Coles County “Commercial Assessor” is actually a Contractor – not an Employee –

COLES CO., IL. (ECWd) –

Coles County “Commercial Assessor” is actually a Contractor – not an Employee, and has never been properly contracted with, nor properly appointed.

We now have positive proof that the Commercial Assessor, Robert Becker, used by the Supervisor of Assessments in Mattoon Township is not an “employee” of the SOA and never has been. He is a “contractor” performing the work of the SOA, in which neither the SOA nor the county board had the authority to contract with.

At the April 2017 Coles County Board meeting, the State’s Attorney, County Board Chairman, and Supervisor of Assessments, all claimed several things when questioned on Becker’s authority to conduct assessments, the board’s authority to contract with him, and the SOA’s authority to contract or hire him as an employee.

During public comment, the following happened:

  • The claim was made that there never was a “contract” with Becker, and therefore he could not be a “contractor”
  • The claim was made that his submission of, and the board’s approval of, a “proposal”, was exactly that – approval “of the submission of” the proposal by Becker and did not constitute a contract nor acceptance of the conditions contained in the proposal
  • The SOA and SA claimed Becker was hired as an employee of the SOA’s office

Here are the problems with the above statements made by Coles County officials:

  • The county previously claimed, or alluded to his proposal being a contract and even provided a copy of it when asked for the contract – only when we wrote about the SOA not having statutory authority to contract with someone to perform her statutory duty did the county’s story change
  • When asked about Becker’s employment status or part-time or full-time, the SOA said “part-time” – however, the SOA does not have the statutory authority to hire (appoint) any employees without first obtaining “advice and consent” from the county board
  • Additionally, the board has to set any SOA employee compensation – the county board never advised and consented to Becker’s hire (appointment) and never set his compensation
  • Becker uses software purchased by the county, he uses a county computer to access the software, and uses the computer in an office owned by the county
  • Becker “invoices” the county for work performed – Do employees invoice their employers? No.
  • Becker received IRS Form 1099, which annotates “nonemployee compensation” – is that the proper reporting to the IRS for employees of a public body? No.
  • There are certain statutory provisions spelling out who has statutory authority to conduct assessments (see this article)

Click to enlarge

Kind of makes us wonder what excuses will come next…
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Carlinville Park District joins three others in complying with law –

CARLINVILLE, IL. (ECWd) –

Carlinville Park District has joined the ranks of three other park districts in Illinois to live up to  Illinois Park District Code’s standard of “shall act as such without compensation” as defined in Section 4-1 of the Park District Code.

Pic from CPD Facebook page

Previously, during the course of our work, we had identified three other Park Districts in Illinois, the Clark County Park District, the Arthur Park District, and the Effingham Park District, who have chosen to eliminate all perks and benefits given to commissioners, past commissioners, and their family members.

After some back-and-forth discussions and several requests for information thru the Freedom Of Information Act, we finally received the answer to a question posed to the Carlinville Park District Director, and it was: “Do any commissioners, past commissions, or their family members, currently receive or have received discounted and/or free use of park facilities, buildings, parks, sporting leagues, swimming pools, sports centers, tools, equipment, or anything else not listed?”

Commissioner Robert Duckels responded to the question with an in-depth response, which included, in part, the following:

The answer to your question is yes, there is one example of this.  At times, then-current (not past) commissioners have received a registration fee waiver for their children participating in a youth sports league such as soccer, baseball or softball.  There is no “policy” reflecting this, but it is a practice that has taken place from time to time over the years, though I am not sure how far back it goes.   

I took some time to review your website to learn more about your group.  In doing so, I read several articles about park district commissioners in other towns receiving discounted or free use of facilities, such as lifetime passes to municipal golf courses.  So I understand why you are seeking this information.  I note that in those articles you have called for the park districts with those policies to abandon them as in your view it is inconsistent with 70 ILCS 1205/4-1.  While I disagree with your interpretation of that statutory provision, the Park District nonetheless agrees that the better practice is to discontinue providing the above-described registration fee waivers for youth athletics.   That will take effect immediately.   

From all indications, this park district has taken the rights steps to be in full compliance with what we believe was the legislative intent of Section 4-1 of the Park District Code, and should be commended for this action.

While it is fine to agree to disagree with the language and intent of Section 4-1, no perks or benefits will be provided, which is all we asked.

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Carlinville Refuses to answer FOIA requests from 3 more people –

CARLINVILLE, IL. (ECWd) –

Mayor Deanna Demuzio’s leadership is a complete failure. She gets an “F” in transparency and an “F” in leadership. The Carlinville FOIA Officer, Carla Brockmeier, gets an “F” in compliance with the law.

Demuzio, as Mayor of the city, directs the city attorneys and has apparently failed to direct the current attorneys in their responsibilities to comply with state law.

Brockmeier, as the City Clerk and FOIA Officer, is her duty to comply with the law, and since there has been no compliance, the FOIA Officer has failed to perform her statutory duties.

We have received information from three separate individual FOIA requesters showing the City of Carlinville has refused to answer their requests for public records. One was an anonymous request, one from some guy in South Jacksonville, IL., and another from a Paris, Illinois resident. All three have indicated to us that they have also filed a complaint with the Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor on Carlinville’s noncompliance. It looks like these requesters were looking for some of the same records I requested and never received.

Every resident of Carlinville should ask the Demuzio and Brockmeier what they have, that is so damning, that they have to keep secret from the prying eyes of the public. They should also ask, if “there is nothing to find,” why won’t they produce the requested records? The city didn’t even bother to ask for more time, which FOIA allows when compliance would create a burden on the public body – so by their failure to ask for more time, it is evident there is no burden.

Unfortunately, this will create more legal fees for Carlinville taxpayers to pay; the city attorney must have found a new avenue to create revenue for himself.

At some point, this will cease to become a simple non-compliance with the Freedom Of Information Act issue, and morph into possible felony concealment of public records as provided for in the Local Public Records Act, which might be considered the “sister” statute to the FOIA, only that the LPRA provides for criminal penalties.

[50 ILCS 205] Sec. 4. (a) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (b) of this Section, all public records made or received by, or under the authority of, or coming into the custody, control or possession of any officer or agency shall not be mutilated, destroyed, transferred, removed or otherwise damaged or disposed of, in whole or in part, except as provided by law. Any person who knowingly, without lawful authority and with the intent to defraud any party, public officer, or entity, alters, destroys, defaces, removes, or conceals any public record commits a Class 4 felony. 

An argument could be made that complete, repeated, and willful non-compliance with the FOIA is “without lawful authority” and intended to defraud the party requesting the information from access to the information, and through their noncompliance have, in fact, “concealed” those requested public records – which if proven in Court is a Class 4 Felony. Felony convictions committed in the course of performance of their duty results in ouster from office and forfeiture of IMRF retirement benefits. The Official Misconduct statute might come into play also, as they appear to be knowingly and willfully failing to perform a mandatory duty.

I predict more lawsuits in Carlinville’s immediate future.
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City of Carlinville fails to answer summons in FOIA lawsuit –

CARLINVILLE, IL. (ECWd) –

Update 4-28-2017: Carlinville filed an answer to the Complaint with the Macoupin Circuit Clerk’s Office today, April 28, 2017.

According to the Macoupin County Circuit Clerk’s information in the Judici database, the City of Carlinville has failed to answer the Summons served on the City Clerk on March 22, 2017. This summons was for the FOIA lawsuit I filed against them.

It was a “30 day” summons requiring an answer within 30 days of service.

This comes as no surprise since this city has shown it has a real problem complying with statutory timelines.

Prior to this, the city had failed to answer four Freedom of Information Act requests that I submitted, and also failed to answer the Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor’s (“PAC”) letters of inquiry within the statutory 7-day timeline for response.

The Electoral Board Attorney did provide some of the requested records which may be the subject of this lawsuit, but that does not dismiss the required answering of summons.

I am starting to think there might be something in the water prohibiting deadline compliance…

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Clark County Park Board Voids Leased Lot Agreement –

CLARK CO., IL. (ECWd) –

During a Special Meeting of the Clark County Park District Board of Commissioners, held April 25, 2017, the Board voted to declare the lease agreement for Lot #6 to be Void and worthy of no further discussion. We thank them for that decision.

At issue, was whether the “lot lease” (after the amended lease agreement was voted down during a motion to reconsider at the previous meeting) even needed continued discussion after it was apparent the proposed leaseholder was basically coerced into attempting to lease the lot through veiled threats of losing her dock lease unless she forked out the money for the adjacent lot.

It’s pretty sad when the only lot someone “wants” to lease, was only discussed because the proposed leaseholder was basically threatened with the withholding of other official action if this lot was not leased by her. Yes, that scenario meets the definition of felony intimidation [720 ICLS 5/12-6(a) and (a)(6)] by an elected official if it turns out that intimidation, threats, and arm-twisting was used by the previous board.

Some Commissioners appeared to have a hard time realizing elections have consequences, and the actions of elected boards are either validated or vilified through the election process. In the case of this park district, the new board openly campaigned on their disapproval of the district attempting to lease lots in a newly created subdivision on park district property. They should look at these election results as their mandate to rid the district of the idea of a subdivision created on public recreational property, place it back in use for the public as recreational property, and ensure it remains as such.

In our opinion, their next step should be to vacate the subdivision plat as provided for in the Illinois Plat Act.

 (765 ILCS 205/6) (from Ch. 109, par. 6)
    Sec. 6. Any plat may be vacated by the owner of the premises at any time before the sale of any lot therein, by a written instrument to which a copy of the plat is attached, declaring it to be vacated...

There was also considerable discussion of who had the authority to approve and sign dock leases. Some Commissioners insisted the executive director held that authority according to district policy. We insisted the board itself held sole approval authority thru the statutory requirements found in Section 4-6 of the Park District Code.

Sec. 4-6. No member of the board of any park district, nor any person, whether in the employ of said board or otherwise, shall have power to create any debt, obligation, claim or liability, for or on account of said park district, or the monies or property of the same, except with the express authority of said board conferred at a meeting thereof and duly recorded in a record of its proceedings.

The sticking point, in our opinion, is the definition of “express authority”, with some members thinking “general permission” granted to the director is equal to “express authority” granted by the board for each individual dock lease. If general permission was the only requirement, why would our legislature place “express” authority in the statute? It is there for a reason.

https://youtu.be/2M9uQFd3nf8

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Whiteside County Airport Board Chairman and another member resign –

WHITESIDE CO., IL. (ECWd) –

Within a week of our attendance at the Whiteside County Airport Board meeting, the Chairman and another board member tendered their resignations.

Board Chairman Stan Domack, the subject of a previous video proclaiming that “Rules and regulations are a bunch of crap,” resigned on April 18th, and board member John Zaeske, also in the video wearing sunglasses, resigned the following Monday.

According to the Sauk Valley Online Newspaper, Whiteside County Board Chairman Jim Duffy plans on appointing two new members at the county board’s May 16th meeting so they can attend the May 18 airport board meeting as members of that board.

Our previous articles on Whiteside County Airport (here) discuss what we believe to be the illegal hiring of a private attorney to conduct the statutory duties of the Whiteside County State’s Attorney, which will publish a more in-depth article on when we gather further information.

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Carlinville fails to answer another Attorney General inquiry, still hiding records

CARLINVILLE, IL. (ECWd) –

In a direct reflection of Mayor Deanna Demuzio’s incompetence in seeking out legal advice, her chosen attorneys are failing to assist her in complying with the law – unless maybe she is directing them to ignore the law?

In yet another apparent willful disregard of the Freedom of Information Act, the attorney who receives this information from the AG, Mr. Dan Schuering, has failed to respond.

The AG’s PAC sent a second letter requesting the city respond to a request for review of the city’s failure to comply with the FOIA within 5 working days after receiving a request for public records.

The city claims it sent the records to me on a CD (in early April), which never arrived and they obviously didn’t track the letter, then they claimed to have sent it again last Tuesday (which has mysteriously never arrived and fallen into the same black hole as the previous CD mailer).

Now the city didn’t bother to respond to the AG PAC’s letter of inquiry as the law requires of them.

This is how public officials act when they are trying to hide things from the public. There can be no other reason.

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Auditor General Frank Mautino implicated by Federal Special Master Report to the Federal Courts

Illinois (ECWd)

Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino was cherry picked to hold a 10-year government position that has the oversite investigative power to include subpoena power in the State of Illinois like none other, next to the Attorney General.  He is not an auditor by trade so the question has always been, why Mautino?

What better way to protect the kingdom than appoint a guy like Mautino to be the top Watchdog of our State Agencies.  It is truly putting the fox in the hen house, except in this case, there is no need to worry about fences, traps, or any other predator snooping in your chicken coop because it is all controlled and managed by the political elite.

Yesterday’s Federal filing of the Fifth report of the Speical Master in the Shakman case sheds significant light as to why Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino must immediately resign.

The Shakman case was brought to the federal courts in 1969 against the Democratic Organization of Cook County. Although that case was closed in 1969, there are still continued updates to the courts as it relates to patronage hirings and the most recent report names Illinois Auditor Frank Mautino Seventeen times.  He appears to be in good company as Mike Madigan’s name also appears seventeen times.

From the report, its clear, former State Representative Frank Mautino used his close ties to then Governor Quinn to be a party to patronage hiring.  That action alone deems him unfit to hold any office in our opinion, let alone the office of Auditor General of this state.

  • A June 30, 2010 internal IDOT email regarding [Staff Asst. 13] stated, “Govs office called about [Staff Asst. 13] have Frank [Mautino] call if u can.”
  • [Staff Asst. 13], who was sponsored by State Representative Frank Mautino. [Staff Asst. 13] was initially hired as a 60-Day Emergency Hire and then became a full-time TMII on August 2, 2010.

Additionally, many Staff Assistants had connections to or were sponsored by legislators, elected officials, and politicians. Kayla Crowther (State Rep. Frank Mautino)”

“Amy Grivetti-Pikul (State Sen. Patrick Welch; State Rep. Frank Mautino) [hired in 2003];”

[Staff Asst. 13] was sponsored by Illinois State Representative Frank Mautino, and the Governor’s Office helped her obtain a Rutan-exempt Staff Assistant position at IDOT. June and July 2010 emails revealed discussions between the Governor’s Office and Representative Mautino about [Staff Asst. 13]. After [Staff Asst. 13] was appointed to Rutan-covered temporary positions at IDOT from January to July 2010, she was hired as a Rutan-exempt TM II Staff Assistant on August 2, 2010. She subsequently moved into a Rutan-covered position, for which she was the sole candidate interviewed. [Staff Asst. 13]’s background was as an administrative assistant at a bank for four months and as a server at restaurants during college. As a TM II Staff Assistant, [Staff Asst. 13]’s duties included: working as an administrative assistant, completing financial reports, making spreadsheets, assembling personnel documents, and responding to constituent services requests.

Illinois State Representative Frank Mautino sponsored [Staff Asst. 46], and the Governor’s Office helped [Staff Asst. 46] secure a Rutan-exempt Staff Assistant position at IDOT. The Governor’s Office communicated with Representative Mautino about [Staff Asst. 46]’s ePAR for a Staff Assistant position in December 2010. Hansen Anderson pushed for the ePAR to be approved quickly and referred to it as “time sensitive.” [Staff Asst. 46]’s ePAR was for a Staff Assistant position in IDOT District 1; however, the District 1 Administrative Manager did not have [Staff Asst. 46]’s resume prior to his hire and did not know where to place [Staff Asst. 46]. [Staff Asst. 46] started as a Rutan-exempt TM III Staff Assistant at IDOT on January 5, 2011. [Staff Asst. 46]’s background was working for a trucking company as an operations manager, a line leader, a route driver, and warehouse supervisor. (See Chronology at 12/17/10, 12/28/10, 1/3/11). Per his TM III Staff Assistant evaluations, [Staff Asst. 46]’s duties included: monitoring service contracts and expenditures for equipment repairs, compiling budget reports and records, maintaining inventory records, entering data, processing purchases, and tracking vehicle mileage.

So not only was Mautino a party to patronage hiring, he had no problem with them getting positions that they were not qualified to hold, much like himself in his current position. “Ghost rider, the pattern is clear”; Our laws have little value because our top public servants ignore them and we have no one holding them accountable in this Kingdom known as Illinois.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Mautino stated: “I was very selective in allowing my name to be used or giving a letter of reference for them. They had to fit the job.”  May we suggest comparing that quote to the actual report, which makes it clear these people did not fit the job they obtained, which points to Mautino not being honest.

Outside of 10 State Representatives that voted against the Mautino appointment, our General Assembly failed the citizens of this state.  Mautino, according to the report, had a clear involvement in patronage hiring practices. Add that to the ongoing case involving a check-cashing scheme with his campaign money you would think at some point a majority of our elected State Representatives would be demanding they take action to immediately remove Frank Mautino.  Not to mention this state does not need an Auditor General who violates our Freedom of Information laws and has now invoked his Fifth Amendment rights, as it appears his campaign spending habits may well be a criminal act, which is currently being investigated by the US Attorney’s office.

Mautino’s shaded past and current actions prove he will always operate in his best interest, not the best interest of the state.  Only in Illinois can we have an Auditor General that has pled the fifth as it relates to his campaign spending, admitted to violating the Freedom of Information Act by withholding public records, and now, being named in a Federal Report to the courts as an active participate to patronage hiring in this state.

Yes, only in Illinois could such a person keep their job.

Download (PDF, 1.1MB)

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Cashed Checks? Loan Payments? Fraudulent reporting? Do the Federal authorities know the truth?

 Illinois (ECWd)

The D2 filing for Frank Mautino’s campaign reflected a lot of loan payments for loans that did not exist according to the paperwork.  In reviewing the Joe & Harry payments some of those loan checks jumped out at me.

Loan Payments, which we have covered extensively with the limited documentation available at the time, is even more concerning now that we can see the checks written.

  • 8-31-2015 D-2 reporting“Principal Payment” – Spring Valley Bank – $10,000; The Check was written for $10,374.24 however it was not a “Principal Payment” as reflected in the D2 report.  Spring Valley Bank information reflect this check was cashed. Why the discrepancy on the check written and the reporting on the D2?  Where did all this money really go?  Why did the D2 not show the $374.24 above the $10K figure reported?
  • 8-30-2015 D-2 reporting“Principal Payment” – Spring Valley Bank – $10,000; The Check was written for $5,457.82 however, it was not a “Principal Payment” as reflected in the D2 report.  Spring Valley Bank information reflect this check was cashed. Why the discrepancy on the check written and the reporting on the D2?  Where did all this money really go?  Why did the D2 show the $457.82 as an interest payment when the check was actually cashed?
  • 8-30-2010 D-2 reporting“Principal Payment” – Spring Valley Bank – $8,000; The Check was written for $8,290.40 however, it was not a “Principal Payment” as reflected in the D2 report.  Spring Valley Bank information reflect this check was cashed. Why the discrepancy on the check written and the reporting on the D2?  Where did all this money really go?  Why did the D2 not show the $290.40 above the $8K figure reported?

Although prior D2 reporting reflects thousands more in loan payments, it appears the Spring Valley Bank did not provide records prior to September of 2009 as it relates to the current campaign expenditure complaint against Mautino.  We do not know if those records have been captured by the Federal Authorities or not but suspect if the check cashing scheme and reporting irregularities are the same for those, Mautino may be facing a very serious problem.  We suspect that is, in fact, the case in light of him invoking his Fifth Amendment right. The pattern we see in the three payments we do have records for may well be consistent with prior payment reporting.

In this article we closed with this statement; Bottom line appears to be there is a substantial difference in loan payments versus loans received.

Now, after obtaining the actual checks, we see a difference in the reporting of claimed loans compared to the checks written.  Interestingly, the checks point to it not being a loan payment at all as these checks were cashed.

Does anyone cash a check to make a loan payment instead of just making the check out for the loan payment?  Who makes payments beyond the loans taken out?

These transactions and their reporting are highly suspicious and point to fraudulent reporting and possible money laundering if these cashed checks were not used as actual loan payments.

One can only wonder when our State Auditor General is going to step down, which must happen if he refuses to answer questions related to highly irregular campaign spending practices.

Will Mautino be yet another Illinois political figure that serves two terms, one in office and one in prison?  The US Attorney has been investigating this matter since February of 2016 and we can only wonder if they will ever move forward with indictments or bury this one in a file for reasons the public will never know.

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(Video) Representatives Ives, Wehrli discuss the Frank Mautino Hearing with ECWd –

Chicago, IL. (ECWd) –

Illinois State Representatives Jeanne Ives and Grant Wehrli talk to ECWd about their thoughts on Mautino and last week’s hearing in Chicago.

Rep. Wehrli also mentioned HB0415, which would require a photo of expense receipts be filed along with the expenditure report to the Illinois State Board of Elections.

House Bill 0415

Synopsis As Introduced
Amends the Election Code. Requires political committees to include a copy or image of any receipt received for any expenditure that must be reported. Allows the State Board of Elections to adopt rules to implement the requirements. Effective immediately.

https://youtu.be/P78l0V-oKSI
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Who’s Harry?

Who is Harry? Whoever he is, much like Joe, he received campaign cash on a regular basis, year after year from Frank Mautino’s campaign account.

Mautino, our current Auditor General, as in our top watchdog for financial accountability in the state, would cash a check at Spring Valley Bank and on a few occasions, write in the memo section what it was for.  Between 2011-2015, Harry received $7,990.00 in cash, assuming Harry actually received the full check amount.  Some of the checks memo section point to repairs being done such as a basement and a fence, so we assume Harry had some kind of handyman skills like Joe. Mautino’s campaign treasurer has testified that she does not have any receipts in her possession and Mautino has pled the fifth on all matters tied to his campaign.

Where this gets interesting, and we don’t know the answer yet, is how this distribution of campaign cash to this individual was reported to the IRS.  When you pay people over $600.00 there are certain IRS reporting requirements and even if those requirements were not met, the individual is required to report these earnings on their income tax as several of those payments do disclose it was for repairs or services provided to the campaign office.

Did we mention this check cashing scheme was done by our Top Watchdog, as in the Illinois Auditor General?  It should be noted that not only has our Auditor General pled the fifth, he has refused to answer a single question from his employers, the General Assembly.

I think our readers get the point by now so no need to write further about Peter, Al, and Willie who were also being cited in the memo section of checks cashed by Frank Mautino.

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NIU’s Overpriced Dorm Rooms – Ripping off the students? –

NORTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY (ECWd) –

Attention students, and parents of students, at Northern Illinois University! If you are unhappy with the high dorm prices, pay attention to this story!  Considering NIU’s own reporting of a dorm room’s fair market value to the IRS, you should be unhappy. You ARE paying too much for the room.

A while ago we  posted a story on one of NIU’s affiliate (aka temporary) employees, Ken Wilson, who was allowed to live in a dorm—rent free—for over a year .  At that time, the University stated “there is no value” in the apartment as it was an “unused staff apartment”.  Apparently, at the time, neither NIU’s payroll department nor Wilson, who is a CPA himself, were even aware of IRS rules which state that employer-provided housing is a taxable fringe benefit (with limited exceptions which are not applicable to this situation), and is taxable at fair market value.  The fair market value of the fringe benefit is to be added to the employee’s total compensation amount shown on his W2.

Subsequent to our article, NIU did correct Wilson’s W2 for the time in 2014 that he was living in the dorm room.  NIU and Wilson must have agreed that the adjusted amount reflected the fair market value of the dorm room as per IRS rules.  But did it?

NIU had previously claimed that there were no comparables to use to justify a taxable amount to add to Wilson’s W2.  But NIU knows what they are actually charging students for the use of various dorm rooms and Wilson should also know how to easily find the value of a dorm room as he has had listed many years’ of experience in Higher Ed on his linkedin page.   Here is NIU’s website that gave a range for dorm costs for 2013-14.  This site shows the dorm costs broken down by building and type of room.  Given that NIU’s estimated cost of a suite with a bath (similar to an employee apartment?) in a renovated building such as Grant (where the employee resided) is $9,782 for the year, which would be actually two semesters or nine months, the cost of a dorm room is slightly over $1,000/month.

So, since the IRS requires fair market value to be used as the basis for an employee’s taxable income for fringe benefits, using NIU’s own published costs for dorm rooms, Wilson’s CY14 W2c should show an adjustment for approximately $11,000 for the 11 months (331 days per NIU) that the employee lived in the dorm.  Did it?

NO! 

NIU filed this amended W2c [HERE], which adjusted the prior reporting of $145,870.40 to a new figure of 148,620.40.  Per the adjustment ($2,750.00), the fair market value of the room was only $250/month, which is $2,750 for the 11 months.  How did NIU come up with that value?  And did Wilson agree that that was the appropriate amount?  Most importantly, does the IRS approve of their “fair market value” appraisal?

Until the time that the University refiles another 2014 W2c for this employee, all students living in NIU dorms should question the University as to why they seem to be overcharged for the use of a dorm room when NIU itself has filed an official document with the federal government stating that the fair market value of a dorm room is only around $250 per month!

It may be a question to raise with University officials before paying for your (overpriced) dorm room.
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Outgoing Park Board’s Attempts To Quiet Voter’s Choice Fails

CLARK CO., IL. (ECWd) –

During the Clark County Park District’s regular monthly meeting held April 20, 2017 at 6pm, Park Commissioner Randy Blankenship asked that the order of the agenda be changed to reflect the swearing in of newly elected commissioners as the first item of business. The agenda as written reflected the outgoing board vote on revisions to a lease agreement that had been the subject of fierce debate for years. Commissioner Blankenship recommended that the agenda item of swearing in of the new commissioners happen first, and of course that effort failed as the “old” board, who held majority at the time, wanted to approve the revisions so that they could cash the $50,000 check they had already received, essentially locking a family into a lease they were coerced into signing under threat of losing their existing dock.

The “old” board thought they had the deal sealed…but failed to consider the new board just might know what they were doing.

After the newly elected park commissioners were properly sworn in, and before the meeting was over, Commissioner Don Pine, who ran his campaign on the platform of not supporting the lease lots, made a rarely used motion called a Motion to Reconsider under Robert’s Rules of Order. A Motion to Reconsider can typically be made by one who originally voted with the majority which, surprisingly, Commissioner Pine had done. A Motion to Reconsider can be used when a decision is done hastily or under ill advisement. Seeing that the “old” board voted to accept revisions to a lease they did not have time to review, as they had not received copies of the revisions, Pine was of the belief that the motion was applicable.

The lease revisions were then voted down by the new board, and the issue will be brought forth again for full consideration at a Special Meeting to be held Tuesday April 25th, 2017 at 6pm. With Commissioners Pine, Blankenship, Wallace, and Sweet in opposition of leasing public real estate for private use, the next meeting we may very well discover that some board members actually care about the public that they serve.

From all indications, the subject of “leased lots” will soon be relegated to the dust bin of failed attempts to undermine the integrity of the Clark County Park District.

Audio from the April 20 meeting below at 36:24 thru 54:09 is the outgoing board’s discussion and vote on the lease revision (without even reviewing the lease revision they were voting on) – and at 1:46:30  is where Commissioner Pine starts the Motion to Reconsider to previous vote on the lease revisions and continues on till the end of the meeting.

https://www.dropbox.com/home/CCPD%20Audio?preview=CCPD+April+20th+2017.mp3
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Who is Joe?

Illinois (ECWd) –

Who is Joe? Whoever he is, he received campaign cash on a regular basis, year after year from Frank Mautino’s campaign account.

Mautino, our current Auditor General, as in our top watchdog for financial accountability in the state, would cash a check at Spring Valley Bank and on a few occasions, write in the memo section what it was for.  Between 2009-2015, Joe received $12,487.00 in cash.  The amount grew each year with a slight hiccup in 2014.  Some of the checks memo section point to repairs being done so we assume Joe was some kind of a local handyman.  His campaign treasurer has testified that she does not have any receipts in her possession and Mautino has pled the fifth on all matters tied to his campaign.

Where this gets interesting, and we don’t know the answer yet, is how this distribution of campaign cash to this individual was reported to the IRS.  When you pay people over $600.00 there are certain IRS reporting requirements and even if those requirements were not met, the individual is required to report these earnings on their income tax as several of those payments do disclose it was for repairs or services provided to the campaign office.

Did we mention this check cashing scheme was done by our Top Watchdog, as in the Illinois Auditor General?  It should be noted that not only has our Auditor General pled the fifth, he has refused to answer a single question from his employers, the General Assembly.

Quote from Speaker Mike Madigan in August of 2016:

“I think it’s appropriate that there would be an inquiry, which is happening. Certain issues have been raised. Frank Mautino has been responding to those issues. He will continue to respond to those issues,” Madigan said. “My expectation is that at the end of the day, after there’s been a full inquiry, and a full level of knowledge as to what happened, that Frank will be vindicated, and he’ll continue to serve as the auditor general.”

So now that we have evidence that Madigan’s statements are false, as it pertains to Mautino “responding to those issues”, is the Speaker of the House still of the opinion Mautino will be vindicated and continue to serve?

How can one be vindicated when they have invoked their Fifth Amendment right?

We believe it’s in the best interest of the State of Illinois for Frank Mautino to resign his position immediately and devote his time to his family. In fact, with the challenges his family is currently facing, we suspect it is actually in their best interest if he were to devote his time to them as anything he puts his name on as Auditor General has little credibility in light of his recent actions.

For example, the recent NIU Audit Report points out that NIU has a problem with FOIA.  Oh really?  Much like the Auditor General himself?  The same auditor General that has admitted in court pleadings he violated FOIA in response to my request for records?  Yeh, same guy!   So now we really have the pot calling the kettle black.

Admits violating FOIA, pleads the fifth relating to his campaign check cashing scheme and sits on top of the food chain in political appointments with his 10-year appointment, all while handing down audit reports chastising state agencies for actions not much different than his own. Only in Illinois!

Who Audits the Auditor?

Stay tuned for Who’s Harry!

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Convicted of Felony, Indicted by Grand Jury for Felony Vote Buying, Elected Mayor of Alorton, IL.

Alorton, IL. (ECWd) –

JoAnn Reed, the vile creature who was caught on camera screaming obscenities, the likes you might hear from a drunken street hooker, at a citizen in the parking lot of Commonfields of Cahokia Water District; charged and convicted in 2014 of a felony for bringing contraband into a penal institution and removed as Alorton Mayor as a result; indicted in December 2016 by a Federal Grand Jury of buying votes and disregard of election code; ran for Mayor of Alorton, IL. and “won” the election this month.

How can this happen? Simple, after her conviction and sentence were completed for the felony conviction, instead of trying to expunge her record, her attorney motioned to dismiss the case. A St. Clair County Judge granted the motion which resulted in a de facto expungement, only better. It is now as if the felony conviction never happened at all. At least that is how I read the court docket available online.

There is something terribly wrong when this can happen in Illinois.
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Citizen Watchdog Training – May 6 – Effingham

EFFINGHAM, IL. (ECWd) –

As citizens, we don’t just have the right to expect local governments spend our tax dollars legally and transparently–we have the responsibility to hold them accountable when they don’t. But how can you keep your local government honest?

Join Americans for Prosperity Foundation on Saturday, May 6th to learn how to use the tools at our disposal to make a difference. Hear from two men, the Edgar County Watchdogs, who have used publicly-available information and the state’s Open Meetings and Freedom of Information Laws to expose waste, fraud, abuse, and corruption in their hometowns.

Citizen Watchdog Training

Saturday, May 6th, 8am-12pm

Thelma Keller Convention Center-Washington Room

1202 N. Keller Dr.

Effingham, IL 62401


Thanks to the efforts of these men, more than 200 elected officials and bureaucrats in Illinois have resigned or been removed. Come meet other concerned citizens and learn where to look, what to look for, and what questions to ask. RSVP today to save your seat!

For Freedom,

Andrew Nelms
State Director
Americans for Prosperity – IL

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NIU slammed by State Auditor for FOIA and Records Retention Noncompliance –

Northern Illinois University – (ECWd) –

Is it better for a state agency to misrepresent its practices to the Office of the Auditor General or to the Public Access Bureau of the Attorney General’s office?  That is the dilemma in which Northern Illinois University (NIU) finds itself.

Although NIU’s President Doug Baker once claimed a slogan of Accountability, Clarity, and Transparency for the University, NIU is apparently still struggling with the transparency part.  NIU’s FY16 Compliance Audit was released by the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) on March 29th and; included in the audit is the finding 2016-008 titled “Noncompliance with the Freedom of Information and Record Retentions Act”.  This finding begins with “Northern Illinois University (University) did not respond fully to Freedom of Information request and did not retain documents in accordance with the Records Retention Act and its own policies” and is later summarized by “Not supplying complete responses to Freedom of Information Act requests and the failure to properly retain records results in noncompliance with State law and decreases the University’s transparency.”  

NIU did not challenge the OAG’s finding; the response provided to the OAG by Shyree Sanan, Controller, states “The University accepts the Auditor’s recommendation.  The University has dedicated a full-time employee to manage the FOIA response process….  Note the wording.  Has—as in place now.  Dedicated a full-time employee—not dedicated a full-time equivalent.  President Baker signed off on the audit including the responses to the findings.

But does this dedicated full-time employee actually exist anywhere but in the response to the OAG?  Apparently not when the FOIA office wants to deny a request.    In an April 7th response to a FOIA Request for Review, Mr. Tom O’Grady, NIU Assistant General Counsel, wrote:

The NIU FOIA office is primarily staffed by two individuals – Ms. Joan Laurino, with support from Mr. Matt Cabrera.  Both Ms. Laurino and Mr. Cabrera have duties and responsibilities to Northern Illinois University that are beyond just the FOIA duties they maintain.

If NIU is stating to the PAC/AG that both of these employees have duties and responsibilities to NIU that are beyond the FOIA duties, what happened to the “dedicated full-time employee to manage the FOIA response process” as claimed by NIU in their response to the OAG? 

Where does the truth lie?  Did NIU deliberately misstate to the OAG or to the PAC/AG?  Or is NIU just incapable of any truthful response under the current administration?
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Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino’s campaign treasurer testified in criminal Grand Jury

Illinois – (ECWd)

We have confirmed that Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino’s campaign treasurer has, in fact, testified before a Criminal Grand Jury.

  • Q. Okay. Have you ever received any other subpoenas for documents or depositions in which the Committee for Frank J. Mautino was the subject of the subpoena?
  • A. I received a subpoena from Grand Marshall Federal, the Feds.
  • Q. The U.S. Attorney’s office?
  • A. Yes.
  • Q. And when did you receive that subpoena?
  • A. That was back February of 2016.  (We broke this story January 21st of 2016!)
  • Q. Okay. And did you respond to that subpoena?
  • A. Yes. I had to testify.
  • Q. Okay. And you testified in a deposition?
  • A. No, I testified in front of a Grand Jury.

The deposition shines a lot of light on things to include his own Treasurer making gas purchases for her personal vehicle along with her husband.  Her testimony included the truth about Mautino’s Campaign not owning any actual campaign vehicles, which makes his reporting of thousands of dollars for “gas and camp. vehicles repair” on his D2’s highly suspicious.

The deposition also shines some light on the massive number of checks written to Spring Valley Bank.  Turns out those checks were a means of simply cashing a check, some for amounts of $8,000.00 and more, with the claim it was cash used to pay for campaign-related matters. The treasurer’s belief, according to the deposition, was that these funds were used for campaign-related matters.

Never mind the fact that the vast majority of the checks had nothing in the memo section and most had no receipts to support the expenditure.  The appearance points to money laundering as these campaign checks are being written to Spring Valey Bank and cashed.  In 2014 a check was cashed (see page 43)  for $10,000 and other than a D2 reporting “claiming” it was for campaign-related costs, there is no physical evidence to support what is documented in the reporting to the state because those records, assuming they actually existed, have been destroyed.  Is it time to buy stock in shredders in Illinois?

The check cashing practice provides the impression of money laundering as these campaign checks are being written to Spring Valey Bank and cashed.  In 2010 a total of $24,445.04 in checks were cashed with no supporting record of what it was for and nothing listed in the memo section of the check.

For now, we can only wonder what the US Attorney’s office is going to do with this information.  At a minimum, we suspect Federal Agents are going to be busy tracking down 89 campaign workers just on the claimed $10,000 cashed check expenditure.  “44 poll watchers at $125 each, 30 phone callers at $100 each, 15 callers at $10o” (See page 20 of the deposition below)

As we continue to dive through these records we will update accordingly.

The deposition may not show up below due to its size but you can download at the link provided.

Download (PDF, 15.73MB)

Download (PDF, 2.44MB)

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SBE Hearing on Mautino Campaign Expenditure Complaint – Mautino invokes the 5th

Chicago, IL. (ECWd) –

The State Board of Elections held a hearing to iron out Frank Mautino’s campaign committee’s apparent refusal/inability to amend their past filings as previously directed by the Board.  We first broke this story in January of 2016 in this article. 

This hearing was not to determine if the campaign misspent any of its funds, it was only to determine why the campaign had not as of yet complied with amending their expenditure filings.

During this hearing, it was revealed that Frank Mautino pled the fifth to avoid “self-incrimination” – the campaign routinely wrote checks, cashed them, allegedly paid for campaign-related expenses with cash, sometimes never providing receipts, and never returning any of the funds given them in cash – the campaign claims it allowed workers to fill up their cars at Happy’s Service Station by putting it on a running tab, the campaign would then pay the service station without accounting for who made the purchases.

Many of the payments to Spring Valley Bank were for cash.  The campaign (Mautino) would sign a check for a certain dollar amount and simply cash the check and allegedly use the cash for campaign-related matters.

Both parties are to provide written responses to the hearing officer by May 1st for the officer to then type his opinion and deliver to the Board of Elections in time for their meeting on May 15, 2017. If this happens on time, the regular meeting should consider the complaint and render a decision.

At the 41.15 mark of the video, you can here where the Attorney for David Cook, the person who filed the complaint on Mautino’s campaign, shares the fact that Mautino has, in fact, pled the fifth.

We filed a Freedom of Information Act request today for copies of all the exhibits that were presented at this public hearing to include the deposition record of the campaign treasure.  We will update this story when we get those records or in the event, new information comes to light.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5MPWixSwAs
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AG: Edgar County ETSB Violated FOIA, Twice –

Edgar County, IL. (ECWd) –

FOIA Officer stipend for Edgar County Emergency Telephone System Board: $1500

Number of FOIA complaints resolved in her favor: Practically NONE

ETSB, please demand your money back, it isn’t working.

The ETSB Coordinator failed to justify withholding public records again…not that there was any realistic justification to begin with.

A FOIA request was submitted for radio/telephone traffic of an incident involving a Sherriff’s Department employee, and the request was denied.

The AG’s Public Access Counselor had to issue two separate violation letters to the same FOIA request.

On February 9, 2017, the PAC issued a violation letter to the ETSB and asked them to provide the records. Instead of complying, they denied it again for other reasons.

She tried saying it involved an ongoing case, and that excuse failed. Several other excuses were tried, they all failed.

This most recent violation letter explains how the new reasons for denial fall short of the law, and once again the PAC asked Nanette Crippes, ETSB Coordinator, to provide the records requested back in September of 2016.

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Download (PDF, 230KB)




When does a Park Commissioner cease being a Commissioner?

Clark Co., IL. (ECWd) –

This article is to clarify when we believe an elected park district commissioner takes office – or more importantly, ceases to be a commissioner.

From the Illinois Park District Code: Commissioners shall serve until their successors are elected and qualified...”are “elected” and “qualified.”

Elected” happened the instant the County Clerk canvassed the ballots (certified).

Qualified” happened when they were placed on the ballot, providing they are still a voter, a resident of the district,  are not in arrears of any debt or tax due to the district, and have not committed any disqualifying felony crimes.

When “Elected and Qualified” the newly elected are now commissioners by operation of law. Once the canvasing has occurred (tomorrow), the outgoing board members no longer have any legal authority to conduct any meeting or any business.

The only remaining item “prior to entering into the duties of a commissioner” is swearing an oath – and any Judge, notary public, or the clerk of the board can attest to the swearing of the oath of office – it need not be in a public meeting. After swearing the oath, that oath must be filed with the clerk of the board.

This is not to be confused with somehow stating the now-former commissioners are still commissioners until the next meeting – that would be a false assumption because they cease to be commissioners when the county clerk canvasses the votes.

There is no “Lame-Duck” board when dealing with the Park District Code when the above conditions are met. There is no such thing as “old business” considered by the old board prior to the new board taking over. Those that either decided not to run for office and those that were defeated at the ballot are no longer commissioners.

The next meeting must be an organizational meeting where the new board elects its officers.
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Iroquois County State’s Attorney – Get your head in the game –

Iroquois Co. (ECWd) –

Iroquois County State’s Attorney Jim Devine appears to have once again stepped off into areas he apparently knows little about and gave legal advice that puts his client, the County Board, into a position of violating the law.

Before we dive into what we consider the most recent failure, a short review may help people better understand why we believe it is in fact time for this man to resign from public service…or take on public corruption, and help fix problems in the county.

In 2013 we started investigating and writing dozens of articles exposing wrongdoing by public officials of the Ford-Iroquois Department of Public Health (FIDPH).  During our investigation, we identified grant fraud, procurement law violations, conflicts of interest and much more.  We contacted State’s Attorney Jim Devine and arranged a meeting with him in the Law Library at the University of Illinois. During that meeting, he specifically confirmed grant fraud and verbalized “that’s grant fraud” as he reviewed grant records that had people’s names as employees who were, in fact, no longer employees.  Jim Devine did nothing! 

A forensic audit of the FIDPH also found numerous acts by public officials that violated numerous laws.  The forensic report can be read at this linkJim Devine did nothing! 

We provided evidence of collusion with a private company and public officials of FIDPH regarding solar panels purchased in violation of the law and wrote about it in this article.  Jim Devine did nothing!

We exposed the illegal use of funds by the FIDPH Director who wrote a check to fund a private corporation he formed and was running it out of a the FIDPH public office.   Our exposure led to the return of the funds. Jim Devine did nothing!

We exposed massive manipulation of grant money that ended up in the hands of a contractor who just happened to be married to the grant administrator and wrote about that here and here.   The pattern of practice was clear and violations of law were clear to anyone willing to read.   Jim Devine did nothing!

We exposed violations of law by the ETSB and County as it relates to billing for dispatch services.  We know they know it’s not legal to send out such bills, but justify continuing to do so because they are out of money. Jim Devine did nothing!

The Paxton Record reported on additional violations of law in which a forensic audit of the computers pointed to theft of services.  Devine did nothing!

For more exposure to the long history of illegal actions by public officials in Iroquois County, you can simply pick from the list at this linkTo date, Jim Devine has not prosecuted a single public official involved in these violations of law.

On a good note, he recently gave advice that the 911 coordinator’s alleged contract never existed from day 1, and that she is and always has been an at-will employee. That much we know to be true, however, so is the power to terminate an at-will employee.

So what happened that we officially call for his resignation?  As if his refusal to prosecute a single bad actor outlined in dozens of articles filled with evidence is not enough, it’s clear he needs to go when he can’t even give sound legal advice on something as basic as the Open Meetings Act and needs legal help to figure out who is charge of firing the ETSB director, which I suspect he knows would take years to actually get a response and would provide cover for the 911 Director.

During last night’s Emergency Telephone System Board meeting, eight members of the County Board attended.  When the ETSB went into closed session, all eight members present, with advice and consent of the State’s Attorney, joined the ETSB members in closed session.  Had they sat silent, there would have been no problem.  But of course, with Larry Hasbargen present you know that won’t happen.  Turns out these 8 County Board members participated in the discussion of personnel.   Such a discussion by a majority of a quorum constitutes a public meeting of that public body, as in the County Board.

Section 1.02 of OMA (5 ILCS 120/1.02 (West 2012)) defines a “meeting” as: Any gathering, whether in person or by video or audio conference, telephone call, electronic means (such as, without limitation, electronic mail, electronic chat, and instant messaging), or other means of contemporaneous interactive communication, of a majority of a quorum of the members of a public body held for the purpose of discussing public business or, for a 5-member public body, a quorum of members of a public body held for the purpose of discussing public business.

This meeting of a majority of a quorum (of the County Board) in closed session was not posted with a notice or agenda 48hrs in advance and based on prior rulings by the Attorney General PAC office on matters almost identical in nature, we are confident their determination will be that the Iroquois County Board held an illegal meeting and met in closed session without proper authority.  What is sad in this case, they did it with the advice and consent of the Iroquois County State’s Attorney.  In this case, they exceeded the majority of a quorum, which is six members of the County Board, by having eight members present.  The two county board members who sit on the ETSB do not count towards the majority quorum number according to the AG PAC office as they were part of the ETSB for this closed session.

Not convinced this guy has no business giving legal advice to the county?

The Times Republic ran a headline today of “ETSB seeking more legal advice”. I am all for more legal advice as what has been given so far is off the charts wrong.   As we understand it, now Devine is not sure who has the legal authority to fire the 911 Director.

Please, we beg the people of Iroquois County to read the Powers and Duties assigned to the ETSB and tell us who has the authority over employees of the ETSB system?

“The powers and duties of the board shall be defined by ordinance of the municipality or county”

You can read the ordinance the ETSB is bound by at this link and find the applicable highlighted section.

  • Hiring, on a temporary basis, any staff necessary for the implementation or upgrade of the system.

So by the County ordinance, the ETSB restricted their staff necessary for the implementation or upgrade of the system to a temporary basis.  Considering the 911 Director is anything but temporary, it’s clear their own ordinance is not being followed.

Considering it is the ETSB with the power to hire, there is an implied power to fire those that they hire.  It’s not rocket science.

Reading the law, which applies to the ETSB and the situation at hand, it is clear who is in charge of the 911 Director.

  • Hiring any staff necessary for the implementation or upgrade of the system.

The ETSB absolutely has the power to terminate employees working for them, which in this case their 911 Director and every dispatcher she hired.

What Iroquois County is facing is years of total disregard for the law by the State’s Attorney as it relates to public officials and the power they have or don’t have.   He has acknowledged he is a criminal prosecutor and is not up on all this “other stuff”.  May we suggest you either get your head in the game or resign as your unwillingness to learn all this “other stuff” is a major contributor to the malfeasance that is infecting your county.

For all of those that think a full-time person is needed in the form of a Director over 911, realize this system, once in place, operates quite efficiently.  It’s not too much different than hiring a person to “temporarily” install your home office computer.  Once it’s up and running, they are no longer needed and when it breaks, you call the manufacturer of the equipment you’re using for repairs.  Any dispatcher can make such a call.  We contend, based on our research, the authorization to hire staff limited it to the specific action of implementing or upgrading the system.

Once it’s implemented, there is no need for a babysitter.  Need an upgrade?  Hire accordingly, upgrade, and they are done!  The legislature realized this when they wrote the law.  Sadly, County officials continue to ignore the law.

We will update on the Attorney General PAC complaint we filed on the alleged Open Meetings Act violation as it moves through the process.
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Community College Trustees and Conflicts of Interest –

ECWd

This year has been one of those unique election cycles where the election results created real questions on what exactly constitutes a conflict of interest when serving as an elected Community College Trustee.

First, is a student (full or part-time irrelevant) that ran for, and was elected as, a trustee in the community college he is a student at.

Second is a faculty member who ran for and was elected as, a trustee in the community college where she is employed.

Questions arise out of a student’s conflict of interest by being an elected trustee (not as a non-voting student trustee) and his ability to impartially exercise the powers of his office. There is a potential of unscrupulous professors of either withholding good grades because of votes taken or enhancing his grades in an attempt at getting a favorable vote on things such as employment. There is also the chance of an unscrupulous trustee taking advantage of the professors and his own ability to affect their employment.

Any vote that would directly benefit the student, such as reduction of tuition, fees, etc., becomes a conflict.  Many point to having such a trustee simply abstain from voting as if that shields them from the conflict.  Abstentions are a matter of law and that action carries with the majority, thus their vote counts. In addition, is a trustee abstaining from matters of conflict performing the duties he was elected to perform?  When a trustee removes themselves from the performance of their duty to prevent a conflict, they have not only acknowledged a conflict exists but they have taken away the representation of the very people that elected them.  Such actions can potentially become an equal protection issue under our US Constitution.

Can a student trustee provide real impartiality on matters that have a direct financial interest for their parent (retired or working)?  Researching the vast library of Attorney General Opinions on Conflicts it appears there has never been an opinion issued regarding the above-referenced situation.  We believe a request for such an opinion is proper, for the benefit of the elected officials as well as the institution.

Questions arising from an employee serving as an elected trustee of the college she is employed with is more cut-and-dried than the student question. The Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act generally prohibits elected officials from serving should they have an interest in contracts. The Community College Act also prohibits interests in contracts.

We ran across this in the Village of Lerna with the Mayor/Maintenance Supervisor and in Shelbyville Township with the Trustee/Janitor positions. In those situations, the conflict was cured by resignations from either the elected position or the employee position.

It is our non-legal position that both the faculty member and student who were elected this spring should either resign as employee/student or resign/decline to take office as a trustee. We realize one is more obvious than the other, but short of a quick opinion from the Attorney General, there are little options available to prevent the appearance of a conflict of interest in both positions.

Penalties for violating the Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act are harsh.
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Iroquois County ETSB billing illegal and they know it- yet it continues!

Iroquois Co. (ECWd) –

The request was simple, the response is compelling.

  • A copy of the state statute utilized for the purpose of charging other units of governments for 911 dispatch service.

The fact of the matter is no such statute spells out that either a County, Emergency Telephone System Board, or the illegally set up ICOM Joint Dispatch has the power to bill for dispatching emergency calls. We covered many of these matters in June of 2014 yet it is apparent with the continued billing they have no problem breaking the law.

Response to the Request:

  • The Parties have the power and authority to enter into this Agreement pursuant to the provisions of Article VII, Section 10 of the Illinois Constitution of 1970, and the Illinois Intergovernmental Cooperation Act, as amended, 5 ILCS 220/1 et seq., and other applicable authority.   Per FOIA we are not obligated to provide copies of statute. 

They might be well advised to either seek legal counsel or if they did, get new legal counsel.

SECTION 10. INTERGOVERNMENTAL COOPERATION

    (a)  Units of local government and school districts may contract or otherwise   associate among themselves, with the State, with other states and their units of local government and school districts, and with the United States to obtain or share services and to exercise, combine, or transfer any power or function, in any manner not prohibited by law or by ordinance. Units of local government and school districts may contract and otherwise associate with individuals, associations, and corporations in any manner not prohibited by law or by ordinance. Participating units of government may use their credit, revenues, and other resources to pay costs and to service debt related to intergovernmental activities.

(b)  Officers and employees of units of local government and school districts may participate in intergovernmental activities authorized by their units of government without relinquishing their offices or positions.

(c)  The State shall encourage intergovernmental cooperation and use its technical and financial resources to assist intergovernmental activities.

Back to that pesky Dillons Rule.  “Not prohibited by law or by ordinance”.  Billing for dispatch services is, in fact, prohibited by law because the power to do that was never provided in the statutes covering Emergency Telephone System Boards.  If the power is not provided, you can’t enter into an intergovernmental agreement to do something not allowed by law.

And to drive that point home, our legislature made it very clear when they wrote the Intergovernmental Agreement Act.

5 ILCS 220/3) (from Ch. 127, par. 743)
    Sec. 3. Intergovernmental cooperation. Any power or powers, privileges, functions, or authority exercised or which may be exercised by a public agency of this State may be exercised, combined, transferred, and enjoyed jointly with any other public agency of this State and jointly with any public agency of any other state or of the United States to the extent that laws of such other state or of the United States do not prohibit joint exercise or enjoyment and except where specifically and expressly prohibited by law.

ETSB has never been given the authority to bill for dispatching services. Thus they can not exercise such a power in an intergovernmental agreement.

More importantly, Intergovernmental agreements are confined to agreements authorized by the units of governments entering into such agreements.  Any bets on the County finding agendas reflecting a vote to be taken for these agreements?  We suspect no minutes will reflect any such approval either. We have requested any such records and are placing our bets that none exists.

(5 ILCS 220/5) (from Ch. 127, par. 745)
    Sec. 5. Intergovernmental contracts. Any one or more public agencies may contract with any one or more other public agencies to perform any governmental service, activity or undertaking or to combine, transfer, or exercise any powers, functions, privileges, or authority which any of the public agencies entering into the contract is authorized by law to perform, provided that such contract shall be approved by the governing bodies of each party to the contract and except where specifically and expressly prohibited by law. Such contract shall set forth fully the purposes, powers, rights, objectives and responsibilities of the contracting parties.  (Source: P.A. 91-298, eff. 7-29-99.)

And for all those wanting to give these law-breakers the benefit of the doubt, looking at just one year of billing, we find two invoices being sent to non-public agencies, Iroquois Memorial Hospital and Riverside Medical Center.  Neither of those billed are public agencies, thus they can not enter into an intergovernmental agreement.

As I pointed out in June of 2014, which I know County officials read, the law is clear.

(5 ILCS 220/2) (from Ch. 127, par. 742)
Sec. 2. Definitions. For the purpose of this Act:
(1) The term “public agencyshall mean any unit of local government as defined in the Illinois Constitution of 1970, any school district, any public community college district, any public building commission, the State of Illinois, any agency of the State government or of the United States, or of any other State, any political subdivision of another State, and any combination of the above pursuant to an intergovernmental agreement which includes provisions for a governing body of the agency created by the agreement.

So once again, a response to a simple FOIA makes the case for us.  The ETSB, under the management of a 911 Director who orchestrated the billing for dispatch services county wide may well have placed the county into a real financial mess and not just from those agencies terminating payments for these improper invoices.  They may well face a false claims suit to recover all of the improper billing and collection of money without statutory authority.

We see for tonight’s agenda item VII-C – “dismissal of the 911 Director”. 

We can only wonder if the ETSB has the courage to once and for all bring this long history of violations of law to an end.  If the ETSB will not act to stop the illegal action, then it’s time for the County Board to remove them all for neglect of duty, a power give to them by statute that we in fact wrote!

Download (PDF, 891KB)

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AG Determines McHenry County Blog is “news media” under FOIA –

SPRINGFIELD, IL. (ECWd) –

Pay attention Carlinville:

Last Friday, the Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor determined that the McHenry County Blog was “news media” as that term is defined in the Freedom of Information Act.

McHenry County decided that FOIA requester Cal Skinner, McHenry County Blog, was a recurrent requester, ignored his news media status and refused to produce the requested records in a timely manner.

A request for review was sent to the Attorney General, who reviewed applicable case-law (Too Much Media v. Hale out of N.J.), reviewed Skinner’s website, and determined that the McHenry County Blog was “news media” under the FOIA.

The FOIA exempts “news media and non-profits” from being designated as recurrent requesters, voluminous requesters, and commercial requesters – which is why McHenry County and Carlinville both took this path to claim certain requesters were not “news media.”

The City of Carlinville has taken a similar path with Kraft and the ECWd – claiming they are not media, not non-profit, and are commercial requesters – which would have hypothetically allowed Carlinville take their time answering FOIA requests and charge whatever they decide to charge to answer FOIA requests.

Carlinville will fail just a McHenry County failed. Let’s just hope Carlinville gets a refund from its attorney for his horrible legal advice.

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Orland Park Public Library Intends to Waste $6,700 on Conferences for Staffers

Orland Park, Illinois (ECWd)

On Monday, April 17th, 2017, the Orland Park Public Library Board is poised to approve spending in the amount of $6,700 to send staffers and Board President Nancy Wendt Healy on another round of needless conference traveling.

It begs the questions: is this spending ever necessary, do these staffers ever learn anything truly worthy at these conferences, and does the public ever actually benefit from all these public employees going off on adventures outside their usual workplace (while collecting their full salaries as if they were at their desks working)?

According to their itemized agenda, $3,700 is being allocated for Library Director Mary Weimar, Assistant Director Mary Adamowski, Outreach Services Manager Kelly Cuci, Youth Services Manager Diane Norris-Kuczynski, and Library Spokesman Jackie Boyd to attend the American Library Association’s conference in downtown Chicago in June. The ALA event is a three-day affair, so the first question raised by this spending is whether it’s truly necessary for all of these people to attend all three days of the event.

Since day passes to the conference are much cheaper than the three-day-pass, why couldn’t the Orland Park staffers just attend one day and save the public some money? The conference is mainly just an exhibit floor where publishers have advance copies of selected new books that they give away and conference attendees are given little red trick-or-treating bags to walk from one exhibit table to the next collecting pens, posters, candy, and other goodies that the trade show exhibitors keep in little bowls for them to take. While this experience is fun for all who attend, is it necessary for all of these adult Orland Park staffers to trick-or-treat for three days straight?

According to its website, the ALA also offered a discounted price for early registration, which the Orland Park Public Library seems to have chosen to miss. If they had registered for the conference before March 22nd, the three-day-pass would have been $285/person; but since the OPPL chose to register after March 22nd, they are paying $300/person each for a three-day-pass. If they each attended just one day of the conference instead of three, the cost would only be $195/person.

It also appears they all intend to say in hotel rooms downtown instead of commuting from Orland Park to the conference every day, which would save the public a lot of money. Why do Orland Park Public Library employees — who work in a suburb of Chicago easily accessible by regular Metra commuter trains — need to stay in hotel rooms in downtown Chicago when they could just commute from the suburbs for this conference?

Additionally, the OPPL announced it would be spending another $750 to send Library Board President Nancy Wendt Healy to the conference as well. Over the years, Healy has traveled to many of these conferences. A few years ago, she made taxpayers cough up a small fortune to pay for her and Mary Weimar to wing off to New York City for another ALA conference. What’s the point in sending the same board member to the same conferences over and over again? If the point is to educate board members, then why not spread the experience around to other members of the Board besides Healy?

If Healy hasn’t learned anything worthwhile by now — and she’s been to multiple versions of this same event — then she’s clearly never going to learn anything and the experience is wasted on her.

It should also be noted that the American Library Association is a private lobbying group that often pressures public bodies to act contrary to the needs and wishes of communities. This is well-documented in the book SHUT UP!: The Bizarre War that One Public Library Waged Against the First Amendment, where members of the ALA’s Orwellian-sounding “Office for Intellectual Freedom” encouraged the Orland Park Public Library board and staff to intimidate and silence the public when community members demanded that the OPPL stop allowing child pornography to be accessed and other sex crimes to occur in this suburban public library.

After funneling registration fees to the ALA, the OPPL Board will also vote on April 17th to send another 16 staff members to two other conferences, spending almost $3,000 more for that.

Whenever the Orland Park Public Library wants more taxpayer money (to squander), they threaten that unless a tax levy is raised that children’s story time programming will be canceled and they will not be able to buy any more Braille books for the blind and whole orchestras of tiny violins are conducted to tug at everyone’s heart-strings.

Why is it that children’s programming is always threatened unless taxes are raised or more taxpayer funds are diverted to the OPPL? Why is it never announced that conference spending will have to be cut and OPPL staffers won’t be able to sleep in fancy hotels and eat meals on the public dime at a trade show unless the levy is raised yet again?

If these conferences were truly so vital and if they actually did benefit the community, wouldn’t the Orland Park Public Library (and other public libraries) want to highlight their importance whenever possible and at the very least explain what the public gets out of sending so many staffers to these things annually?

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Tinley Park to settle nuisance lawsuit filed by Buckeye low-income housing developer

Tinley Park, Illinois

Elections indeed have consequences.

Just a week after voters booted Mayor David Seaman and his slate of running mates from power in the April 4th balloting, the Village of Tinley Park is seemingly racing at full-speed to settle what appears to be a meritless and retaliatory lawsuit filed against the Village by the Buckeye Community Hope Foundation, that controversial Ohio-based low-income housing project developer that embroiled Tinley Park in deep and lasting scandal last year.

This lawsuit has been hanging over the Village’s collective heads for some time, but the Village seems to be rushing to settle it now while the current Mayor and Board are still in office…which appears to leave the new incoming Mayor, Jacob Vandenberg, and newly-elected trustees no say in the matter. Is the rush to settle this now, with a vote scheduled for the next board meeting, a way for the current Mayor and Board to make the issue go away while they still hold the reins of power in Tinley Park?

Does settling now mean records will be sealed and that the public will never know everything the Mayor and Trustees did wrong during the Buckeye scandal?

We covered this matter extensively as it unfolded last year; the matter was also well-documented by freelance reporter Megan Fox in her widely-viewed video series. The scandal boiled down to Buckeye — a controversial entity from Columbus, Ohio with a litigious reputation nationwide for suing communities that resist Buckeye’s schemes in any way — appearing to collude with former Tinley Park Planning Director Amy Connolly as she tampered with the Village’s zoning code enough for Buckeye to try to force through a low-income housing project in what was supposed to be an area reserved for street-level commercial developments (with apartments or condos on the upper floors, above revenue-generating commercial space such as restaurants, boutiques, hair salons, book stores, bakeries, etc.).

Tinley Park’s “Legacy Code” zoning ordinance required new construction in this particular part of town to have a mandatory commercial component on the ground floor, as residents wanted walk-up storefront commercial ventures (and not just residential housing) to be built along the sidewalks in what is envisioned as the southern gateway into Tinley Park’s downtown. This requirement was meant to solve longstanding problems in the Village, which has burdened homeowners with too high of a residential tax rate due to a dearth of commercial tax generating businesses near downtown. The “Legacy Code” was meant to leave a “legacy” of solving these issues by encouraging downtown Tinley Park to develop with street-level commercial properties all along the main drag through town that would ultimately link the Convention Center and other amenities to the downtown core by the train station. (Currently, there is a large gap between these two areas, with nothing incentivizing people attending events at the Convention Center to head to Tinley Parks’ downtown and vice-versa.) Having only housing along this important civic corridor would never allow such linkage to develop and would do nothing to alleviate homeowners’ tax burden. The “Legacy Code” was designed to remedy all this for future generations.

Emails produced by the Village pursuant to FOIA requests made by local citizen sleuths such as Michael Glotz (whose tenacious search for the truth ultimately won him a seat on the Village Board in the April election, replacing former Trustee T.J. Grady…who had once mocked and insulted Glotz’s sleuthing efforts) appeared to show Connolly and Buckeye maneuvering together behind the scenes to manipulate an illegal change in wording in the zoning ordinance without following the proper procedures to make such code-altering changes and notify the public that the Legacy Code was being decimated. After loud community outcry and what seemed to be one shocking revelation or development after another (including the sudden resignation of Connolly and the firing of Thomas Melody, the Klein Thorpe Jenkins attorney who appeared to be assisting Connolly with the zoning code tampering), the Village affirmed in circuit court that its zoning code indeed required street-level commercial development in the area in question and that Amy Connolly, Thomas Melody, and others seemingly working in the interests of Buckeye (and not in the interests of Tinley residents) never succeeded in legally altering the code to allow the low-income housing project to be built as Buckeye proposed.

For more than a year now, the Village has emphatically stated that Buckeye was welcome to build apartments on the land in question if it would adhere to the Legacy Code zoning ordinance and build street-level commercial space on the first floor, just as the Legacy Code mandates.

Buckeye refused to do this, apparently because the federal funding, grants, tax rebates, and other financial incentives it sought (from both Washington and Springfield) with this construction project would not come through if they built commercial space as Tinley Park required. The millions of dollars of quick profit that Buckeye wanted from this venture would not materialize if street-level commercial space was included in this project, per the terms of all those lucrative tax rebates and grants.

Buckeye is a developer that appears to be expert at playing the system and manipulating grants and tax breaks to make large profits off building low-income housing; but if a project has commercial space, that project no longer qualifies for the low-income housing grants and federal or state rebates and Buckeye then doesn’t seem to want to go ahead with the project. (Imagine that!) Buckeye never appeared interested in building new homes that would have met the zoning code in Tinley Park so much as Buckeye appeared to want to make millions of dollars exploiting that grant/tax rebate system. And they would have gotten away with it too, if not for the Freedom of Information Act! 

When Buckeye was rightfully called out by area residents for nakedly bullying the community and attempting to push through a project that did not meet the existing building code, Buckeye employed some of the Alinsky Rules for Radicals and essentially labeled everyone opposing the project to be “racists.” In particular, Buckeye dispatched its then Vice President, David Petroni, to attend Village Board meetings and hint that Buckeye would sue if it did not get its way and imply that Tinley Park residents must be “racists” if they didn’t let Buckeye do whatever it wanted to do. Petroni was so lead-footed and heavy-handed with his threats and bullying that it enraged the community, prompting subsequent Village meetings to be canceled because the building could simply no longer hold all of the residents Petroni had angered with his threats and insults. At some point, Petroni seems to have quietly left Buckeye with no fanfare and all mentions of him are now apparently scrubbed from Buckeye’s website as if the man never worked there and never even existed; additionally, Petroni’s own recently updated LinkedIn profile now bears no mention of him ever having been affiliated with Buckeye. It’s almost as if Petroni created such an embarrassing public relations disaster for Buckeye at those board meetings that both he and Buckeye now want to pretend that he and the developer never had anything to do with each other.

According to a press release from the Village of Tinley Park issued April 13th, the Village has tentatively agreed to pay Buckeye a total of $2.45 Million to walk away from Tinley Park and presumably never darken the community’s door ever again. The settlement requires Buckeye to drop its low-income housing project scheme in Tinley Park. The bulk of the money being paid to Buckeye appears to come from a municipal insurance fund (IRMA, the Intergovernmental Risk Management Association) that the Village has been paying into for years, to protect itself from situations just like these.

Observers of this scandal have seen that Buckeye’s strong-arm tactics, threats of lawsuits, and actual litigation have succeeded in other communities where Buckeye was able to build what it wanted over residents’ objections, often using intimidation tactics and legal muscle to bully small towns. The wrinkle that thwarted Buckeye in Tinley Park was the simple fact that what Buckeye wanted to build did not meet the Village’s zoning code…and tampering with the zoning code by Amy Connolly and Thomas Melody, seemingly working on behalf of Buckeye, was thwarted when their actions came to light during open public meetings last year. If not for FOIA requests shining a light on what these Village employees were up to behind the public’s back, perhaps Buckeye would have broken ground and they would have gotten their way in Tinley Park too.

The Village claims that settling with Buckeye now will save taxpayers a fortune in legal fees it would have incurred if the lawsuit had continued to be litigated. The Village’s insurance handler (IRMA) no doubt pressured the Village to settle, based on calculations that a settlement would cost less than continuing to fight Buckeye in court (even though we believe that Tinley Park would have won, especially if a jury would have been privy to everything that Connolly and Melody had been up to with Buckeye).

Since Buckeye has been defeated in terms of agreeing to abandon its construction project and move on (to some other unsuspecting town), Tinley Park does win in the sense that the Legacy Code has been upheld and that whatever ultimately is built on the land that Buckeye wanted (affectionately known locally as “Stuckley’s Corner,” due to the months-long picketing and protests led at the site in opposition to Buckeye by local resident Michael Stuckley) will have to include street-level commercial space as the code requires.

Another interesting twist in all of this is that the Justice Department changed hands in January 2017, as the Obama regime gave way to the Trump administration. Buckeye is the sort of developer that has a history of strong-arming communities by using the Justice Department as a weapon, claiming that any resistance to its construction plans is racism and civil rights violations. This, again, is a prime example of how unscrupulous people use Saul Alinsky’s tactics to get what they want. As ludicrous as this is, accusing a community of racism when it insists its commercial zoning codes be followed is something that was allowed (if not encouraged!) when far-left Alinsky acolytes Loretta Lynch and Eric Holder were each the Attorney General of the United States. With a new administration in Washington — and now Jeff Sessions leading the Justice Department — it’s hard to imagine an entity like Buckeye being able to count on the AG’s office signing-off on terrorizing communities with false charges of racism when they refuse to be bullied by the likes of Buckeye.

If Hillary Clinton had won the presidency in 2016 and Loretta Lynch (or someone ideologically like her) was retained as Attorney General, perhaps Buckeye would not have agreed to drop its meritless lawsuit all of a sudden.

So, elections at the national level have ramifications and consequences down to the local level too. Buckeye appears to be covering its legal and development costs with that $2.45 Million settlement from the Village. Sadly, this will likely be used by Buckeye to target some other community out there for a low-income housing project shell game wherever there are tax incentives and rebate schemes that Buckeye would hope to exploit like they wanted to do in Tinley Park.

This is the first time, however, that Buckeye seems to have been stopped by a community and did not get its way over residents’ objections. The fact that David Petroni, once the face of Buckeye in all of this, has now seemingly erased all ties to Buckeye as far as his web presence (and vice versa) seems to indicate that Buckeye, at least on some level, knows it screwed up royally in Tinley Park. This certainly won’t be the end of Buckeye or its schemes, but Tinley Park sure was a memorable pie in Buckeye’s face that hopefully will give other communities ideas on how they can defeat predatory developers on their turf too.

Mayor David Seaman and the other outgoing Tinley Park officials appear to want everything Buckeye-related to be sealed away and over and done with before they leave office next month, hence this rushed settlement that seems to be happening out of the blue. That sure feels like there is a lot more to this story and what all really went-on behind closed doors, which now the public will likely never know about. The Buckeye scandal ended several political dynasties in Tinley Park, ultimately booting from office individuals who had held the reins of power for decades and replacing them with brave souls who stood their ground and exercised their First Amendment rights to petition, challenge, and criticize bad government.

It would have been nice if Buckeye had been forced to slink away without a single penny, but the residents of Tinley Park are no doubt celebrating this permanent end to the Buckeye scandal that they’ve been presented with. Tinley Park controls its own destiny and its Legacy Code endures. Buckeye got a little money…but then had to get the hell out of town.

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Coles County Board dancing around truth on Assessments contract (video) –

Coles Co. (ECWd)

Get caught violating the law and more often than not, public officials will do the following.

  • Ignore you
  • Deny they did anything wrong
  • Make excuses
  • Cover up their actions
  • Lie

Coles county requested bids from two people for assessments in the county.  We asked for the bid publication and find they violated the procurement code for county government.  The fact they were seeking bids was never published, a requirement we wrote about in this article.  Not only did they not publish they were seeking bids, they told one requester of records that it was not required as it was a professional service.  One only needs to review the bid proposal to see the person admits to having limited experience, and to ensure competency, he will take some classes.  That hardly qualifies for professional services:

Professional service means the person being hired possesses a high degree of professional skill where the ability or fitness of the individual plays an important part.

Clearly, when a person admits in his proposal he has limited experience, he does not meet the criteria of possessing a high degree of professional skill, not to mention there are quite a few assessors/appraisers that were denied the chance to compete for this business.  How many assessors or appraisers would have done the same work for less money?  We will never know, thanks to the failing to follow written policies/laws.

After getting paid for over a year, we proved he had not complied with his proposal and did not take the classes he said he would.  Most people would call it a breach of contract.  We raised the issue with the county, and presto, they now claim he took the classes, which confirms he had not before, just as we pointed out.

We raised the issue of legality of contracting with a person to do the Supervisor of Assessments’ job during a county board meeting.  State’s Attorney Brian Bower assured me he would look into our allegation and get back with us.  Keep in mind, when I exposed this I provided him the statute that outlines the powers of the Supervisor of Assessments.  Nothing in the statute permits her to contract.  We wrote about that in this article.

Over a month of silence (Ignored)

This past Coles County Board meeting was met with a new twist.  Finger-pointing by the County Chairman and State’s Attorney in the form of, we didn’t do anything (deny), it was the Supervisor of Assessments.  Now they claim there was no contract, but instead this bid proposal provided under the claim it was done under the Professional Services clause, is just a proposal (excuses).  Never mind the fact the county board voted on it, not the Supervisor of Assessments.

Now, the State’s Attorney, County Board Chairman, and the Supervisor of Assessments claim he is an employee.  To date, the county has not produced any agenda or minutes where the county board considered and fixed the compensation of Mr. Becker, both requirements under the law, nor have they produce the minutes where the board gave their “advice and consent” to the hiring of Mr. Becker as required by law. They have not produced any IRS W2 or 1099, and we have confirmed there was no employment application for Mr. Becker. (Coverup?)

Now for the lies:

  • The paper trail points to a contract awarded to Robert Becker that was never put out for bid under a false claim it was not needed because of a claimed exemption.  So how did we go from justification for not bidding out a contract, to there is no contract because he is an employee?
  • Since when does an employee submit invoices for payment that includes “Thanks for your business”?  It’s clear, Mr. Becker is a contracted vendor for the county and not an employee as he is being paid based off of submitted invoices and there are no taxes being withheld as required by law for employees.
  • County Chairman Metzger claims the $115,000.00 value of this bid proposal was not for one year, which I insinuated during the meeting.  He immediately responded that it was not for one year, it was a four-year contract.  OOOPS!  He admitted it was a contract and everyone in the room knows he knows what this really is. One minute it’s a 4-year contract while moments earlier it’s not a contract for services but a contract for employment with the county.
  • Chairman Metzger pointed out this $115K value was for a four-year deal.  Really?  Says who?  With What Proof?   The proposal has absolutely no reference to how many days, weeks, months, or years this claimed service is going to be provided so where did he come up with this being a 4-year deal?

We suspect we will be able to pile on a few more lies once several requests for records are answered but for now, I think the public gets it.

These public officials hired an insider to do the job of the Supervisor of Assessments, circumvented the law, got caught, and now have chose the path to lie about out it.  Each and every one of them should resign for their clear inability to be honest with the public.

And for those board members who sat there in silence, Silence is Consent!  Speak up and fix this mess or you too need to resign.

https://youtu.be/rXRJbdEUMSE

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Whiteside County Airport Board: “Rules are a bunch of crap”

WHITESIDE CO., IL. (ECWd) –

We attended the Whiteside County Airport Board meeting last night, April 13, 2017, and a citizen beat me to the questions.

A citizen asked about the board’s decision to declare something that was obviously not an emergency, as an emergency so they could pay a local contract to do a job on something they know would otherwise require bidding, that they also knew was broke for several weeks, and failed to put it on the agenda.

An airport board member, Stan Domack, replied stating that “Rules and regulations are a bunch of crap.”

It’s no wonder, with that attitude, that most of the items voted on were not on the meeting agenda for action.

Time for the Whiteside County Board to retire Stan Domack if that’s what he thinks of rules and regulations – while he is on the airport board of all places – where not following rules and regulations could cost lives.

For those that might say we chopped up and edited this video, you would be wrong, and the complete video will be provided in a future article.

Until then…enjoy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHFCy9gF_lk

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Carlinville still denying requests for public records –

CARLINVILLE, IL. (ECWd) –

Once again, the City of Carlinville has denied a Freedom of Information Act request for public records.

Their attorney is sure to enjoy the extra income generated by their refusal to obey the law – and make Carlinville taxpayers pay for it.

In an earlier article, we suggested that maybe the city treasurer had sent a comment to our website while on city time – and local resident Dave Ambrose took exception to our suggestion saying we should have obtained definitive proof before publishing. In an attempt at obtaining further proof, I requested information from the city that might reveal if she did, in fact, reply in her official capacity, during off hours, and using her own internet service provider.

Guess what? The city denied the request through their failure to respond.

I have sent yet another complaint to the Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor (“PAC”) which the city will be required to answer, but will most likely refuse to answer (based on their recent past actions) creating another violation of law.

To the taxpayers of Carlinville: Please thank your Mayor Demuzio, City Clerk, and City Council for squandering your hard earned tax money on attorneys to defend the indefensible. Please also inform the city attorney how much you appreciate his invoicing for this.
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