Edgar Co. Local Governments owe the State over $166,000 in overpaid PPRT –

Edgar County, IL. (ECWd) –

The local governments in Edgar County owed the State of Illinois a total of $166,119.51 in overpayments the state made with the personal property replacement tax back in 2014.

A list of all Edgar County overpayments are below, with the School Districts, City of Paris, and County governments making up the majority of the overpayments.

There is no schedule for repayment to the state at this time.

Edgar                               EDGAR COUNTY 0231010023 20,238.31
Edgar BROCTON VILLAGE 0232400010 262.34
Edgar CHRISMAN CITY 0232400016 1,149.74
Edgar HUME VILLAGE 0232400038 55.67
Edgar KANSAS VILLAGE 0232400040 225.61
Edgar METCALF VILLAGE 0232400051 273.15
Edgar PARIS CITY 0232400063 22,667.65
Edgar REDMON VILLAGE 0232400070 24.87
Edgar VERMILION VILLAGE 0232400089 46.00
Edgar BROUILLETTS CREEK TOWNSHIP 0233020010 144.34
Edgar BUCK TOWNSHIP 0233020012 104.68
Edgar EDGAR TOWNSHIP 0233020025 323.63
Edgar ELBRIDGE TOWNSHIP 0233020027 929.25
Edgar EMBARRASS TOWNSHIP 0233020029 104.68
Edgar GRANDVIEW TOWNSHIP 0233020033 85.74
Edgar HUNTER TOWNSHIP 0233020038 46.00
Edgar KANSAS TOWNSHIP 0233020040 495.43
Edgar PARIS TOWNSHIP 0233020063 2,574.50
Edgar PRAIRIE TOWNSHIP 0233020068 229.76
Edgar ROSS TOWNSHIP 0233020073 714.04
Edgar SHILOH TOWNSHIP 0233020077 206.35
Edgar STRATTON TOWNSHIP 0233020082 159.95
Edgar SYMMES TOWNSHIP 0233020084 303.55
Edgar YOUNG AMERICA TOWNSHIP 0233020095 456.09
Edgar BROCTON FPD 0235100082 129.87
Edgar CHRISMAN FPD 0235100131 400.10
Edgar HUME FPD 0235100322 93.13
Edgar KANSAS FPD 0235100336 311.02
Edgar METCALF FPD 0235100434 133.94
Edgar PARIS FPD 0235100533 1,998.13
Edgar PARIS-UNION UNIT SCH 95 0237250950 35,496.18
Edgar SHILOH CUSD  1 0237260010 25,175.03
Edgar KANSAS CUSD 3 0237260030 7,024.88
Edgar PARIS CUSD 4 0237260040 14,682.31
Edgar EDGAR COUNTY CUSD 6 0237260060 17,032.98
Edgar BROUILLETS CRK TWP RD & BRIDGE 0239020010 205.61
Edgar BUCK TWP ROAD & BRIDGE 0239020012 102.40
Edgar EDGAR TWP ROAD & BRIDGE 0239020025 581.57
Edgar ELBRIDGE TWP ROAD & BRIDGE 0239020027 2,072.33
Edgar EMBARRASS TWP ROAD & BRIDGE 0239020029 394.90
Edgar GRANDVIEW TWP ROAD & BRIDGE 0239020033 158.07
Edgar HUNTER TWP ROAD & BRIDGE 0239020038 154.42
Edgar KANSAS TWP ROAD & BRIDGE 0239020040 634.65
Edgar PARIS TWP ROAD & BRIDGE 0239020063 4,008.44
Edgar PRAIRIE TWP ROAD & BRIDGE 0239020068 264.61
Edgar ROSS TWP ROAD & BRIDGE 0239020073 1,028.73
Edgar SHILOH TWP ROAD & BRIDGE 0239020077 600.11
Edgar STRATTON TWP ROAD & BRIDGE 0239020082 272.42
Edgar SYMMES TWP ROAD & BRIDGE 0239020084 308.01
Edgar YOUNG AMERICA TWP RD & BRIDGE 0239020095 1,034.34

IL-Leaks




Lake Land College Employee Terminated, Charged With Theft –

MATTOON, IL. (ECWd) –

This is a common situation that we discover time and time again in nearly every public body we look at.
We saw this in:

-DeWitt County Probation Office (here),
-Arcola Township (here),
-Edgar County Housing Authority (here),
-Edgar County ETSB,
-Ford-Iroquois Public Health Department,
-Effingham County Public Health Department,
-East Central Illinois Mass Transit District (here),
-Paris City Council (here),
-and even with the Mayor of Paris (here) and (here).

ALL of them constitutional violations and felonious actions left unprosecuted.

What makes this particular incident unusual is that apparently the LLC Trustees informed the Coles County State’s Attorney, who is actually pressing charges. Go figure…that is what appears to be uncommon in this case.

Without further comment, here is the article from the jg-tc.com website:

JG-TC: Officials announced Friday that a Lake Land College employee who was dismissed Thursday was arrested for allegedly using a college credit card for personal purchases.

Tammy Boeser was arrested on suspicion of theft, according to a news release that the college and the Coles County State’s Attorney’s Office issued jointly.

Boeser is charged with making personal purchases with a college credit card over roughly a four-year period, State’s Attorney Brian Bower said Friday. He said the charge alleges the theft of at least $10,000 but the investigation is continuing and an exact amount hasn’t been determined.

The release also said the college has made changes to its purchasing and credit card procedures.

Continue reading at jg-tc.com …(click here)




Edgar County Housing Authority – HUD Flip-Flops On Advice

EDGAR CO. (ECWd) –

In a previous article, we briefly discussed the Housing Commissioners lack of response to questions submitted in reference to certain funds and how the money was spent. These questions were originally sent on September 11, 2012 – almost 4 months ago! We discussed how they sat silent during the November 21, 2012 meeting, insisting their response of “no response” was sufficient.

December 19, 2012 Meeting

At the December 19, 2012 Housing Authority meeting, it was clear they had made a decision to route everything through their attorney – the same one with a Housing Authority credit card – and have him provide the information to us. As a matter of fact, the statement was made that it should only take a “couple of days” to provide us with the information requested. It is now 10 working days (Jan 5, 2013) after that meeting, with still no response from the Housing Authority.

The Statute

You have read this before, but it is worth repeating – The Illinois Housing Authorities Act, 310 ILCS 10/, is the law governing the power and authorities of Public Housing Authorities in the State of Illinois – Paragraph 7 defines the compensation and allowances Housing Authority Commissioners are authorized by law to receive:

(310 ILCS 10/7) (from Ch. 67 1/2, par. 7)
    Sec. 7. No commissioner shall receive any compensation, whether in form of salary, per diem allowances or otherwise, for or in connection with his services as a commissioner, except that the Housing Authority in any municipality having over 500,000 inhabitants may establish by resolution a reasonable salary or per diem allowance for the services of the commissioner who serves as chairman, and except that in an Authority created by a municipality or a county having over 25,000 inhabitants the corporate authorities of the municipality or county may establish a reasonable per diem allowance for the services of commissioners, to be paid by the municipality or county from funds budgeted by the corporate or county authorities for that purpose. Each commissioner shall, however, be entitled to reimbursement out of funds available therefor, for any necessary expenditures in connection with the performance of his general duties or in connection with the construction or operation of any project. The Authority may allocate such expenses among its projects in a manner as it may consider proper. An Authority created by a municipality or county having over 25,000 inhabitants may also provide for the reimbursement, from funds of the Authority, of any travel expenses incurred by the commissioners for travel in connection with their duties.
(Source: P.A. 87‑200; 87‑657.)

Analysis of Paragraph 7

– “No commissioner shall receive any compensation, whether in the form of salary, per diem allowances, or otherwise, for or in connection with his services as commisssioner,…”   This sentence is pretty much self explainatory and the legislative intent is clear.

–  Counties or municipalities having over 500,000 inhabitants may pay a salary for the commissioner who serves as chairman – does not apply to Edgar County Housing Authority.

–  Counties or municipalities having over 25,000 inhabitants may pay per diem to the commissioners – does not apply to Edgar County Housing Authority.

– Each commissioner shall be entitled to reimbursement for any neccessary expenditures in connection with the performance of his general duties… – This is saying that if a commissioner expends monies, ie: buys printer paper, ice melt, etc. for the Housing Authority – then he is allowed reimbursement for those expenses  – this should not be confused with per diem. This applies to all Housing Authorities.

–  Counties or municipalities having over 25,000 inhabitants may provide for reimbursement of any travel expenses incured by commissioners in the connection with their duties. – does not apply to Edgar County Housing Authority.

Summary of Paragraph 7 

The population of Edgar County is less than 25,000, therefore the first sentence in paragraph 7 applies with respect to everything except “neccessary expenditures”:  No commissioner shall receive any compensation, whether in the form of salary, per diem allowances, or otherwise, for or in connection with his services as commisssioner,…  

This means that the commissioners of the Edgar County Housing Authority cannot receive any compensation, per diem or otherwise. This would include mileage to meetings, and all expense paid trips every year to the Housing Authority Association Conferences – none of this is authorized!

Guidance From HUD – U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Developement

In an attempt at getting guidance from the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO), Mr. Hollis sent an email to his Illinois NAHRO representative, and then finally an email to Linda Eller from the Chicago HUD Office asking for guidance.

Linda Eller responded with (click here to read the emails):

“According to our Legal Division, the Board of Commissioners can be reimbursed for travel expenses, even if the municipality or county has less than 25,000 inhabitants.”

Wow, that’s a pretty bold statement from a HUD representative and apparently from the HUD Legal Department! Sounds pretty cut-and-dry doesn’t it? – Not so fast!!!!

 HUD Flip-Flops When Asked To Put It In Writing

On the surface, it appeared to be a legitimate response. But within the past 18 months or so, I have come to the point of verifying any information received, so I sent an email to Linda Eller (click here to read email) asking for the contact information of the person in their Legal Department who made this decision. I also advised her that my intent was to obtain this advice in writing from their legal department.

Advice changed when asked to put it in writing! The response given to my email was a complete reversal of their initial response, and apparently Mr. Richardson from the legal department (?), directed Linda Eller to reply with this:

“After receiving your email, and after further discussion with our management staff, I was directed by Mr. Richardson to issue the following: The Housing Authorities Act (310 ILCS 10) from the Illinois Compiled Statutes supersedes the Title 24 Code of Federal Regulations as it relates to reimbursement for travel expenses for Commissioners. The Housing Authority was established by the County of Edgar, under Illinois law.”

Their “Legal Division” was not mentioned in this reply – makes me wonder if the “legal division” was even contacted in the first place…

Now the HUD has reversed their initial advice on reimbursement to commissioners – so we are back to where we started from, and the point of our first allegation, that the commissioners of the Edgar County Housing Authority cannot receive any compensation, per diem or otherwise.

Mileage Reimbursements Paid To Commissioners

Now that it is clear the Edgar County Housing Authority (ECHA) Commissioners cannot be given per diem, or mileage, to attend meetings, you would think they would write a check and pay the money back to the housing authority. The amount they were given, in violation of the law, just this year is almost $520 total, (click to view document) to attend meetings. Some of these mileage claims are fraudulent claims, that if proven fraudulent (and we can prove it) could result in felony charges of false claims, submittion of false reports, accepting fraudulent payments, and official misconduct, among other things – we’ll talk about those claims in another article. 

Whatever the motive may have been, all of these payments should be immediately recovered from the commissioners.

 “The Conference” In Florida

Attendance at the NAHRO Association conference in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida in January of 2012 costs the Edgar County Housing Authority well over $10,000. Of that $10,000, only the housing authority director was authorized by law to be reimbursed for expenses – this leaves about $8000 that needs paid back to the housing authority! (click here to view the documents)

Then you have to add the FACT that public credit was used for personal benefit, such as charging spouses airline tickets, charging spouses luggage fees, paying spouses entry fees into the conference, I could go on forever… These are in violation of Article VIII of the Constitution of the State of Illinois – “Public funds, property, or credit shall be used only for public purposes“, – violations are considered felonies.

The commissioners also received $600 each for “expenses” while they were in Florida – it was paid in December 2011, so I am assuming it was for the Florida trip and not an illegal Christmas present. Even their attorney, Rob Anderson, received a $600 check – you would think he would know better, but I guess not.

It was worse during the 2011 Conference, but that will be a different article.

More To Come!

Apparently there are 48 other housing authorities in Illinois operating in counties or municipalities with under 25,000 inhabitants – and they are all doing the same thing!

Future articles will expand on at least one commissioner with an incompatible office, fraudulent mileage claims, some spouse credit card charges not reimbursed, contract conflicts with an employee, catered Thanksgiving and Christmas parties on your dime, and other items.

Update-1




ECHA: Credit Card Use For Spouses –

EDGAR CO. (ECWd) –

“Public Funds”

Public funds, property or credit shall be used only for public purposes (Il. Const., Art. VIII, Section 1 (a)). Time and time again, we run into people that cannot figure out they do not have the authority to use public credit for non-public use.

With the Edgar County Housing Authority (ECHA), this paragraph doesn’t seem to exist. The documents below show a myriad of charges made to the ECHA public credit card within the past year.

These purchases show up on the November credit card statement.

$228.80 – Airline ticket for spouse of commissioner

$25.00 – Agent fee for spouse airline ticket (half of the $50 charge)
$170.00 – Commissioner Spouse registration fee

$170.00 – Commissioner Spouse registration fee

$143.74 – Hotel at Indianapolis Airport for Commissioner and Spouse

$387.10 – Airline ticket for ECHA contracted Attorney

$80.66 – Hotel for ECHA contracted Attorney

$744.75 – Hotel for ECHA contracted Attorney

$76.04 – Hotel at Indianapolis Airport

Granted, some of this has been reimbursed to the Housing Authority, and we will publish what has and has not been reimbursed – but that does not negate the fact that the act of using the public credit is considered a felony. If you don’t believe us, ask the former Mayor of Pekin, IL. People v. Howard, 228 Ill.2d 428 (2008)

View the Credit Card Statement here.

Download (PDF, Unknown)





Edgar County Housing Authority – “No Action taken” –

EDGAR CO. (ECWd) –

We have been looking at the Edgar County Housing Authority (ECHA) for over six months now, trying to get a feel for how they are using the Public Funds given them. The employees working there are doing an outstanding job and are an asset to the Authority residents and to the citizens of our fine County. The place always appears to be well kept.

This article is geared more towards those in charge, the commissioners and director, as they are the ones burdened with setting the example for their employees and tenants to follow. If they can’t follow the law, how can they expect others to follow it?

Commissioners Took An Oath

An Oath is a contract to uphold the laws of this state and the laws pertaining to their positions – there must be consequences for willfully breaching this contract – anything else is solidifying the Culture of Acceptance citizens of this county have become accustomed to. Holding a Public Office is, or should be, an honor. Public officials take an oath, and that oath has to mean something – it has to count for something! – for the breaking of that oath is the breaking of a contract and sacred trust.

A few things immediately stood out :

All the Housing Commissioners, and the attorney, are issued credit cards.

Housing Authority credit cards were use to purchase items for spouses of the commissioners.

Commissioners, and their attorney, were paid to go to conferences in Florida: $600.00 up front, plus: flights, hotels, food, taxis.

Large amounts of catering occurred just prior to Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Employees were allowed to contract with the Housing Authority.

Abuse of Housing Authority vehicles.

Commissioners paid mileage to attend meetings.

There are more, but these are the items worthy of attention and we will elaborate on each of them.

“No Action Taken”

In the interest of fairness, and thinking we might have missed something or were looking at the wrong statute,  we did submit a list of questions, prior to their September 2012 meeting, for the housing board to answer and we were expecting answers – but instead a “no action taken” was entered into their October 2012 meeting minutes. So, for the record, we did seek their advice or opinion on these issues; in writing and during the November 21, 2012 Housing Authority Meeting we attended.

No Commissioner Shall Receive Any Compensation…

 As we always do, we first look to the statute governing the public body we are concerned with. In this case it is the Housing Authority Act, 310 ILCS 10.

We did a quick scan for duties and responsibilities of the commissioners that are appointed by our county board, and we know they’ve (county board) done a stellar job with their appointments in the past…Housing Authority Commissioners are the same as trustees or board members in other public bodies.

(310 ILCS 10/7)(from Ch. 67 1/2, par. 7)
Sec. 7. No commissioner shall receive any compensation, whether in form of salary, per diem allowances or otherwise, for or in connection with his services as a commissioner...

What a paragraph that one is! My non-attorney mind tells me, upon reading it, that NO commissioner can receive ANY compensation. Period. End of story.

There are, of course, two exceptions for this rule: The first exception is for authorities in municipalities or counties with a population of over 500,000, and the second exception is for authorities in municipalities or counties with a population of over 25,000. Since the population of Edgar County is below both of those thresholds, the exceptions do not apply to the Edgar County Housing Authority.

-That should just about take care of the fact that the Commissioners were paid to go to conferences in Florida: $600.00 up front, plus: flights, hotels, food, taxis. That sure looks like “compensation, per diem allowances or otherwise,” to us.

-As far as the commissioner getting paid mileage to attend housing authority meetings – that is considered compensation and is not allowed.

Felonious Use Of Public Credit Cards…

-Then we have to consider that the Housing Authority credit cards were used, by the commissioners, to purchase items for their spouses. This act is considered a felony in Illinois, whether it’s paid back or not.

Article VIII, Constitution of the State of Illinois:
(a)  Public funds, property or credit shall be used only for 
public purposes.

Why is it that so many public officials and employees, especially in Edgar County and the City of Paris, cannot comprehend those eleven words?

What goes through their minds when they whip out the trusty ole gub’ment credit card to pay for things they are not allowed to buy?

Why is nobody held accountable?

What happened in this case, is using the PUBLIC credit cards before and during the conference in Florida, where items not used for public purpose were purchased. Yes, they did reimburse the Housing Authority, but it is still a violation of Article VIII of the Illinois Constitution (the City of Paris knows all about that pesky little Article).

Catered Dinners?

In November and December of 2011, there were two large purchases of catered food, totaling over $700 each month. I presume these were for Thanksgiving and Christmas parties for the commissioners and staff of the Authority. That is also considered compensation.

*******The board refused to comment on these catering bills – which, in our experience, usually means they know it was wrong and will not admit it.******

Abuse of Public Property

Housing Authority vehicles are Public property, so we look back to the constitution for guidance:

Article VIII, Constitution of the State of Illinois:
(a)  Public funds, property or credit shall be used only 
for public purposes.

What do you know, property misuse is also a violation of Article VIII in this state. Using an Authority vehicle for personal errands, and for attending to your private business, is misuse and abuse of public property in direct violation the Article VIII.

I drove past a local business several times, at different times of the day, whenever I happened to be in Paris. While driving past, I noticed a truck parked there with municipal license plates. I decided to find out what public body owned the vehicle. It turned out it was a Housing Authority vehicle, so I snapped a few pictures.

Kudos to the Director and Commissioners for taking action on this! They have instituted a new “Vehicle Use Policy” to put a stop to this type of misuse. Let’s hope they monitor it from time to time.

Service Contracts With Employees

The ECHA has an employee that also “contracts” or otherwise gets paid to perform work for the ECHA at his private business.

We believe this “contract” would be for cleaning window blinds, etc., but the Board would not answer this question.

Sponsorship  of a Paris junior League Team

The ECHA has used Public Funds to sponsor a junior league sports team.

Just Getting Started

This was just a quick scan of public documents we received from the ECHA – I’m sure there is more.

What makes this different from other county organizations is that this one receives its money from Federal Grants.

So in addition to violating the very act that governs the housing authority, it might have used federal money to violate the law.

Rest assured, this is only the first of several articles on the ECHA; future articles will expand on each individual item above (and then some more), with names, and provide the documents obtained from the Housing Authority for your viewing.