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March 2, 2024

PEDCO – Keep Business In Paris!

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On March 22, 2013


PEDCO, Paris Economic Development Corporation, a not-for-profit chartered to promote the sustainment and growth of existing businesses, and recruiting new business to the Paris and Edgar County areas.

It takes extraordinary time and effort to convince people to grow their business and to convince people to either start a new business or move their existing business to Paris. For that we would like to say “Thank You” for what you have done towards your goals, and the goals of the community.

We as citizens in this county should be nurturing new business owners and offering our leadership and experience for those young upcoming business, so that they too can establish their operations in this county and raise their families to be productive, contributing citizens.  That’s what good people do!

There is an issue, that if addressed in the proper way, could keep a growing, thriving business in Paris. This business is RSB Aviation, Inc. The good people of Edgar County need PEDCO’s assistance in this matter. We urge all PEDCO members to call Chris Patrick and voice your concern over what is happening not only at the airport, but with the county as a whole. Silence condones his behavior – speak up!

With that said, let’s examine what has happened at the airport in roughly the past 6 months.

Chris Patrick, while he was the sitting vice-chairman of PEDCO and is supposed to be encouraging business, has made it his mission to drive out a growing business. Nobody really knows why he decided to do this since the “justification” keeps changing from week to week. The list of “justifications” Chris and his main crony Jimmy Wells have used to attempt to accomplish this grows and changes based on fabricated information. Chris Patrick resigned from the PEDCO Board in January.

These “justifications” have changed from month to month, week to week, sometimes within days. If any of them were legitimate, there would be no need to invent more bogus justifications.

I believe this all stems from Patrick needing space for his Beaver airplane, being told he cannot “ban” a certain person’s airplanes from the airport, and a general personality conflict with RSB – and he is using Wells to continue this conflict (this paragraph is my personal opinion only).

Meanwhile, he gets Ben Jenness and Mike Heltsley appointed to the airport advisory board, and gets Adonna Bennett illegally appointed to the airport advisory board – I predict the Illinois Attorney General will direct her removal next month. These appointments were to keep his dirty hands stirring the pot in the airport advisory board.

During this time, we have learned of a CD that was donated to the Airport (a Public Body), and a secret checking account that was opened up using Edgar County’s EIN. Patrick and Wells refuse to provide any information on the CD and checking account. This should concern everyone, considering there was a check written for over $14,000 that Wells and Patrick refuse to divulge who it was written to. When questioned in a public meeting about it, Patrick says things like “good luck” and “I don’t feel like giving you a copy.” Is that the kind of person you voted for, and your county board representatives voted to put in as board chairman? I would like to believe the answer to be NO!

This leads to a lawsuit that has the potential to cost the taxpayers of this county much more than the $14,000 the check was written for! This was public money – it MUST be accounted for!


RSB is a growing business in Edgar County, and part of the reason a new cross-wind runway was put in place. To push them out now is the wrong thing to do. The members of PEDCO, and citizens of Edgar County can make a difference. Please call your county board representatives and any business you frequent that is a member of PEDCO and tell them to keep business in Paris – quit trying to run them out!

County Board Members on the Airport Committee:
Ben Jenness – 217-269-2670
Mike Heltsley – 812-208-4781
Dan Bruner – if you have this number let us know

Other Airport Advisory Board Members:
Adonna Bennett –  if you have this number let us know
Jake Payne – if you have this number let us know
Dale Barkley – if you have this number let us know
Glen Hutchings –  if you have this number let us know

Other County Board Members:
Chris Patrick – 217-822-7622
Jeff Voigt – if you have this number let us know
Alan Zuber – 217-463-3027
Karl Farnham – 217-465-5065

Tell them to keep RSB Aviation in Paris!




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  • Del
    Posted at 22:19h, 23 March

    You have established ownership of this mysterious CD and the checking account using the Airport EID. A signature card is very powerful, a bank signature card will over ride a will. So – did the boys file a false disclosure statement, did these accounts show up on monthly, quarterly or annual financial statements? There are criminal penalties for Public Corruption/Violations of State Ethics Laws in re to filing false financial disclosure statements. Don’t know if you can really count on Isaf to represent Edgar County tax payers on this though.

  • Kirk Allen
    Posted at 08:43h, 24 March

    Not sure on the disclosure statement as they never told anyone that this account even existed. Even some of the Airport board members were upset when they found out about it but they are afraid to speak up publicly. The County Treasure had NO CLUE it even existed. Auditors never found it either. We found it by accident trying to get copies of the CD they they cashed and have still refused to turn over the information on.

    I agree, Isaf wont do anything.

  • Concerned Taxpayer
    Posted at 09:10h, 26 March

    It is time for the taxpayers of Edgar County to stand up and demand accountability from our elected officials and county employees. The continued “No Comment” responses uttered from Mr. Patrick and Mr. Wells over numerous county matters involving conflict of interest and the airport are not acceptable. Shame on you both. For the others elected to represent us who have failed to act on these matters responsibly, shame on you. We have had some good, honest people in county government but we have also had some whose primary motive for being there was for their personal gain. Mr. Patrick argues he is just a material supplier and has no “conflict of interest”. Even if he sells materials to another contractor he is still profitting financially if they buy materials from Zimmerly Ready Mix. To put money for county projects at risk is greedy and self-serving. A little practice of “The Golden Rule” could benefit county board members as well as Mr. Wells.
    I hope there are enough good people on this board to demand change. Resolution of the “conflict of interest” issue is essential. Extending a fair business lease to RSB and continuing to help Edgar County grow are first steps in the right direction to change toward fair, honest, and transparent government for our county.