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July 22, 2024

Clark County Park District Commissioners Receiving Illegal "Perks" –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On May 16, 2014

Mill Creek Park is a public park, and designated as a “special district” where Illinois Statutes are concerned. The statute governing the District is the “Park District Code” (HERE) that authorizes certain actions by the District. Keep in mind that in Illinois, if a public body is not given a power, they do not possess the power – with some exceptions for “Home Rule” entities (research “Dillon’s Rule” for more information on it).
With that said, let’s take a look at some of what the Park District Code says about the powers and duties of the Officers of the District:

<span style="font-family: Courier New; font-size: small;">ARTICLE FOUR. </span> <span style="font-family: Courier New; font-size: small;">OFFICERS--ELECTIONS--POWERS AND DUTIES</span><code><span style="font-family: Courier New; font-size: small;">(70 ILCS 1205/4-1)</span>
<span style="font-family: Courier New; font-size: small;">(from Ch. 105, par. 4-1)</span>     <span style="font-family: Courier New; font-size: small;">Sec. 4-1. </span><span style="font-family: Courier New; font-size: small;">... <strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>The members of such governing boards shall act as such without compensation</em></span></strong>,...</span><span style="font-family: Courier New; font-size: small;">(Source: Laws 1951, p. 113.)</span>
    Sec. 4-1. ... The members of such governing boards shall act as such without compensation,...
(Source: Laws 1951, p. 113.)

“Without Compensation”

Those two words mean something or the legislature would not have included them in the statute. What I believe they mean are that the board members are to serve without compensation. Simple, isn’t it?

Some of the member of this particular board, and who knows how many years this has been ongoing, decided to take advantage of their positions and receive compensation. Not only that, but they are aware of  “a rule” where all past board members receive compensation also – for the rest of their lives. Is that a sweet deal or what.

The compensation that we have documentation on is the “free” boat sticker each year that lets them put a boat on the water without paying the same fee that all the other people visiting the public park must pay. We know there is more, and we will find it all.

I talked about this during public session of the May 15, 2014 regular monthly board meeting. I asked the board to determine the dollar amount of these unauthorized freebees and demand a check for repayment from each and every board member and past board member that received them.

Here is the partial list of names we have, there are more, and we will publish them.

Ron Stone, David Cox,  Doug Haddix, Larry Bender, *Larry Yargus, *Lyle and Amy Yargus, **ESY Acres Inc/Lyle Yargus

– Notes:

* There were no dollar amounts annotated on these Lake Dock Leases

** “ESY Acres, Inc.” (this is another correction) was not spelled correctly on the Dock Lease papers. The correct spelling was ESY Acres, Inc. and they ARE registered to conduct business in the State of Illinois with the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office. Also there were no dollar amounts annotated on this Dock Lease.

What was violated?

The Park District Act, stating “without compensation”. This includes former board members receiving these freebees as “deferred compensation”.

Illinois Constitution, Article VIII, Section 1 (a): Public funds, property, and credit shall be used only for public purpose. This can be used as a predicate for felony charges as with the Pekin, Illinois mayor’s incident a couple years ago.

What can rectify this?

1. Read the statutes that the Park District must operate under and understand them.

2. Read the statutes that are referenced in the Park District statute.

3. Calculate the dollar amount of the freebees, send a bill and demand payment of those who received the freebees.

Below are the some of the dock leases I mentioned in the article – (bottom of page 2 says “No Charge – Board”)

[gview file=”” save=”1″]



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  • Adam Yargus
    Posted at 20:11h, 18 May Reply

    I think you need to be doing better research before you start throwing names and accusations out. Your information is highly inaccurate. You’re making my parents, uncle, and other people who have done much to benefit the community look like bad people because of something that THE PARK BOARD decided on before these people served on the board. And not one single person you’ve named gets their dock for free or “discounted”. Also, ESY Acres has not received ANY “freebies” in any way, shape, or form EVER – nor has Lyle Yargus.

    • jmkraft
      Posted at 20:45h, 18 May Reply

      I added copies of some of the dock leases in question so people can read them for themselves.
      I thought I sufficiently address those issues in the “Notes” under the names, where I stated there were no dollar amounts listed on the leases (like there are on every other lease I have a copy of). As far as being “inaccurate”, I used the public records received from a FOIA request to base the article on. The average person could take the papers as presented and come to the conclusion that the entire dock lease was free on the ones where no dollar amount was listed – but I did not go that far since I only addressed the free boat passes.
      I never said anyone got “free docks” or even discounted docks. What I said was they get a “free boat pass” every year.
      Also if compensation was approved by the Park Board prior to them serving on it, it should have been their duty to stop the unauthorized compensation once they got on the board. Is that what we do these days? Get elected (or appointed) to a public board and never read the statute that governs it? The language is very easy to understand.

      • D
        Posted at 12:41h, 20 May Reply

        Did you also know that the Executive Director gets this “freebie” also?

        • jmkraft
          Posted at 13:10h, 20 May Reply

          Did you know that the Park District Code only says “members of the governing board”, meaning elected and appointed board members, are the ones that “shall act without compensation”. The Executive Director is not a “member of the governing board”, neither are any of the other employees.

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