County. Besides that, do we really need to change the law for 1,432 Townships in Illinois because a handful in DuPage County can’t figure out how to get rid of wood chips legally and cost effectively?

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4m7LKjrCXI

 
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COD Foundation Attorney attacked Chicago Tribune during Appellate Court hearing with false claim about ECWd –

Northern Illinois University (NIU) – (ECWd) –

In what should have been his time for rebuttal statements, the College of DuPage Foundation attorney spent a considerable amount of time verbally attacking the Chicago Tribune and the downstate “Muckrakers of the farm fields,” the Edgar County Watchdogs, before being reminded by the Court that he might not be spending his time appropriately.

We attended the Appellate Court Oral Testimony of the Tribune’s appeal from the DuPage Circuit Court in a Freedom Of Information Act suit where the Chicago Tribune is trying to obtain a copy of the Subpoena served in reference to the COD Foundation, Chicago Tribune v. College of DuPage and College of DuPage Foundation.

http://edgarcountywatchdogs.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/1076.mp3

Some of the key points focused on by the Court was the status of the employees of the foundation/COD and the arrangement between COD and the foundation for office space. COD Foundation kept claiming it was nothing more than an in-kind donation from the college to the foundation, where no funds changed hands for lease of office space.

To us, it appeared this case centers around the relationship between the COD employees and foundation “employees”, and the college and the foundation in relation to use of office space. All salaries and benefits are paid by the college – even when those employees are allegedly conducting foundation business.

On rebuttal, at about the 52:30 mark in the audio, the foundation attorney thought it was a good idea to attack the Chicago Tribune and its news gathering abilities while falsely claiming the Tribune had “outsourced its investigation to a group of internet bloggers” (referring to Edgar County Watchdogs) and further complained that the Tribune wrote about us and described us as “the Muckrakers of farm fields” – yes, they did write about us on the front page of their Sunday, March 2, 2015, Print Edition.

He also quoted Assistant State’s Attorney Donahue, from Vermilion County, who had been the subject of quite a few of our articles on the Wind Farm issue in Vermilion County and the illegal gifting of several acres of public property to a private individual without receiving any compensation for it. Donahue was quoted by the Tribune as saying “if you are not for them, then you are a criminal” – which in the case of many public bodies, including the Vermilion County Board at the time, was the case with the illegal gifting of the public real estate without any compensation to the taxpayers. The COD Foundation Attorney failed to share that little tidbit during his temper tantrum.  The Illinois Supreme Court sees it as illegal, but somehow in Vermilion County, it is not (according to ASA Donahue and his “opinion”).

Enjoy the audio – it is worth listening to.
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College of DuPage – Breuder claim of tortious interference by board members in their individual capacity denied –

DuPage Col. (ECWd) –

The Federal Courts acted on motions in the Robert Breuder civil case against the College of Dupage today and issued a Motion Order found here.

The College of DuPage Motion to Dismiss counts I, II, and IV  was denied, however, the Individual Motion to Dismiss was granted in part and denied in part.

“Plaintiffs claim for tortious interference with contract (Count V) is dismissed with prejudice. Plaintiffs claim for defamation stemming from statements made by Individual Defendants at Board meetings (in Count VI) and Plaintiffs conspiracy claim stemming from Individual Defendants involvement in tortious interference with contract and defamation relating to statements made at Board meetings (in Count III) are also dismissed with prejudice.

Those particular items could be significant from a negotiating standpoint in the event of any settlement discussions.  Those particular dismissals weakened Breuder’s negotiating power.  Breuder has basically been given the boot out the door on his claim of tortious interference with his contract, as it was dismissed with prejudice, in relation to the defendants in their individual capacity.  It appears all of Count V was dismissed, along with significant elements of Counts III and IV.

A status hearing for this case has been scheduled for March 30th, 2017 at 9:00 AM

 




College of DuPage officials subpoenaed – Radio Engineer trial to begin

DuPage Co. (ECWd) –

Almost two years to the day of being charged, former College of DuPage Radio Engineer John Valenta will finally stand before the criminal courts to answer felony criminal charges of theft.  The trial is set for February 28th, 2017 and will begin at 10 am.

James Martner, COD internal auditor and Daniel Bindert, station manager with WDCB Radio Station at COD have been subpoenaed along with several other people according to documents obtained from the courts today.

We will do our best to report on what happens during the trial.

For those who are wondering if and when anyone else at the College of DuPage may be charged as it relates to all the unauthorized spending that took place under the Breuder era, we can only report that the investigations that started back in February of 2015 are still underway by both the Federal Government and the DuPage County States Attorney’s office.  We can only pray that they finalize their work as soon as possible and bring charges to those involved in Official Misconduct and other criminal conduct.

The subpoenas can be viewed below.

Download (PDF, 342KB)

 

 




PLA briefs filed with the Illinois Supreme Court – (Citizen Participation Act)

Illinois (ECWd)-

Multiple Prayer for Leave to Appeal (PLA) briefs were filed yesterday with the Illinois Supreme Court stemming from the scandals exposed at the College of DuPage. The PLAs come after the Circuit Court denied motions to dismiss these cases under the Citizen Participation Act and the Appellate Court’s minute order denying (without briefing or argument) the Petition for Leave to Appeal.

The Edgar County Watchdogs, Kirk Allen, Adam Andrezejewski, and Clair Ball filed their PLA briefs of which below are a few of the key points from the briefs.

  • Pursuant to Rule 315(a), the questions presented involve important First Amendment considerations—namely, whether journalists may report on politicians engaging in favorable transactions with their friends, and label this behavior as “pay to play”, without having to prove that the subject politicians were engaged in criminal behavior.
  • Pursuant to Rule 315(a), the circuit court’s erroneous holding—that “in Illinois…saying ‘pay to play’… [is] implying criminal conduct” (R. C00403 at110:11-19)—severely misinterpreted Illinois law on “innocent construction”. Review is essential because the law on “innocent construction” necessarily implicates important considerations of First Amendment jurisprudence.
  • Pursuant to Rule 315(a), a conflict exists between the decisions rendered below regarding “innocent construction” and a long line of cases holding the opposite, as set forth herein. In effect, the courts’ rulings below erroneously rendered the phrase “pay to play” off-limits for use by journalists. Moreover, the trial court’s invocation of Illinois’ long history of political corruption as a rationale to forbid the use of the phrase “pay to play” is illogical, as the fact-based use of that term by journalists and others may expose further corruption.
  • Pursuant to Rule 315(a), a conflict exists between the decision rendered below and McDonnell v. United States, 136 S. Ct. 2355 (2016) which confirms that, irrespective of its unsavory nature, “pay to play” in American politics is not always illegal, and therefore, the term cannot serve as the basis for a defamation
    action;
  • Pursuant to Rule 315(a), there is a need for the Supreme Court to exercise its supervisory authority, because the Second District issued a merits-based affirmance of the trial court’s denial of the Watchdogs’ CPA motion, without briefing, argument or apparent analysis.
  • Pursuant to Rule 315(a), there is a need for the Supreme Court to exercise its supervisory authority, because, respectfully, the decisions of the trial and appellate courts have failed to give due consideration to the Illinois legislature’s determination that “the constitutional rights of citizens and organizations to be involved and participate freely in the process of government must be encouraged and safeguarded with great diligence.”
  • Pursuant to Rule 315(a), the judgment sought to be reviewed is expressly contemplated as an enumerated basis for an interlocutory appeal.
  • Pursuant to Rule 315(a), there is conflict of law between Stein v. Krislov, 2013 IL App (1st) 113806, ¶ 19 (a lawsuit filed just before the expiration of the statute of limitations is evidence of a plaintiff’s retaliatory intent) and Goral v. Kulys, 2014 IL App (1st) 133236, ¶ 55 (“[t]he relatively close proximity between the posting of defendant’s articles and plaintiff’s suit suggests that it was retaliatory”)
  • More specifically, by maintaining an artificial distinction between “actually true” statements and substantially true statements, the Circuit Court here and the Appellate Courts have turned the First Amendment on its head, placing a burden on CPA movants in conflict with the standards laid out in this Court’s seminal decision in Troman v. Wood and the United States Supreme Court’s defamation jurisprudence in Gertz and Hepps.

All three briefs can be downloaded or viewed below.

Download (PDF, 963KB)

Download (PDF, 934KB)

Download (PDF, 2.3MB)

 




Why Governor Rauner Must Veto SB 3319

Illinois (ECWd) –

On January 10, 2017, the last (and lame-duck) day of the session, the 99th Illinois General Assembly passed SB 3319. This bill arose from a failure of  DuPage County Election Commission to follow Illinois Election Code Law. See our first article reciting the particulars here.

We again wrote about the fundamental meaning and potential implications of this lawlessness in this article.

One lawsuit had already been filed because of this failure to follow the Illinois Election Code, and that fact was not disclosed to the members of the General Assembly.  If Governor Rauner signs SB 3319 more lawsuits may follow which will probably end up in the Illinois Supreme Court. The only winners then will be the litigation lawyers and the bond lawyers.

It has been stated many times that we are not lawyers, and, we are not. We do not give legal advice. We do, however, have a First Amendment right to express our opinions on legal matters as do all citizens.  We are just a couple of Southern Illinois hayseeds who have had some success in exposing corruption and lawlessness in Illinois. In many cases, perpetrated by lawyers. And boy, there’s a lot of corruption and lawyers in Illinois!

The Speaker of the House, the President of the Senate, and the people in the Legislative Reference Bureau in Springfield (who draft these bills for the General Assembly) are lawyers. Why can’t they get it right?

One of the fundamental pillars of the United States Constitution is the Doctrine of Separation of Powers.*  Nowhere in the U.S. Constitution is the Doctrine of Separation of Powers enunciated. It is directly reflected from The Federalist Papers in the U.S. Constitution in Articles I, II and III which created the legislative, executive and judiciary departments. James Madison wrote, in:

Federalist 47

“The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”

So, attempting to avoid tyranny, in 1789 the Founders created a federal system with a procedure of checks and balances which are generally referred to as the Separation of Powers Doctrine. They guaranteed each state a Republican Form of Government in Article IV, Section 4. And, in 1818 the State of Illinois was created along the same model with the Illinois constitution closely paralleling the federal constitution. And then in 1868 the 14th Amendment was enacted and made the Due Process Clause and the Bill of Rights applicable to the state’s laws.

In our previous article we referred to Article IV, Section 13 of the Illinois Constitution:

“The General Assembly shall pass no special or local law when a general law is or can be made applicable.  Whether a general law is or can be made applicable shall be a matter for judicial determination.”

Again, James Madison describes more tyranny by quoting Montesquieu, in:

Federalist 47:

“Were the power of judging joined with the legislative, the life and liberty of the subject would be exposed to arbitrary control, for the judge would then be the legislator.”

So, what does the Separation of Powers Doctrine have to do with SB3319?

A progression of errors has occurred. The DuPage County Election Commission erred by not following Illinois Election Code law and put millions of dollars of bonds at risk of litigation. Again they erred by opining that the error was not fatal. A third error was suggesting the Illinois General Assembly violate Article IV, Section 13, of the Illinois Constitution by passing a special law to make their error legal. And finally, they did partially get it right by suggesting the correct venue. But it would be a fool’s errand to ask a circuit court judge to rule that their violation of the statute was a lawful act which followed the law in its entirety and conformed to the will of the legislature when the General Assembly enacted the Illinois Election Code 10 ILCS  5/12-5.

By going the legislative route the Illinois General Assembly has compounded the errors and done what James Madison described in:

Federalist 48:

 “The legislative department derives a superiority in our governments from other circumstances. Its constitutional powers being at once more extensive, and less susceptible of precise limits, it can, with the greater facility, mask, under complicated and indirect measures, the encroachments which it makes on the co-ordinate departments.”

And true to form in Illinois, that is exactly what the General Assembly did. On the last day of the session, after gutting shell bill SB3319, which was submitted as a Higher Education Student Assistance bill, the Legislature replaced the bill with a 3rd amendment (total replacement from the original bill) that provides a special carve-out effective to action that took place in the November 2016 election.

The amendment, the text of which ultimately became the only text of SB 3319, was never reproduced and placed on the desk of each member as required in our Illinois Constitution.

“A bill shall be read by title on three different days in each house. A bill and each amendment thereto shall be reproduced and placed on the desk of each member before final passage. (Illinois Constitution, Article IV, Section 8(d)).”

We contend the Speaker’s certification signature was defective because the procedural requirements for passage outlined in the Illinois Constitution had not been met. Specifically, the amendment was not reproduced and placed on the desk of each member before final passage.

“The Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate shall sign each bill that passes both houses to certify that the procedural requirements for passage have been met. (Illinois Constitution, Article IV, Section 8(d)).”

We contend SB 3319 is constitutionally unlawful and violates the Doctrine of  Separation of Powers because the Illinois Constitution, Article IV, Section 13 says that the applicability of the law is a matter for judicial determination and not a matter for the legislative department to handle as they did on January 10, 2017.

SB3319 is also procedurally flawed as stated above and was passed in violation of  Illinois Constitutional requirements.

Governor Rauner should veto SB 3319, which appears to be yet another lawless act in Illinois by state and county lawyers and officials. The DuPage County Officials should admit error and properly notice up the bond issue for the next appropriate election.

How hard is that?

 

*For a historic primer on Separation of Powers read Justice Thomas’ concurrence here.

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Lisle Village Board Violates Law On Camera –

LISLE, IL. (ECWd) –

One of the issues concerning Mayor Broda and the Village of Lisle is a Binding Opinion from the Illinois Attorney General that the village had violated the Open Meetings Act during a closed session in its June 6, 2016, meeting.

This Binding Opinion was issued on September 26, 2016, and the village had 35 days from the date of the opinion to decide whether to comply and release the audio or to seek judicial review and ask the Circuit Court to overturn the Binding Opinion.

During the October 3, 2016, Village Board meeting, the board took action after an executive session to direct the village attorney to seek judicial review of the Binding Opinion.

This action was not listed as an agenda item on the published agenda and therefore could not have had any action taken on it. Taking action on items not listed on the agenda is a crime and subjects all those voting on the motion to being charged with a Class C Misdemeanor as the Open Meetings Act states in Section 4.

According to the Minutes from October 3, 2016 (last page), there was a Motion, Second, and a vote. This was not on the agenda and could not have been voted on.

So in order to keep from complying with the AG’s Binding Opinion on a previous illegal meeting, the Village violates the law again, in order to seek judicial review of a previous violation of the law. We think this is nothing more than an attempt at keeping from releasing the offending audio until after the April 4, 2017, election.

We urge a responsible person to take this information to the DuPage County State’s Attorney and ask for prosecution of this “alleged” crime committed by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Lisle, much like was done with the College of DuPage.  The evidence is all there and would be an easy case to win.

Lisle Watchdogs Video of the vote (volume is real low):

http://youtu.be/FFak7RW7aWw
.
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College of DuPage – Board Examiner finds 49 signatures that should be stricken; validates only 37.

DuPage Co. (ECWd)

The College of DuPage Electoral Board requested a Board Examiner to review signatures on petitions objected to, that were submitted by candidate Husna T. Ghani.

The examiners’ findings appear to be very clear and convincing.

“That in the opinion of the Examiner forty-nine (49) of those signatures should be stricken for the reason set forth on Exhibit A and the corresponding Objections.”

“That in the opinion of the Examiner the Petition sheets contain thirty-seven (37) valid signatures.”

The next hearing on this matter is scheduled for Tuesday of this week, January 17, 2016, at 1 pm.

The full report can be viewed below.

Download (PDF, 133KB)

 

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College of DuPage – Candidate admits photo-copying petitions-blames COD for her failure to comply with law

DuPage Co. (ECWd) –

In a rather interesting attempt to cast blame for noncompliance of specific election records, Rafath Waheed blamed COD citing, obfuscation of the electoral process” on the part of COD as it relates to her not filing a statement of candidacy. You can see that statement at the 48:40 mark of this video.  For those not familiar with the meaning of the word obfuscation; “the action of making something obscure, unclear, or unintelligible.” 

It should be noted that the College of DuPage had nothing to do with making the electoral process nor is it their duty to provide guidance and direction on such matters.   The guidance and direction come from the law, established by the legislature.  The fact that this person chose to blame COD for failing to comply with the law is yet another reason she has no business as a public official.

In addition to blaming the school for her non-compliance, she admitted under oath to being the one who copied petitions and then signed them and had them notarized affirming they were original signatures, which they were not, just as we said in our first article on this.

57:25 of the video is where the information comes to light regarding the copies of petitions being submitted.  The candidate first claims she DID not photocopy them and then when questioned further admits she did and that no one else was given her papers.

Candidate“They are the carbon copy of that, but did I do it?  “NO, it happen by mistake.”

Electoral Board“Did you make the carbon copy or did someone make it for you”

Candidate“I made it myself, I didn’t give any of my paper to anybody.”

So, on one hand, she denies making copies of the petitions and then does an 180-degree turn and admits she made them

What is disturbing with this situation is the fact this person, under oath, has admitted to photocopying petition sheets.  Sheets that were then separately notarized under oath and affirmation as originals.

After about 30 minutes of hearing this person create excuses and eventually admitting to things she did, made copies of signatures and turned them in, she reads a prepared statement which was her withdrawal from the race. You can watch that starting at the 1:19:04 mark of the video.

Was this whole event staged in an attempt to claim this was an attack on Muslims?  Let’s not forget the claim by one of the Democrats during public comment being an insinuation the objections were based on religion.  How ironic, both of the candidates being objected to have the most basic of items deficient in their papers.  Two candidates that in one case claims to be an Administrator and the other has an MBA and Masters in Education.  How do such educated people make these kinds of mistakes? Or was this well planned out for a much different purpose? Time will tell.

Now we will have to wait and see how the COD Electoral Board handles this matter as it is clear this person provided documents, signed under oath, that were in violation of the law.  We encourage them to turn this matter over to the authorities for a criminal investigation.  We can only pray the State’s Attorney upholds and enforces our election laws as it relates and prosecutes those who are found to have committed fraud and or forgery in that process.

 

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College of DuPage – Candidate cites Social Justice Journal to support her legal position

DuPage Co. (ECWd) –

During the petition objection hearing last Tuesday at the College of DuPage, the Electoral Board offered one of the candidates and opposing counsel the opportunity to prepare a legal brief that would point to case law on the matter before the board.  Specifically, the board is addressing the petitions filed by Husna Ghani and the lack of page numbers on her petitions.

It appears Ms. Ghani was not in the same hearing as I was.  In her response to the board’s request, she states certain things that did not take place during the hearing and instead of providing legal cases to support her position that not numbering her petition pages is not a fatal error, she cites language from a Social Justice Journal.

“The argument by the Objector states again that the candidate did not specify the term of candidacy for which the elected board term of the office was sought. At the hearing on Tuesday, January 10, 2017, this objection was in fact overruled because the original receipt stating the name of the office sought and the two year term was given by the office of the Electoral Board and was presented to the Electoral Board at the hearing and was duly noted and accepted by all parties.”

A review of the video from that meeting reflects, contrary to her claim of fact, nothing was overruled.  It appears she is taking the position that since the board was presented something and placed the information into the record, doing so constitutes an acceptance of her position and a silent overruling of the objection presented.

“A reasonable person will agree that failing to number an eight page document does not compromise the integrity of this election. As argued in the DePaul Journal of Social Justice, Spring 2013″

I read the document she points to and no such statement is argued but don’t take my word, read it for yourself Word search it and you will find very quickly that what this candidate has done is draw a conclusion from an agency’s opinion.  In addition, her comment implies that our higher courts are not reasonable people since they have ruled contrary to her position.  That is troubling for a person wanting to lead a higher education institution.

I am not sure what a Social Justice Journal has to do with case law but rest assured, the higher courts have been consistent and reasonable on the matter of page numbering.  More importantly, what she refers to as a DePaul Journal of Social Justice argument, turns out it is not even written by the DePaul Journal of Social Justice.   They published a paper written by the Citizens Advocacy Center and you can view that document, as published in the DePaul Journal of Social Justice, Spring 2013 at this link.

Even more disturbing is a statement in the document she refers to; “As quasi-judicial bodies, electoral boards have the authority to hear sworn witnesses, formally accept evidence, issue subpoenas, and render decisions based on law and fact.” (see page 6)

Illinois law is clear on quasi-judicial bodies and an electoral board is not one.  As outlined in the open meetings act; “Quasi-adjudicative body” means an administrative body charged by law or ordinance with the responsibility to conduct hearings, receive evidence or testimony and make determinations based thereon, but does not include local electoral boards when such bodies are considering petition challenges.”

May we suggest searching case law and election law to make your argument as it appears the Social Justice Journal contains outdated material when it comes to electoral boards

“However, in the hearing on Tuesday, January 10, 2017, the Objector was allowed to edit paperwork that was already previously submitted.”

The objector pointed out scrivener’s error in the filing and the board took note of that error.  At no time during the hearing that we attended did we see, nor did the video capture, the objector being allowed to edit paperwork.

“The two-year term seat is being sought by two individuals. If one name is withdrawn, due to a technical oversight, then there would only be one person running for that office. In this case, it would not be a true “running for office” but instead would be an uncontested election. Therefore this would result in an automatic placement without the procedural of a true democratic process.”

She refers to her fatal errors, not numbering her pages and not identifying the term of office she is seeking, as a technical oversight. May we suggest she read her Social Justic Journal again?

“The signature sheets must be bound securely and numbered consecutively.” (See page 12)

“Some of the provisions in the Election Code have been interpreted to be clear requirements for which wholesale disregard will defeat a nomination or petition for referendum.” (See page 18)

The courts have deemed not numbering ANY pages a fatal error, not a technical oversight.  She also implies that if an elected position is not contested it somehow means the person who is on the ballot is not actually “running for office”.  She then implies such an uncontested seat is obtained without the “procedural of a true democratic process”.  

We suggest Ms. Ghani read our Federalist papers, our Constitution, Illinois Election Law, and case law on the subject at hand.  Doing so will provide a wealth of knowledge about this great country which is a Constitutional Republic, not a democracy.

She closes her 4-page letter with an interesting statement in the last paragraph;

“Therefore I humbly request that you consider these facts when rendering your decision.”

Facts? I’m not sure what “facts” she is referring to but a few things are clear, she did not provide the case law sought by the Electoral Board.

During this particular hearing a local democrat raised the question as to why the only objections were those of two Muslim women and insinuated there was a lack of transparency at the College of DuPage. (See 13:24 mark of the video)  Not sure what transparency has to do with members of their party getting on the ballot but it does lead me to a question of my own.

How is it that the Democrats managed to gather enough signatures for a white male, Dan Markwell, but not enough for the two Muslim women?  DuPage Democrat Chair Robert Peickert notarized all of the petitions for Ghani and apparently provided no input on the importance of her numbering her pages.  The other candidate who withdrew claimed to have the assistance of a Democrat County Board member.  May I suggest these people look within for their failings as it relates to proper election documents instead of trying to insinuate the objections were based on religion.

I reviewed all of the petitions turned in and although I found errors with others, I only wrote about those that had fatal errors.  I had no clue what their religion was as that is not listed on any of the documents, nor does it matter!

Below is the full response candidate Ghani has submitted regarding her petitions and the objections to them.

Download (PDF, 528KB)

 

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Lisle Village Clerk gets work release from 3rd DUI and serves as Electoral Board Member –

LISLE, IL. (ECWd) –

Only in Illinois can you be a 3-time DUI offender – sentenced to 4 months in jail, and then get work release and be permitted to sit on the Lisle Electoral Board to determine if someone can keep their name on the ballot. The fact he is sitting on the Lisle Electoral Board can be found buried deep in this Daily Herald Article.

Amazing.

This is why people need to be able to sue the Courts for allowing this to happen. Misdemeanor on 3rd time DUI ? What will they tell the person he may kill while driving drunk the next time? Oh, sorry, he was such a good guy and needed to keep his job so we went light on him the last three times he was caught driving drunk?

Add to that, he kept his elected position of Village of Lisle Clerk, which left him able to sit on the Electoral Board to determine if other people were qualified to remain on the ballot.

Only in Illinois.

 

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Lisle CUSD 202 Backtracks On Copyright Claims –

LISLE, IL. (ECWd) –

After claiming copyright on its board meeting videos, and then spending over 18 minutes of time we can never recover talking about the meeting videos and copyright, the CUSD 202 board decided to keep the copyright in place on advice of their attorney.

I filed a complaint with the Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor’s Office for a request for review of a Freedom Of Information Act violation against the Lisle CUSD 202’s assertion that they held a copyright on public records (the meeting video), and their demand that I obtain permission to use all or part of it and that I could not repost, rebroadcast, or post to social media without their permission.

Knowing a public body cannot restrict the use of public records for any reason, I filed the complaint.

Today, the AG’s PAC office informed me that Lisle CUSD 202 decided it would no longer assert any copyright claims on any public records obtained from them thru FOIA.

Download (PDF, 63KB)


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Did DuPage County Officials dupe the General Assembly into violating the Illinois Constitution?

DuPage Co.  (ECWd) –

I wish I could take credit for this one as it turns out I had read the specific Illinois Constitution provision years ago on another matter and forgot about it.  Thanks to an everyday citizen who is paying attention for bringing it to my attention as I believe they were spot on in their assessment of what happened in Springfield during the last day of the 99th General Assembly.

We ran this story back in December and pointed out why the Election Commission was wrong in their actions and that their plans of fixing it were not within any statutory authority.  We were told by many that we are not attorneys and don’t know what we are talking about. We stood by that article and now it is clear our position has been validated.

The General Assembly passed SB 3319, which by all indications, is special legislation brought on by the mistakes made by the DuPage Election Commission.  In order to grasp the magnitude of this new law, you must first read the story linked above.

We believe those behind that bill have been duped, and in the process may have duped the entire General Assembly and possibly the Governor if he signs this.

The bill changes the timeline required for publishing a proper notice and applies that timeline to action that has already been taken and found improper. So by all indications, they passed special legislation and made it retroactive to an election already held.

Now comes the potentially multi-million dollar question.  Was the passage of that legislation in violation of our Illinois Constitution, specifically Article VI Section 13 which states:

SECTION 13. SPECIAL LEGISLATION

“The General Assembly shall pass no special or local law when a general law is or can be made applicable.  Whether a general law is or can be made applicable shall be a matter for judicial determination.”

On the last day, after gutting shell bill SB3319, which was submitted as a Higher Education Student Assistance bill, the Legislature replaced the bill with a 3rd amendment (total replacement from the original bill) that provides a special carve-out effective to action that took place in the November 2016 election.

In short, it appears they passed a special law and made it a one-time retroactive law.  We believe this action violates the Illinois Constitution and must not be signed by the Governor.

We contend this is a special law.  Such a law shall not be passed, as outlined in our State Constitution, when a “general law is or can be made applicable”.  The law that is applicable is the very one the DuPage Election Commission failed to follow. They got caught, couldn’t fix it like they claimed they could (told you so LOL), and then managed to convince the legislature to pass a law that fixes their mistake.

This is yet another example of how this state no longer operates under the rule of law.  When they get caught violating the law that they all hold over our head, they just contact the Cronin Cronies and change the law to make their wrong right.

I pray the Governor does not sign this bill because if he does I suspect the lawsuits that will surely follow will end up costing the taxpayers more money.

 

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College of DuPage – 2nd Petition Objector Confirmed

DuPage Co. (ECWd) –

Lori Solyom of Lombard, Illinois, has filed petition objections at the College of DuPage against the same two candidates as the first objector we reported on in this story. 

It appears the same issues have been objected to as the previous objector, and all indications are candidate Waheed may want to get a good defense attorney as those records are extremely troubling and potentially evidence to a crime.

As I quoted before, “when in the course of hearing objections to nominating papers, evidence beyond specific objections comes to the electoral board’s attention, it cannot close its eyes and ears if evidence is relevant to the protection of the electoral process.” See Fortas v. Dixon, 122 Ill.App.3d 697, 462 N.E.2d 615, 78 Ill.Dec. 496 (1st Dist. 1984), at 618.

I encourage the College of DuPage Electoral Board to turn the Waheed candidate documents over to the State’s Attorney’s office for potential prosecution.

All that aside, it is troubling to see people attempt to become Trustees of a higher education system while they are unable to follow the most basic instructions required by law.  These are not the types of people that need to be leading our schools in my opinion.

Download (PDF, 1.54MB)

Download (PDF, 1.27MB)

 

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(VIDEO) – Lisle CUSD 202 trying to play “Government Censor” –

LISLE, IL. (ECWd) –

During its December 19, 2016, school board meeting, the Lisle CUSD 202 school board tried really hard at making school board videos difficult, when it could be as easy as simply placing the video on their website, make it available for download without restrictions, and forget about it.

Instead, this school board thinks they can exercise some type of control on how public records are being used and distributed – as if they can stop anyone from using it in a way they do not appreciate.

Has this school board forgotten who they work for?

The “purpose” of the video is fulfilled by placing it on the website. Trying to decide on whether or not to keep the videos online if other people use it in some way, is ridiculous – online or offline, it is a public record. Blocking video from being directly downloaded will not work, they will simply have to be provided under FOIA, creating more work for school staff.

Lisle CUSD 202 wasted 18 1/2 minutes of conversation – they can never get that time back.

Video is a “public record” (like meeting minutes, etc) and any attempt at keeping the public from downloading the videos will simply result in more time and expense of school district personnel to answer FOIA requests for copies of the video – which must be provided to the requester without restrictions on its use.

The Illinois Department of Transportation tried that with a spreadsheet of red-light cameras – only to be shot down by the Appellate Court, which said: “A fear of manipulation or misuse of the information is not an exemption under section 7 of FOIA upon which IDOT could justify withholding the unlocked version of the Excel spreadsheet. We decline to create such an exemption.” ¶ 35 FAGEL v. Department of Transportation, Ill: Appellate Court, 1st Dist., 1st Div. 2013. The FOIA requester in that case was awarded more than $12,000 and IDOT was ordered to provide the unlocked public record.

LISLE CUSD 202 appears to have a “fear of manipulation or misuse of the information” as is evident in the video clip below from their December school board meeting video. They cannot place any restrictions on the use of any public records, including meeting videos, and anyone can take any snippets from it, and rearrange any of the video parts to produce a completely different video if they like to.

Illinois School Districts cannot make anyone ask for permission to use it or for permission to chop it up and use it in any way they see fit.

A school district’s meeting video cannot use the “creator license” or “limitations on use” or any other restriction whatsoever. There are no limitations and a school district cannot copyright the meeting video for any reason(s).

The copyright notice makes Lisle CUSD 202 look less transparent by claiming that people have to ask them for permission to use this public record how they see fit. It is PUBLIC RECORD (the same as any other public records) where they can take it and edit it as they see fit. Do they copyright any of the paper documents coming out of the district? Now do you see how ridiculous this subject is?

Another video clip from Lisle CUSD 202 school board meeting video used without obtaining their permission:

https://youtu.be/sO-G6aoLHcc

 

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Two College of DuPage Trustee Candidate Petitions Challenged –

DuPage Co. (ECWd) –

Husna Ghani and Rafath Waheed turned in petition packets for election to the Board of Trustees at the College of DuPage, however, both have had objections filed against them due to alleged fatal errors.  Those errors may subject them to removal from the ballot in a petition objection hearing.

Ed Franckowiak, of West Chicago, filed petition objections today and his findings outlined in his objection pertaining to Rafath Waheed may point to possible forgery.

Rafath Waheed turned in petitions with what appears to be photocopied petition documents (duplicates) that were sworn to separately and notarized.  In addition to those documents, Waheed failed to provide a Statement of Candidacy.

Husna Ghani failed to number the petition pages which constitutes a fatal error.

The packets turned in by Waheed and Ghani can be viewed here and here respectively.  When reviewing the petition documents of Waheed, we suggest you print pages 1-4 and hold page 4 in front of page 1 up to the light as well as page 3 in front of page 2.  It will become very clear that one is a copy of another with the exception of the lower portion.

What makes this a potentially a serious issue is the fact the portion below is being signed and sworn to that the signatures on the sheet were signed in their presence.  How is it possible to have a photocopied petition and claim you were present when those people signed?  Even more compelling evidence that these pages were photocopied and do not contain actual signatures is the fact page 3 has signatures done in Blue ink yet page 2, which contains an exact matching set of signatures as page 3, except they are in black and white.  The two pages appear to be two pages of signatures, however, are alleged to be photocopies of signed pages.

Is this potentially a case of forgery?

Sec. 17-3. Forgery.

    (a) A person commits forgery when, with intent to defraud, he or she knowingly:

      (1) makes a false document or alters any document to make it false and that document is apparently capable of defrauding another; or

       (2) issues or delivers such document knowing it to have been thus made or altered; or

        (3) possesses, with intent to issue or deliver, any such document knowing it to have been thus made or altered; or

        (4) unlawfully uses the digital signature, as defined in the Financial Institutions Electronic Documents and Digital Signature Act, of another; or

        (5) unlawfully uses the signature device of another to create an electronic signature of that other person, as those terms are defined in the Electronic Commerce Security Act.

Although the Election Hearing Board that is now triggered by the filing of an objection does not have the power to determine any potential criminality, we would encourage them to forward the records to the appropriate criminal investigative unit to further investigate this matter should they determine these are as we described above.  As pointed out in the objection: “when in the course of hearing objections to nominating papers, evidence beyond specific objections comes to the electoral board’s attention, it cannot close its eyes and ears if evidence is relevant to the protection of the electoral process.” See Fortas v. Dixon, 122 Ill.App.3d 697, 462 N.E.2d 615, 78 Ill.Dec. 496 (1st Dist. 1984), at 618.

We want to say thank you to Mr.  Franckowiak for his efforts of ensuring potential elected officials follow the law, which in this case appear to have not followed the election code as it pertains to their election packets turned in as Candidate(s) for College of DuPage Trustee.

You can review copies of the two objections filed by Franckowiak below.

Download (PDF, 115KB)

Download (PDF, 5.15MB)

 

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(Video) Lisle CUSD 202 Told To Raise Taxes To Maximum Law Allows –

LISLE, IL. (ECWd) –

The Lisle CUSD 202 School Board was told, during public comment, to raise the property taxes as high as the law would allow…and it is you, the property owner’s fault for not showing up at the meeting to voice your opposition to property tax hikes like this person is talking about.

Don’t like to pay so much? Show up and tell the School Board what you think!

Video below was taken without permission from the school website and edited for this article:

https://youtu.be/zNGkBtqqxbU

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DuPage County Election Commission- Why some public officials need removed from office

DuPage Co. (ECWd) –

With over half of the DuPage County Board also being attorneys, to include the County Chairman, how is it that laws don’t matter in DuPage County?

Through friends and crony connections, multiple DuPage County officials have attempted to get the Edgar County Watchdogs to back off and ignore the malfeasance and self-dealing that goes on in DuPage County. Each time we exposed something it was only a matter of days before word got back to us wanting to know why we are, as they put it, “going after them”.

It’s about the rule of law.

A recent news article raises the hair on our backs as it is clear from the positions being taken, certain public officials need to be removed from office for violating their oath of office.  Yes, elected officials take an oath to uphold the laws of our state and it’s clear once again there are some in Du Page County that take the position laws don’t matter.

DuPage County is overwhelmingly Republican turf. Republicans that claim to be conservative and stand on the rule of law ought to realize their actions speak louder than words. These are the same people that will scream from the mountaintops when Judges start legislating from the bench, known as Judicial Activism.   Judges are there to enforce our laws, not circumvent them.

The DuPage Election Commission is appointed by none other than the County Chairman, Dan Cronin.  The same guy that claims his consolidation efforts have saved $100 Million dollars, yet, to date, no one can produce the spreadsheet supporting such propaganda. More on that in the future.  The Election Commission, pretty much by their own admission, violated the law when they notified voters about multiple referendums on the ballot in violation of the notification requirements. The law cites that they must provide the notification no more than 30 days and no less than 10 days before the election. (Election Code 10 ILCS 5/12-5) The legislature placed a maximum and a minimum on the books for a reason.

Notice for public questions. For all elections held after July 1, 1999, notice of public questions shall be required only as set forth in this Section or as set forth in Section 17-3 or 19-3 of the School Code. Not more than 30 days nor less than 10 days before the date of a regular election at which a public question is to be submitted to the voters of a political or governmental subdivision, and at least 20 days before an emergency referendum, the election authority shall publish notice of the referendum.

Examples of timeline statutes:

Conduct of Elections -10 ILCS 5/17-1 : The polls shall be opened at the hour of 6:00 a.m. and continued open until 7:00 p.m. of the same day, at which time the polls shall be closed; but if the judges shall not attend at the hour of six o’clock in the morning, or if it shall be necessary for the electors present to appoint judges to conduct the election, as herein prescribed, the polls may, in that case, be opened at any hour before the time for closing the same shall arrive, as the case may require.

I suspect the Election Commission would not allow the opening or closing of the polls three days earlier or later.  Using their logic, why not, no one is harmed and we need to get as many people voting as we can.  The truth of the matter is our society is harmed.  Harmed by the lawlessness such an action creates.  Laws Matter!

Open Meetings Act:  It outlines you must publicly post meetings 48 hours in advance.  That means you can’t start the meeting 15 minutes early which would constitute a 47hrs and 45 minutes notice.

Disgraced former Edgar County Board Chairman Chris Patrick tried to pull that stunt and was shot down by the Attorney General PAC office.  In a feeble attempt to justify his actions, the claim was made that no one was harmed because no one showed up at the posted time of the meeting.

In the event the Election Commission tries to blame the early publication on those who publish the paper, such an error stands without specific legislation that would allow such a mistake.  Case and point are our Truth in Taxation Hearings statute.

Truth In Taxation Hearings – (35 ILCS 200/18-100)
Sec. 18-100. Defective publication. A levy of a taxing district shall not be invalidated for failure to comply with the provisions of this Article if the failure is attributable to the newspaper’s failure to reproduce the information in the notice accurately or to publish the notice as directed by the taxing district.
(Source: P.A. 87-201; 88-455.)

The Election Code DOES NOT have such a qualifying language in the statute and had the legislature wanted the notifications of ballot measures to have such language they would have included it.

DuPage Election Commission Director is quoted in the above-linked article stating: “It’s not a fatal error,” Saar said. “It wasn’t published late.”

No, it was not published late, it was published early, which violates the statute.  That same person goes on to make the case that their actions are wrong and have consequences, however, he also points to Judicial Activism as the top solution to fix those wrongs. We will address his statements and then provide the proper solution.

“The bond guys are rightfully nervous about it because they’re issuing 20-year bonds,” Saar said. “Any time during that 20-year period somebody could raise an issue. That could cause serious problems for the bond house.”

He gets the fact that somebody could raise an issue with Bonds being sold that did not conform to the requirement of the law.  It’s called Bond Fraud in many cases.  Very similar to the Village of Chatham selling Bonds claiming they are going to build a 3.2 Million Gallon per day facility and then actually building something smaller with the money.  The Securities and Exchange Commission doesn’t take kindly to that type of activity.  So if the Election Commission Director understands the potential Bond problems, and even states those problems could be serious, how is it that he doesn’t understand the application of law in his other two brain-trust ideas?

He claims there are two ways to fix the problem.

“The first is to ask state lawmakers to approve legislation saying it was OK to have the notification made three days early.”

Brilliant!  If you break the law this guy’s solution is to have the law-makers change the law and make it retroactive in order to void their violation of the law in the first place.  That is known as crony legislation and it makes as much sense as crony capitalism.  They both suck!

“The commission wants to pursue a second option, which would be less costly and time-consuming, by asking a DuPage judge for a declaratory judgment.”

So now they want Judicial Activism through a declaratory judgment?  Really?  Are they seriously going to ask a judge to ignore the mandated notification criteria established by the legislature?  If a DuPage County Judge were to ignore the notification requirements and allow these referendums to stand then he too should be removed from office in our opinion.  A Judge is there to enforce our laws, not overrule them.

Why should the Director of the Election Commission in DuPage County be removed?  According to the news article on this from the Daily Herald,  “The commission’s attorneys plan to argue that no harm was done to the public by having the notification made 33 days before the election.” “It’s not a fatal error,” Saar said. “It wasn’t published late.”   Any Director of a public body that believes Judicial Activism is the solution for correcting his mistakes has no business in public office.

Interestingly I don’t find an exemption or provision in the statute that says as long as no one was harmed or the notice was not published late it’s OK to allow the action.  The law is clear and provides specific timelines, and considering we are are a Dillons Rule state, short of such an exemption or provision, the notice violated the law and no Judge has any place ruling contrary to the specific timeline of the law.

Sadly, the DuPage County Election Commission only sees two options to fix this problem when in fact there is only one option and they failed to point it out. Follow the law!  The fact the law was not followed should negate those referendums and the solution is to simply put them back on the ballot again and provide notification to the voters as the law mandates.

I wonder how many of the DuPage County Board members who are lawyers are going to speak up and demand the law be followed and those referendums be blocked?

And let’s not forget this Election Commissions Statement

The DuPage County Election Commission is an independent, bi-partisan government entity operating under state and federal election laws to promote accurate, efficient, accessible and secure elections in DuPage County. We serve the public through education and information about the election process, voter registration, election administration and leadership in improving election procedures. We maintain the highest professional standards to ensure the integrity of the election process.

The Commission is appointed by Dan Cronin and if they want the voters to believe that they maintain the highest professional standards to ensure the integrity of the election process, may we suggest you replace every last one of them that supports Judicial Activism or Legislative corrections to their violations of the law.

More importantly, if they are there to serve the public through education and informatoin about the election process, it is clear they don’t understand the legal election process, nor is taking action to circumvent that law a postitive education for our society.

I contend the Election Commission is a prime example of the failures coming out of DuPage County Leadership!

 

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Lisle School District 202 Tries Restricting Use Of Meeting Videos –

LISLE, IL. (ECWd) –

Lisle Community Unit School District 202 has attempted to claim copyright on its School Board meeting videos (click here).

Those videos are a public record and cannot be copyrighted (court case here) (article in the Municipal Minute here) or otherwise have any restrictions on their use. It equates to telling us we cannot publish emails, contracts, or meeting minutes, etc.  It cannot happen.

As soon as we can find time, we will take portions of it and provide some opinionated commentary for short videos with our comments embedded in it.

Here is the October 28, 2016 School Board Meeting I downloaded directly from their website (watch it below or download your own copy from us):

Enjoy:

https://youtu.be/_gZZLi5y7Wo

I also sent a FOIA request for a copy of it:

Download (PDF, 107KB)




Tri-State Fire – The 2013 mystery returns –

DuPage Co. (ECWd) –

By all indications, a criminal has been working for years at Tri-State Fire Protection District and it appears no one seems to be concerned.

We reported on Micheal Orrico’s arrest in this article in relation to his failure to disclose certain information on his Economic Disclosure Statement.

Today we received his mug shot and the investigation narratives, and by all indications, a crime has taken place and it does not appear to be the first time.  However, the crime now in question is not about an Economic Disclosure Statement.

Closed Session recordings are once again missing.  This is not the first time this has happened.  The Better Government Association  (BGA) reported on missing closed session recordings back in 2013.  According to that report, it was Micheal Orrico, the one now charged with a crime, who had concerns over access to those recordings.

“After Trustee Michael Orrico raised concerns at a public board meeting in September about the location of the tapes and the accuracy of meeting minutes, Strenzel said the tapes were in her possession because of renovations at Tri-State and that if Orrico wanted to listen to any of them, they could arrange it.”

“The reported break-in came only a few days after yet another strange episode related to district tapes. Just before a regular board meeting was about to begin on Nov. 18, Strenzel fell outside of the station and broke two empty tape recorders, according to meeting minutes. At the request of a district attorney, an employee was sent to buy another recording device “so that there could be a closed session meeting,” the documents show.”

Then, in 2015, the BGA runs another report

“My concern is that two civilians without any trustee present had access to private and confidential closed-session tapes, which may very well pertain to them,” Habercoss said.

So once again, access to closed session records is an issue and by all indications has been an issue since 2013.  We now have confirmation that there is still a serious problem and one that may well lead to criminal charges for someone if and when the proper authorities dive into what appears to clearly be a crime.

The recently obtained investigation narratives regarding Micheal Orrico is what has exposed yet another potential problem at the Tri-State Fire Protection District.  The subject?  Closed session records.

“I asked her where the recordings were kept and she said that they had been kept in a safe in the Trustee’s Office in Burr Ridge. She said that Trustee Habercross and their Acting Chief went to the Trustee’s Office last week and opened the safe and there was nothing inside the safe.  I asked her if the minutes from the closed session were ever typed up and she said no.”

The investigator asked who had access to that safe and it was confirmed, Micheal Orrico was one of five people who had such access.  Sadly, the investigation into missing records appears to have ended with the charging of Orrico for filing a false EDS.

We would like to know why no investigation is taking place for records missing from a safe?  What would those records disclose?  Is their perhaps evidence in those recordings that would prove false statements may have been made during the investigation of Orrico?  What are the odds the same fire department has questionable activity around closed session recordings multiple times since 2013? What are the common denominators?

Although we may never know the answers to what was on those tapes, we are pleased to see that the DuPage County State’s Attorney resurrected this closed case after the Police Department deferred further action to the discretion of the Trustees at the Fire Protection District.

The Police are to investigate and take their findings of violations of law to the State’s Attorney for them to make a determination if charges are to be filed.  For the Darien PD to leave that up to the public body is inappropriate.  We encourage the States Attorney’s office to educate the appropriate Police agencies that neither they, nor citizens who file a complaint, have the authority to determine if a case moves forward in the criminal justice system.

For now, the words from the BGA in 2013 appear to ring as true today as they did 3 years ago : “Whatever has been going on during executive session remains a mystery.”

You can review the entire record provided by the Darian PD below.

Download (PDF, 4.99MB)

 

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Lisle Park District Comissioners & Families Receiving Unauthorized Benefits –

LISLE, IL. (ECWd) –

Lisle Park District joins the long list of public bodies granting their elected officials (and their family members) benefits/compensation that are not authorized in state statutes.

To our knowledge, only the Arthur Park District and Clark County Park District have actually taken action (once notified) to prohibit this unauthorized taking of public property, funds, and credit (see IL Constitution Art. VIII) for personal gain.  Both, when notified, rescinded or declared it prohibited to receive any compensation, and/or “benefits” not available to the general public on the same terms.

The Lisle Park District has in its policy, “authorized” benefits for its Commissioners, when the Park District Code specifically prohibits or fails to authorize (see Dillon’s Rule) said benefits.

The attached pages from their policy manual, the Park District Commissioners and their immediate family members are gifted the following:

  • free participation in recreational programs
  • free season passes for Sea Lion Aquatic Park
  • free use of Community Park Fitness (family members 50% off)
  • free golfing at River Bend Golf Course (family members at lowest daily rate)

So, while they are determining how much to gouge your pockets for these events, they continue to receive free, what you are forced to pay for.

lpd-boardofcommissionersA quick analysis of costs for the above programs could grow well into thousands of dollars per year, per Commissioner, depending on programs utilized. For example, dance classes range between $160 and $321 per season, after school classes at $12 per day per person, sports programs can cost up to $162 per person per season, season family passes at the Sea Lion Aquatics Park costs up to $240, Seasonal Camps at $269 per student, River Bend Golf Course costs around $15 per day.

All of these freebies, when the Park District Code specifically states “Commissioners shall act as such without compensation” and the Illinois Governmental Ethics Act defines “compensation.”

Lisle Park District is not alone in this unauthorized gifting of services and property to their Commissioners, we have found this across Illinois in Library Districts, Park Districts, and even in some County Boards where their board members were receiving compensation not included in the Ordinance setting their compensation.

Download (PDF, 163KB)

 

 

 




Former Tri-State Fire Trustee Micheal Orrico Charged With Crime –

DuPage Co. (ECWd) –

Justice is slow in Illinois, but at least there does appear to be hope when it comes to holding public officials accountable, and this is a perfect example of how we can make a difference.

In August of 2015, I published this article, that clearly pointed out what we believed was a violation of the law by then Tri-State Fire Protection District Trustee Micheal Orrico.  Specifically, I reported Mr. Michael Orrico sells fire equipment for Fire Service, Inc. (Fire Service Inc, Screen shot).  What did he say about his employment in his Economic Disclosure Statement for his trustee position (page 55 of the pdf)? Not a word:”

What did we say was the consequence for nondisclosure?

(5 ILCS 420/4A-107) Any person required to file a statement of economic interests under this Article who willfully files a false or incomplete statement shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.

We are proud to see that the Darien Police Department investigated this alleged crime and found the same thing that we reported!

September 13, 2016, an arrest warrant was issued for Micheal Orrico, 3510 Tyler Dr., Joliet, IL.

The charge:

Filing a False Statement of Economic Interest in violation of the following Illinois Compiled Statute 5 ILCS 420/4A-107

It’s encouraging to see enforcement of our laws against those alleged to have violated them.  Public Officials statewide should pay attention to this matter as we believe this is the FIRST time we have seen this particular law enforced and will hopefully be the beginning of holding violators accountable.

We have requested the mug shot for Orrico and will publish once received from the Darien Police Department.

You can see the numerous articles we published on the wrongdoing of now former public officials with the Tri-State Fire Protection District at this link.

Download (PDF, 2.88MB)

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Video: WAND’s Doug Wolfe Reports On Citizen Watchdogs –

DECATUR, IL. (ECWd) –

WAND  I-TEAM Reporter, Doug Wolfe:

“As newspapers struggle to survive many no longer keep an eye on tax dollars and government corruption. Citizen watchdog groups, like the Edgar County Watchdogs, fill the void.”

Reporter: Doug Wolfe Aired: November 3, 2016. WAND TV – NBC

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeKTUtwLKx0&feature=youtu.be

The WAND noon news report for 11-4-2016 is located (here).




PRESS RELEASE: Rolly Waller, Candidate, DuPage County Board, District 1

Rolly Waller 

Candidate, DuPage County Board, District 1 

630-865-5744, rollywaller@gmail.com

Date: Oct. 30, 2016

For Release: IMMEDIATE

HYPOCRISY OR FLIP FLOP? DUPAGE COUNTY BOARD CHAIRMAN DAN CRONIN  

AND MEMBER DONALD PUCHALSKI AGREED WITH COUNTY BOARD CANDIDATE ROLLY WALLER  

THAT ONE PUBLIC OFFICE WAS ENOUGH…FOUR YEARS AGO  

Dan Cronin, Nov. 7, 2012: “The message is loud and clear. We don’t want people in two offices out here.”

 BENSENVILLE, IL – DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin and Member Donald Puchalski were in agreement with County Board District 1 Candidate Rolly Waller that an individual should only hold one public office at a time…four years ago. At that time, two mayors and then-perceived adversaries of Cronin — Pete DiCianni of Elmhurst and Gary Grasso of Burr Ridge — were running for county board and announcing to maintain both positions. 

On June 26, 2012, the DuPage County Board voted unanimously to place the advisory question on the ballot countywide: Should Illinois law permit an individual to hold two or more public elected offices simultaneously? 

That same day, DuPage County issued a statement by Cronin in a press release entitled, “DuPage County Voters Will Weigh in on “Double-Dipping”: We face serious and time-consuming challenges here at the county that demands the undivided focus and commitment of each County Board member, Cronin said. Holding two elected offices at the same time simply does not allow for the level of attention needed to fully and impartially serve taxpayers of DuPage County. I believe our voters will send a clear message that one elected office per person is enough. 

On Aug. 1, 2012, just 36 days after voting in favor of the advisory question, Puchalski quietly accepted a state appointment for a second public office — the office of DuPage County Public Guardian — without stepping down from his county board position. He continues to hold three public offices — DuPage County Board Member, DuPage Public Guardian and DuPage Public Administrator. Puchalski also currently collects a government pension from his former job with the Office of the Illinois Attorney General. 

Waller says that this is a clear violation of Illinois Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act which states “no member of a county board, during the term of office for which he or she is elected, may be appointed to, accept, or hold any office”. He filed a complaint on Sept. 29, 2016 with the Office of Executive Inspector General (OEIG) which has jurisdiction over The Governor’s Office of Executive Appointments.

“The Act sees no difference between elected or appointed when it comes to additional positions a county board member shall hold. Both are illegal,” Waller says. “In fact, the advisory question on the ballot in 2012 was redundant because the Act was already in place.”

The sentiment of DuPage County officials seems to have changed in the past four years, at least when it comes to Puchalski’s trio of offices. There have been no remarks from the county board chairman, no request from the board for an opinion, and no county press releases addressing it. Regardless of the board’s opinions and silence, the law is already there and should be enforced, according to Waller.

Fifty-six-year DuPage resident and property tax payer Waller made public comment before the County Board on Oct. 25, 2016 on the matter and was immediately denounced; Cronin even allowed an unprecedented “rebuttal” by Puchalski during the public comment segment.

“In 2012, there was a consensus in the DuPage County board room that a county board member should only hold one public office at a time,” Waller says. “The advisory question back then was a hypothetical. But Puchalski’s holding of three public offices is here and has been going on for four years. No one there wants to talk about it, let alone enforce the law.” 

DuPage voters agreed overwhelmingly in 2012 that an individual shouldn’t hold two public offices at once with a vote of 335,532 to 36,956.

The Chicago Tribune article published on Nov. 7, 2012, “Voters to Politicians: Hold One Office at a Time,” quoted Cronin: The message is loud and clear, We don’t want people in two offices out here.

“When I became aware of my opponent holding three public offices, I believed this was another example of cronyism and triple dipping,” stated Waller. “I also saw this as a conflict of interest, as he, as a County Board member, votes on the funding of the Court Clerk’s office and the Circuit Court, which oversees cases and determines payments to be made to the Public Guardian and Administrator.”

Waller continued, “The more I learned and the more I researched, I realized that this was more than an ethical issue. It is a legal issue. In fact, it is illegal according to the Act. This matter goes beyond the political arena.”

The OEIG investigates state executive complaints, then decides the appropriate agency for review. Waller expects a response soon.

– 30 –   

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact Rolly Waller, 630-865-5744, rollywaller@gmail.com  See below for link for DuPage County press release, Tribune article, a copy of Waller’s 10/25/16 public comment, and video attachment of Tuesday’s DuPage County Board meeting. Additional supporting documentation available upon request.

June 26, 2012 DuPage County Board Press Release

https://www.dupageco.org/Content.aspx?id=37280

Nov. 7, 2012 Chicago Tribune article, “Voters to Politicians: Hold One Office at a Time”

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-11-07/news/ct-tl-elmhurst-doubledip-20121107_1_gary-grasso-dual-offices-board-seat

 

Rolly Waller Public Comment to DuPage County Board  10/25/16

https://youtu.be/6I3TmyIQnI8

Good morning. My name is Rolly Waller. I am a candidate for DuPage County Board, as are the majority of the people before me.

You’ve probably all heard by now that I filed a complaint with the Illinois Office of the Executive Inspector General regarding the State appointments of Don Puchalski as DuPage Public Guardian and Public Administrator.

The Illinois Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act bans county board members from holding other elected and appointed positions.

Teams of esteemed lawyers are now scrutinizing the complexity of this statement: No member of a county board, during the term of office for which he or she is elected, may be appointed to, accept, or hold any office.

This isn’t complicated. This is crystal clear.

At first I considered it a conflict of interest for Mr. Puchalski to serve on the County Board, as he votes for funding for the Circuit Court, which in turn, determines his estate fees.

Today I’m here to talk about yet another conflict of interest.

Mr. Puchalski stated: “The public guardian is not an employee of the county. I receive no salary, and my office is not, in any way, funded by the County or managed by the County Board.”

Then why is the State’s Attorney’s office defending Mr. Puchalski and his law firm associate in an ongoing probate case in the Circuit Court? 

Furthermore, our State’s Attorney’s office is keenly aware that Mr. Puchalski votes to approve funding for the law enforcer’s office. If any agency should be aware of the Prohibited Activities Act, it should be this office.

I urge the County Board to review this conflict of interest and misuse of tax dollars, and to take appropriate action.

Thank you.




College of DuPage – $388,834.98 – Money well spent!

DuPage Co. (ECWd) –

Reform is never easy nor as costly as some wanted to make people believe. The College of DuPage has been the centerpiece in the news cycles of the Chicago Suburbs for almost two years.  Finally, the released Performance Audit has validated many of the concerns raised by us and others and the behind the scenes documents are proving to be most interesting.

Of particular interest is the tally of time and cost associated with conducting the audit, which in April of 2015 the Reform Board approved the Performance Audit to be conducted.  During that meeting, Trustee Birt opined that she was told the cost could hit $850,000.00.   Trustee McGuire expressed concern of it hitting $400,000.00.

Trustee Burnstien’s comments during that meeting were almost spot on with his assessment that the expanded scope of the audit would not double the cited cost of $235,000.00.  I suggested the adding of two more years to the scope may increase that 50%. He only missed his mark by $36,000.  A clear indicator of his wisdom and business acumen on such matters, a value needed to reform this institution.

Turns out, as if anyone is surprised, Birt and McGuire were both wrong. The actual cost was $388,834.98 consisting of 6,535.3 hrs of work.  (See page 5 of 6 for the totals)

As the Reform board continues to make great strides towards reform and work towards being removed from the Probation status by the Higher Learning Commission, the legacy board continues to ignore facts laid out in the audit report.

Although there are still many issues to be resolved, such as issues with the Suburban Law Enforcement Academy and the State Law Enforcement Training Standards Board failure to ever approving a SLEA Director, progress is being made.

Stay tuned for a rolling production of articles on COD and the Reform efforts.

Download (PDF, 2.27MB)

 

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