Iroquois County (ECWd)
At what point in our society do people stand up and take control of their local government and demand accountability? As we have seen in Edgar County, the laundry list of what I consider corruption and insider dealings and self serving has gone on for so long people are numb to it and in many cases have given up on ever fixing it and those doing it don't see anything wrong because that's the way its always been.
I wont give up on the American Spirit and firmly believe good people can and will stand up and force the corrections needed to put faith back in our elected and appointed officials as well as our public workers, which there are many great ones! The key is each and every citizen needs to understand history and learn from it.
A recent FOIA for copies of receipts and or invoices on what we call "red flag" payments has now exposed that the Director of the Ford-Iroquois Public Health Department established his own little banking operation for a private corporation and not only provided funding to it with tax payer money but thought it would be OK to operate that private corporation out of the public facility known as the Ford-Iroquois Public Health Department.
ONE statement made by Doug Corbett, the director, from that article jumped out at me because of the research I had already done.
Corbett said that ever since he began working as administrator of the health department, he has been looking into setting up a nonprofit foundation.
Is that so Mr. Corbett? My understanding you have been with the health department since approximately 2006 so could you explain to the good people of Ford and Iroquois County what this non profit was established for in 1988? That record reflects that a non profit corporation was established back in 1988 under the same name as the County Owned health department. Shortly after the change of Agent to Mr. Corbett, this corporation was voluntarily dissolved effective December of 2011. How long were you involved in that Corporation Mr. Corbett?
If the goal was to establish a non profit why dissolve one already established? Now we understand there are all types of non profits and limitations on each of them so maybe it was simpler to just shut it down and start over which is not uncommon when "other" people are involved that you may not have control over.
So two weeks prior to shutting down one non profit, a new one is created and the state record reflect the agent of record is Cary Hagen who is employed by the public body, Ford-Iroqouis Public Health Department. The state record can be viewed here and the original filing with all those who set it up can be found here.
Several things are very interesting with all this! For starters, go to the Attorney General data base link and type in the zip code for Watseka. We didn't see any Ford-Iroquois Public Health Foundation listed, which is a requirement if your going to solicit donations. Has the Foundation solicited donations? If they have without being registered they are breaking the law from what we have been told by the AG office. We went through this whole process when we set up our Watchdog non-profit. It takes approximately 90 days for the information to show up on the data base.
Did anyone notice the address on the Foundation articles of incorporation? You got it! The Foundation address was set up as the same address as the County owned Health Department and the agent of record for the foundation is employed by the tax payer at the County Health Department.
Is it legal to operate a private corporation out of a public facility? Sure, if they have rented office space to do so! We are waiting on that request as I type!
So one must ask, when Ms. Hagen is working on the tax payer dime at the County owned facility, is she also working on behalf of the foundation? If any foundation work is being done during those county employed hours it would mean the tax payers are funding the agent of the foundation, which is hardly the taxpayers obligation.
Now keep in mind, I think some foundations are a great thing and have the best of intentions when they begin but when the same people who are suppose to be working on behalf of the taxpayer co-mingle their private corporation trouble begins. Another consistent indicator is the names of the foundations. Many take on a public body names or similar sounding name which in many cases are done on purpose.
What is a common thing we see happen when those similar named operation are co mingled? FRAUD!
Mr. Corbet noted in the previous Paxton Record article that the department had been receiving a grant to cover some of the goals of the to-be-created foundation but that the funding was suddenly cut off when the donor realized the department did not have the required 501(C)3 status.
So one must ask Mr. Corbett, how much was the grant you received and were those funds paid back? Who was the donor? What were they told originally? Clearly they discovered it was wrong so again we are seeing a perfect case and point of a red flag item, the use of public body names so close to the private name most don't catch it and funds were provided under what appears to be a false pretense, other wise why cut them off?
For the record, I submitted a FOIA after reading that article for all the grants over the last couple years to include applications, grants received, and grant compliance documents. Any guess what they told me? They have taken the position that the public's right to know is trumped by "UNDULY BURDENSOME".
We will see!
So what does this all have to do with banking? It was this pattern of discoveries that lead to the whole banking story.
205 ILCS 5 Illinois Banking Act. Bank-defined by statute:
"Bank" means any person doing a banking business whether subject to the laws of this or any other jurisdiction.
Here is where things get intriguing. Under what authority would a Multi-County Public Health Department have the right to LOAN taxpayer money to ANYONE at Zero percent interest?
I don't know about most folks but I would love to have a piece of that action! It turns out that the taxpayer owned multi-county Public Health Department has done just that, but in this case they loaned out the cash to the private corporation that was established and operated out of the very same building.
Records prove that the tax payer owned health department drew up a promissory note and identified themselves as the lender. The Borrower, none other than the "Foundation". Terms of the loan were to be from December 1, 2011 through November 30, 2012. Why are those dates significant? Two reasons.
- Fiscal Year falls into those dates
- If the money is returned all is balanced on the books for the audit!
Payments are to be sent to Cary Hagen at the very same address as the one recorded for the Foundation. Lets not forget the Agent of Record for the Foundation is Cary Hagen!
Did the money get paid back according to the terms of the illegal promissory note? NO, they did not! I say illegal because NOTHING in the County Health Code allows them to LOAN tax payer money! I say NO because the terms were thru November 30, 212 and NO payment had been made by the Foundation in compliance with the illegal promissory note.
What we did find though in a very detailed search was the "LOAN" payment from the public body to the Foundation for $1,000.00 and it was made on 2/14/2012, yet we found nothing in any minutes approving a loan or the establishment of a banking operation.
As I have been firing off FOIA requests I am sure they are concerned based on what we have been asking for. When this payment request hit, the response I got was most telling!
On March 8th of this year, a Check was cut from the Foundation and paid back to the Iroquois Public Health Department. So why all the sudden is this money being paid back? Its well past the illegal promissory note loan period! Is it because we know what to look for and have been down this road before? I would say the latter as this is defiantly not our first rodeo!
Our digging at the request of good people in Iroquois county has not only ensured the recovery of $1,000.00 so far to the tax payer, it has uncovered a laundry list of questionable expenditures from break jobs on vehicles to furnaces in motor homes and lets not forget the now famous jewelry purchases which we were told the producing of those receipts was unduly burdensome.
To the good people of Ford and Iroquois County, stand up and demand accountability of each and every tax dollar being taken from you!