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February 29, 2024

Bid-Rigged Solar Panels Not Paying Off As Expected..

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On March 28, 2014

This article provides an update on the Ford-Iroquois Public Health Department’s solar panel project. We reported on this bid-rigged project in April of last year (click here), and recent forensic audit results confirmed it (here).  From the Paxton-Record, an outstanding local newspaper that is quickly becoming the go-to source of factual news in Ford and Iroquois Counties through their in-depth investigative research into actions of local public bodies…
PAXTON — When the Ford-Iroquois Public Health Department installed solar-panel systems on its offices in Paxton and Watseka in winter 2011, the agency’s administrator said he expected the savings on electricity bills to “completely pay off the cost of each system” in “just seven to eight years.”
Nearly 2 1/2 years later, the agency has realized some benefit from the “green” energy, but it has a ways to go to reach former Public Health Administrator Doug Corbett’s goal.
A Paxton Record analysis of electricity bills for each of the health department’s offices from January 2010 through December 2013 shows the agency was billed a total of $18,974 in the two years after the solar panels were installed, compared with $25,992 in the two years prior.
If the department continues to see a $7,018 savings every two years, it would take 17 more years to recoup the $67,000 price it paid for the solar panels. The agency obtained a $60,000 state grant to cover the rest of the $127,000 project.
Iroquois County Board Chairman Rod Copas, who also serves on the board of health, said the health board in February made its final $30,000 payment on a loan it received to pay for its portion of the solar panels’ cost.
Continue reading…
CMS Renewables, Inc. – Day and Night Solar – Bid Rigging


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  • abrasive one
    Posted at 17:44h, 28 March

    His data is flawed though because he is anticipating a 100% power return for the life of the solar cell. Even with the best estimates the cells will degrade to 80% by 15-20 years. The batteries and inverters have to be replaced every 5 years so added costs will be realized each of those years. That’s if they do not fail. If that happens big money to replace or repair. Its like buying a Prius to save on gas. They figured in the fuel saving vs. cost and you have to keep your Prius for something like 12 years to realize a net gain over price of buying a regular mid mileage car. How many people keep a car that long? Sure it makes you feel good like you are doing something for the environment but really are you? It all seems like a boondoggle to me. They are great at spending other peoples money aren’t they.

    • jmkraft
      Posted at 20:01h, 28 March

      Yes, O.P.M., that’s what they like. By the way, I don’t think it was about solar panels at all, but more so certain employees could pocket money just like they later did with the flood grant. It total with bid-rigging and steering work to relatives, over one million dollars was taken by relatives of employees…and that’s just the amount we are aware of. Who knows what we never found.

      • still curious
        Posted at 11:20h, 16 April

        Speaking of the flood grant issue with the majority of the money going to family members, what is happening with this? I hope they are being investigated more. The husband just bought another bar and probably paid for with tax money

        • jmkraft
          Posted at 20:36h, 16 April

          It will just be something else to sell to recoup the public funds 🙂

  • Wally Heinz
    Posted at 18:25h, 28 March

    This is good tag team reporting here. The local paper finds a nice follow up angle and advances the story again. It proves one thing for sure: when you have corruption to start with, it snow balls and the tax payer just keeps paying. At this point it looks like you could say they bet that after 34 years this project might start paying off. What a bunch of dunces those health board members must be. And as far as I know, some of the board members are supposed to be doctors! WoW…NOT a doctor I want to be going to if these people are this stupid.

  • Rick Thomason
    Posted at 21:45h, 28 March

    What is really sickening here is that the whole thing was more than 120,000 and all paid for with tax money. Half from the counties and half from a grant. All was wasted on this non-sense. The only reason there is any reduction in electric bills at all is that the utility is forced to take the power even though it’s not needed. It is called the RPS-(Renewable Portfolio Standard)-a communist forced market here in Illinois that was installed by ENRON lobbyists.! All this does is help the users take more from rate payers and tax payers, real value of the energy generated is distorted by the forced market. Voters –wake up and stop voting for the elected officials who put these appointed clowns in office…that’s your county board by the way.

    • caseih 2388
      Posted at 23:01h, 28 March

      Please be aware that only about 6 members of the 20 member Iroquois County Board were voting against reforming the health department. The rest were vigorously trying to correct what was discovered to be wrong. And those 6 are to this day voting against any reform of the health department. The 4 women on the board all vote to retain the status quo. One has a relative whose job she must be trying to protect. But then, she always votes to pad her wallet. 2 of the board members who were in the forefront of reform of the health department were thrown out of office in the recent election. That tells me that most of the voters don’t want reform. They love to have their tax money squandered. And if the elections continue to go that way, don’t complain about your taxes. As a side note, the director of the health department and his wife went to a Mexican resort with the solar panel company owner and his wife shortly after the solar panel purchase by the health dept. But I’m sure the director and his wife paid their own way. Sure they did! Also, there are solar cost analysis calculators on the internet that will figure the cost returns. And the one I used comes close to what’s happening with the electricity payoff. Couldn’t at least one health department board member do a little research? And, yes, stop voting for the county board members who condone and encourage this sort of behaviour. The worst one was the high vote getter in her district in Iroquois County. The voters don’t seem to have a clue! If you want to know the whole story then call and talk to your board members who were working hard to correct the problem. The Ford-Iroquois Public Health Department could have stayed intact if only the Ford County Board would have admitted there was a problem instead of denying anything at all was wrong. That left no choice but a split into two health departments. Ford County is now free to wallow in corruption.

  • Arthur Barr
    Posted at 23:23h, 28 March

    Why not tie these solar panels to the gonads of those responsible? Let the punishment fit the crime right? After all we don’t need these criminals reproducing all over the place now do we?
    LOL. A little pain in the right places and problem solved.
    Ah the closer you get to Chicago the more the politicians and hacks in these offices act like Chicago scum bags.

  • Robert Tate
    Posted at 09:32h, 29 March

    Talk about ignorance, stupidity corruption and graft! Ford and Iroquois counties are the poster children for the way things are in Illinois. Full of stupid voters who keep electing idiots, sociopaths and criminals. It sounds like the 9th ward and the Stroger administration all over again.
    These elected vermin (new board members in Iroquois are included) have caused so much damage already, that if there was anyone smart left up there they should have flooded the board meetings to complain already. I think smart left the room long ago. (probably went to Indiana where they are not broke).

  • Ely McDonald
    Posted at 10:59h, 29 March

    I must have missed something. Since when did Ford and Iroquois counties get annexed by “Crook” county? They’ve even got the brain-dead going to the polls apparently up there. This is a sure sign its time to move out of Illinois. People are really too stupid to see the truth and their stupidity is becoming DANGEROUS to the well-being of everyone.

  • Jack Macguire
    Posted at 18:11h, 29 March

    Looks like these two counties can provide plenty of extras for all the zombie movies.

  • Herman Dietrich
    Posted at 19:13h, 30 March

    I read here that they are selling the panels and the buildings because they are breaking up the departments. Wow. First they spend all this money to “save” money on electricity. Then we find that the payoff won’t be for years and years. Tax payer’s money goes to insiders with a no-bid contract. RACKETEERING anyone? ? ? ? What’s wrong with the state’s attorney up there? Why haven’t charges been filed already? ? ? What does he get out of this deal? Just sayin–there’s got to be a reason he’s dragging this out and not charging someone with crimes. I mean…is someone on the health department related to the SA?

    • jmkraft
      Posted at 20:18h, 30 March

      YES, as a matter of fact, an Iroquois County Judges wife (and convicted felon) works at the Iroquois County Mental Health Center, and the Sheriff’s sister was knee deep in all of this.