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July 13, 2024

Hanger Access Blocked – FOIA for Financial Records Denied

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On December 22, 2012


Torturous Interference With Business 

In another attempt at infringing on the rights of RSB Aviation to conduct their business, Mr. Jimmy Wells, Edgar County Airport Manager, decided it was a good idea to park the snowplow in front of the hangars leased by RSB Aviation. This prevented RSB from access to the hangars, not allowing any equipment in or out – and it was also a Fire Hazard that would have prevented the fire department from immediate access should they had been required.

I would hope, for Jimmy’s sake, that he has a record of who instructed him to put the snowplow there and did not act on his own.

Picture below…

Jimmy Wells Refuses Rent Payment

As if this wasn’t enough, Mr. Wells has declined to charge the December rent payment to RSB Aviation credit card – as had always been done in the past since the airport has a policy of not accepting cash. His stated reason was because RSB was no longer a tenant and therefore didn’t need to pay rent. Rusty attempted, multiple times to convince Mr. Wells to accept the December rent payment, but he continually refused.

Jimmy Wells  DENIES access to Public Records

Edgar County State’s Attorney Declines To Act

          On November 28, 2012, I served a FOIA request on the office of the EdgarCountyAirport seeking access public records.

          On December 3, 2012, Jimmy Wells responded with two dates, December 11 or December 12 between 8 and 11 a.m., those dates being 9 and 10 working days after receipt of the FOIA request.  Pursuant to 5 ILCS 140/3(d), such failure to allow inspection or copying of public records within the 5 day requirement constitutes a denial of the request, and the public body may not treat the request as unduly burdensome under subsection (g).

          I arrived at the airport office on December 12, 2012 prior to 11 a.m. seeking access to public records, and was informed by the airport secretary that Mr. Wells had went to Chrisman on business and would be returning later that day. Such failure to show for scheduled appointment to inspect public records constitutes a denial of the request.

          On December 13, 2012, I requested another date from Mr. Wells since he was not at the office when I arrived as agreed to previously.

          On December 14, 2012, Mr. Well replied stating December 19 from 8:00 to noon. I replied on December 15, asking for the 18th or the 20th of December. Mr. Wells replied to that request stating the 20th from 8:00 a.m. to noon would work for him and asked for a list of what I was looking for prior to the appointment.

          On December 20, 2012, prior to the appointment, I sent an email to Mr. Wells stating I wanted to look at “all financial information, including all information pertaining to fuel.” and “Other things as time permits.” Upon arriving at the airport, Mr. Wells informed me that there would be no appointment and that I could not look at any records. Wells stated that he was told to tell me that, and that I should go to the State’s Attorney’s office if I had any questions. He would not tell me who instructed him to deny access to the records.

I believe what Jimmy Wells, and ultimately the County Board are doing is attempting to say my request is unduly burdensome.

Since my initial FOIA request did not give me access to the requested records within the 5 day requirement, was not properly extended, and did not state any reasons – the County (Airport) can no longer claim the request is unduly burdensome (5 ILCS 140/3(d)).

There is no requirement to ask for specific records.

I appealed to the State’s Attorney in person on the 20th and then in writing that afternoon with the hopes that he will instruct Mr. Wells to allow access to the records as required by law. Should that appeal fail, I will seek access to those records pursuant to Section 11 of the Act – by filing a complaint with the Circuit Court – similar to what I had to do with the CERWD and costing Edgar County more time and money to defend the indefensible. Of course, the simple, legal way is to allow access to the records. All this does is make me wonder what they are trying to hide.

Records are here:

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  • Anonymous
    Posted at 16:32h, 22 December Reply

    It is undeniable the games they continue to play. They have duty to the people
    to do their job ethically and responsibily. They work for the people of edgar
    county, not a corporation.

  • Concerned Citizen
    Posted at 20:09h, 22 December Reply

    Rusty Bogue is a fine, hard-working young man and should be allowed to run
    his business without interference. It is time for an end to the “good old
    boys” and those with private agendas to step aside. Thank you for Karl
    Farnham for your efforts in gettng at the truth. Hopefully there are more
    members of the board willing to fight for what is right. Mr. Patrick and
    Mr. Wells should save face and resign if they truly want to serve the people
    of this county. Mr. Wells continues to make very poor management decisions
    for our county. The blatant blocking of the entrance doors needed by the
    business and failure to accept rent owed to the county that Rusty Bogue tried
    to pay further support the case for removal of Mr. Wells and anyone behind
    his actions.

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