IROQUOIS CO. (ECWd) -
With a laundry list of illegal acts that is sure to cost the county a small fortune, it's nice to see that we can finally report some good news in the fact that $30,000.00 which was illegally spent on private attorneys by the ICOM board is in fact recoverable funds! (Click here for copy of total funds paid to private attorneys by ICOM)
Under Illinois law you only have the powers granted, more commonly referred to as Dillon's Rule. That rule makes the job of "most" public officials pretty easy as far as knowing what they can or can not spend money on. They only have to ask themselves one question before taking any action!
Where in the law does it say we can do X, Y, and Z?
Can't find statutory language giving you the power then it's real simple, Don't Do It!
As we pointed out in yesterday's article, lawlessness runs wild in Iroquois county as multiple actions taken has lead to considerable fraud, waste, and abuse of the taxpayers money. Those actions have ramifications! (Click here for full coverage of numerous illegal acts)
In an effort to keep things short, sweet, and to the point, I will quote from our State's Attorney, with names changed to apply to this case. The basic quote is what was sent to a public official to ensure the return of illegally spent public money on a private attorney, which is what has happen with the ICJD and ICOM boards.
“ I am requesting at this time that you obtain the return of said funds from Ottosen, Britz, Kelly,Cooper, Gilbert & DiNolfo Ltd. Neither the ICJD Board nor ICOM Board has the power to hire private counsel or pay private counsel with public funds. The initial remedy for this situation is to restore the public funds. Please provide a copy of the check or have the Iroquois Treasurer confirm the receipt of said funds within 14 days from the date of this letter. Failure to do so will not only indicate to me a willful failure to abide by the law but will certainly lead to a litigated resolution of this matter.”
You see, the reason those funds are recoverable is because the board members never had the power to spend that money in the first place. In the case of the Iroquois County Joint Dispatch board that was formed in 2002, it was formed as a policy committee and had no statutory authority to spend money, let alone hire private counsel.
In the case of the ICOM board, that entity never legally existed as we understand it, because the county board never voted on establishing such a public body. That being the case, the funds they spent were done in violation of the law as well.
And to circumvent the finger pointing blame game that is sure to go around on this one please save us all some time and just accept you were wrong and make it right.
I suspect the first thing some of these folks are going to say is that the State's Attorney told them they could do it. It seemed to work for Cary Hagen and Doug Corbett as it relates to the "clear" grant fraud committed out of their office. It won't work this time though because I have already confirmed through a FOIA that no documents exist as it pertains to the State's Attorney giving them the authority to hire private counsel.
Failure to obtain the return of the funds should indicate to the State's Attorney that there is a willful failure to abide by the law and it should lead to a litigated resolution. In this case such litigation is two fold. Charge those who broke the law with Official Misconduct and then take legal steps to recover the funds from the law firm who was hired illegally.
Pretty simple steps!
You "can" be $30,000.00 richer if you really want to fix this!
Congratulations Iroquois County!
Don't want to fix it? I believe you will find that the citizens also have a legal recourse to force the recovery of those funds and as we understand it, some of them are standing in line just waiting to make that happen!