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February 29, 2024

Corruption Defined – Edgar County –

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On November 16, 2014


With the recent claim by Tay Smith with the Prairie Press stating: “Thus far, I haven’t seen any evidence of corruption in Edgar County today”, we have been perplexed how anyone, even only having lived here for a year and one month could honestly believe that, let alone put it in print.

Was his claim that he has not seen any evidence in the county todayhis wordsmith slight of pen?  Or was claiming he has not “seen” any evidence because he has his eyes closed?  He says “I haven’t been given any evidence“, so I guess that means he doesn’t have to look and since “he” wasn’t given any evidence, then it does not exist? Either way he can claim he told the truth with his statements even though the facts clearly show overwhelming corruption all around us.

To read previous articles on the subject of Public Corruption, click HERE and HERE.

Corruption Defined:

  • lack of integrity or honesty
  • inducement (as of a public official) by improper means (as bribery) to violate duty

This list of corruption we have identified and exposed in the last 3-4 years, of which pretty much all of it was written about when discovered.  To date your local State’s Attorney has only prosecuted one of the cases referenced.

  1. Jim Keller, Democrat County Board Chairman signs illegal loan for $300,000.00 placing the county in debt.  Done it total secret!
  2. Merl Clark, authorized the above mentioned loan while working at the bank without any resolution paperwork from the county authorizing such a loan.
  3. 911 Board member voting on and receiving a gift for herself in violation of the law.
  4. Housing Commissioners using public credit cards for purchases for spouses.
  5. Housing Commissioner filing fraudulent mileage claims.
  6. Housing Commissioner attorney using public funds for his own travel.
  7. Bob Colvin with Francis & Associates claimed he was an engineer for the water district when in fact he is not an engineer.
  8. Bob Colvin with Francis & Associates billed the Water district for work NEVER performed.
  9. Bob Colvin with Francis & Associates tries to bill water district for bridge work done for Marshall.  Mysteriously the paper trail disappears.
  10. Chris Patrick while in his capacity as Airport Chairman shuffled business to his own private company in violation of the law and without any board approval.
  11. Chris Patrick while in his capacity as County Board Chairman claimed statements made pertaining to Zimmerly Ready mix not having a certified mix were false.  They were not false!
  12. Chris Patrick violated OMA by illegally removing person speaking from a public meeting.
  13. Edgar County Airport violates law by conducting secret ballot – then lies and tries to call it a straw vote.
  14. Chris Patrick and his son and step son falsified state paperwork claiming they had not been in elected office or family to anyone that was.
  15. Chris Patrick receiving two free chip and seal driveways at public expense.
  16. Chris Patrick conflict of interest as county board member.
  17. Chris Patrick while serving as County Board Member said “There is no CD” when asked about the secret airport CD that does in fact exist.
  18. Chris Patrick while serving as County Board Member said “Good luck” finding a copy of the secret CD at the airport that does exist – even though a local bank has been assisting in hiding the truth about it.
  19. Airport manager provided forged documents pertaining to the formerly secret airport CD on a FOIA response.
  20. Mass Transit Director steals thousands from the tax payer – currently in the hands of the Feds.
  21. County Board & State’s Attorney refused to listen when told the Mass transit dissolution was handled in violation of the law.  12 months later the county is $150K richer because of our efforts of demanding the law be followed.
  22. Two township road commissioners use public funds and property to oil and chip private driveways.
  23. Dee Burgin billed thousands of dollars of overtime and comp time without any legal authority to do so.
  24. Edgar County “sold” the ambulance service without bids, and to the county employee that ran it in to the ground.
  25. Edgar County gave away an entire Ambulance operation to Dee Burgin and never collected the $100,000.00 purchase price outlined in the contract.
  26. County audit contained fraudulent statement regarding the ambulance purchase.
  27. County Treasurer’s office computers “catching a virus” between a losing election and swearing in of new treasurer – additionally, no attempts made to recover lost data.
  28. Dee Burgin convicted in Federal Court for violating a girls civil rights yet still is allowed to carry a badge and a gun.
  29. Terry Rogers convicted in Federal Court for violating a girls civil rights yet still is allowed to carry a badge and a gun.
  30. Dee Burgin caught lying on a police report yet still is allowed to carry a badge and a gun.
  31. Former State’s Attorney using Cocaine during his term of office – confirmed in court records – still an attorney.
  32. Nannette Crippes using 911 funds to purchase Christmas presents (gift cards) but has no record of who got them.
  33. Nannette Crippes turning in claims for payment for meetings of which she never attended.
  34. Nannette Crippes placing her family on the cell phone plan and having the taxpayers fund her entire family phone service.
  35. Nannette Crippes hiring her daughter and friends and paying them with petty cash while never paying the required income tax to the state.
  36. Nannette Crippes using county credit outside her scope of authority.
  37. Nannette Crippes claims dispatchers are certified when in fact they had not been for as long as 6 years.
  38. Nannette Crippes draws two county paychecks while working the same hours.
  39. Nannette Crippes receives county benefits even though county policy mandates contract employee’s are not allowed benefits.
  40. Nannette Crippes uses county credit card for fuel in county vehicle – but pumps more fuel than will actually fit in the vehicle’s fuel tank.
  41. 911 board illegally authorized payments (after the fact) to director knowing they were fraudulently obtained.
  42. County elected officials receiving health insurance benefits in direct violation of county policy that states elected officials are not eligible for benefits.
  43. County Board attempts to give away animal control in violation of the law.
  44. County Board member Helstley routinely lies about matters.
  45. Illegal transfers of animal control funds to general fund.
  46. Tim Crippes selling guns, including guns with serial numbers filed off, in direct violation of both state and federal laws.
  47. Tim Crippes using inmates to roof houses.
  48. Tim Crippes using inmates to cut and stack firewood for citizens.
  49. Tim Crippes using his auto repair facility to repair sheriff vehicles while in the position of Sheriff.
  50. Tim Crippes issuing “covert investigator” letters to his friends, illegally circumventing concealed carry laws and putting the county at significant risk of liability. Mike Heltsley tries to get Ed Motley to issue him one, he refuses.
  51. Numerous deputies participating in sheriff sales, including gun buying, in direct violation of the law.
  52. Roger Hopper seized a vehicle and had it towed and repaired at the county expense and then purchased it for his daughter for less than the towing/repairing charge.
  53. Judge issues letter to State’s Attorney Matt Sullivan to ensure such illegal transactions don’t happen again – no accountability to the crime!
  54. Health department employee steals thousands.
  55. Corrections officers charged and convicted for felony crimes while former Sheriff wants them to “resign with dignity” and attempts coverup of crimes.
  56. Mayor of Redmond insisting he is still the Mayor even though he no longer resides in the community.
  57. 911 board at the direction of Merl Clark and Dee Burgin utilized funds to purchase equipment not allowed under the statute.  How convenient Burgin was operating the Ambulance and didn’t have to spend his own money on radios he needed.
  58. Chief Deputy Assessor holding a position of Multi-township assessor in direct violation of the law.  Took 9 months of effort before the State’s Attorney forced him to step down from Multi-township position.
  59. County Board using levied funds for matters not tied to that specific levy.
  60. County Board sitting on Mass Transit board in violation of the law.  Months of badgering before the person resigned.
  61. Attorney Craig Smith acting as attorney for 911 board in violation of the law. Only after the notice of a pending law suit to recover funds paid to him and a letter from the States Attorney did he pay the money back.
  62. City Mayor Craig Smith used city credit card for his continuing education requirements as an attorney.
  63. City lied during the exposure of that information by claiming the purchase was for books of state statutes when in fact we already had the invoice proving otherwise.
  64. City of Paris “sold” batting cages, when questioned, and after lying about the disposition and condition of the cages, they sent trucks and employees to Indiana to recover, and bring batting cages back to Paris.
  65. City of Paris electioneering with public funds by illegally donating city funds as campaign contributions to Roger Eddy’s legislative campaign.
  66. City councilman using city credit card for vacation expenses, which is theft of city funds! Stayed on job as city councilman.
  67. City of Paris bid-rigging for city insurance – local newspaper congratulates them for saving money.
  68. City of Paris not bidding insurance out for fear of lower bids coming in.
  69. Airport Board hiding public money in secret bank accounts.
  70. Airport Board hiding Certificates of Deposit and donations.
  71. Airport Grant application fraud.
  72. Airport former Manager took out a $30K plus loan without any authority to do so.
  73. Public officials and employees of public contractors threatening local businesses who sold a newspaper or who advertised with us online.
  74. Local Bank manager threatens livelihood of local business for advertising with us.
  75. Water district employees using public resources in an election challenge.
  76. Kansas clerk caused the village to lose upwards of $80,000.00 by failing to do her job and bill for ambulance services.
  77. Edgar County Fair Grounds NOT owned by the County – even though county equipment and personnel were used maintaining the track and roads.
  78. Edgar County Fair Grounds non profit status revoked for upwards of 20 years yet they continued to operate as such, while at the same time collecting public funds from the State of Illinois under the understanding they were a legitimate nonprofit.
  79. City property was not being taxed even though is being operated by a for profit business. On top of that, the City if Paris lied on paperwork, with the County Assessor’s office assistance, that was sent to the Illinois Department of Revenue. IDOR saw through the smoke and mirrors and directed property tax be collected.
  80. State’s Attorney saying during a public meeting that he would certainly never prosecute Chris Patrick for conflict of interest.
  81. State’s Attorney using “prosecutoral authority” when given evidence of public corruption, while at the same time vigorously pursuing a minor traffic ticket for two years against a low income resident, while at the same time letting his assistant dismiss a speeding ticket against U.S. Congressman Tim Johnson. Makes one wonder what his priorities are.
  82. Lies and deceit in the asphalt paving of the parking lot at the private golf course – using public funds.
  83. Water District going more than 20 years without a single financial report submitted to the State Comptroller – it is an annual requirement.

Getting the message Mr. Smith?  Quite the list for just one county isn’t it?  Rest assured, there are more examples of corruption that we could list but figured since you are always on the lookout for it, this might give you a starting point.  If you would like the facts to back all of these claims up just let us know, or simply search our web site because pretty much every one of these matters has been written about, with public records linked, and for the most part nothing was done about it nor was most of it ever published in your former paper.

The fact that nothing was done about most of these shows us how corrupt things really are in this county and coupled with the fact the paper refused to cover most of it as well, tells us all we need to know about those who operated the local paper at the time.

Sure there are some great people and great things about Edgar County, but the fact remains, it will always have a black eye for its failure to fix the problem of corruption.  By all indications the same group of people are right smack in the middle of continuing the legacy of not covering the truth as it relates to corruption.

If it makes you feel better to attack the messenger for claiming Edgar County may be the most corrupt in the county then by all means go for it, but know this, your words fall on deaf ears because the facts listed above are real!

How can you expose corruption if you can’t even recognize it when it is right in front of you?  I believe it might be wise for those in the media to get a better understanding of what the law states as it relates to public bodies.  You see, understanding the statutes applicable to those public bodies would help in exposing the corruption.


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  • theresa smith
    Posted at 14:12h, 16 November

    Amen what a dirty little town we live in crooks deceit and lies!!!!

    • franklin
      Posted at 17:54h, 16 November

      innocent until proven guilty in court of law found guilty in court of corruption then i will believe you

      • jmkraft
        Posted at 18:57h, 16 November

        Please get help, you need it.

        • franklin
          Posted at 15:24h, 17 November

          Here is a simple yes or no
          what if you have state highway worker who got his job politically and then spent many working hours doing work for his personal company he was starting up. is it corruption?

          • Kirk Allen
            Posted at 18:37h, 17 November

            If the work on his personal company was done while collecting a paycheck from another source then yes. He is basically steeling from his employer.

          • jmkraft
            Posted at 19:58h, 17 November

            If he got his job “politically”, meaning only because he was from a certain party, then yes.
            Theft of services, like working on a private business while getting paid from the state for a state job is theft, it becomes corruption when his boss is notified and does nothing to stop the act.

          • Kirk Allen
            Posted at 21:45h, 17 November

            And I would also say when people know about such an activity and do nothing then they too are part of the problem.

          • franklin
            Posted at 17:39h, 18 November

            The retired highway worker is a person you work with quite a bit. So can you believe what he tells you when you both said he could be corrupt.

          • Kirk Allen
            Posted at 09:42h, 19 November

            For starters, I don’t work with any retired state worker quite a bit so you are making a false assumption. You also make an assumption that we believe what people tell us. We don’t believe anything without documents, video, and/or audio that proves the claims people make, you included. If you have proof then please provide it. Keep in mind, you claim may have all kinds a validity but without any proof its just hearsay. Lets say you have proof. What do you want done about it if the person is retired? States Attorney wont touch this kind of thing even when its happening in his own building? Nannette getting two county paychecks for working the same hours is no different than what you described. Open to any and all suggestions.

          • Kirk Allen
            Posted at 12:42h, 19 November

            Franklin, you stated that we both said he could be corrupt. That is NOT what we said. The actions you described would constitute corruption at the point they took place. We said the action was corrupt. At the point the person is involved, yes they would be corrupt. Does that mean they are always corrupt? I don’t think so because I have seen way to many people come to the realization that their actions were wrong and they take steps to ensure it never happens again. I don’t know if that is the case in what you describe or not because I have no clue of the history of the person you elude to.

            What I do know, it is corrupt when you KNOW something is going on that should not be and you stay silent!

          • franklin
            Posted at 14:58h, 19 November

            Very good wordsmithing Mr Allen this is what I was looking for .
            Have you worked on anything with Rob Bogue?

          • Kirk Allen
            Posted at 17:30h, 19 November

            There was no wordsmithing to it. You made claim we said something that we did not. Have I worked on anything with Rob Bogue? Yes. He helped weld up a winch attachment on my truck. He also helped me pull a hydraulic cylinder out of my forklift. Outside of those two projects I have not worked with him. I spoken to him and his family at length during our uncovering of all the crap they put his son through. If you have a beef with Mr. Bogue then I suggest you take that up with him. If you want to make claims of wrongdoing I will tell you the same thing I tell everyone. Put up or shut up.

  • John Windmiller
    Posted at 14:15h, 16 November

    This is only moderate corruption. Don’t you know that there are different tiers of corruption ?

    • jmkraft
      Posted at 14:45h, 16 November

      So are you willing to accept “moderate” corruption? It all adds up, and becomes the mentality that nothing can be done, or “I won’t get that job, I don’t know the right people”. Worse yet, people asking “Why should I vote? They are all crooks anyway, and nothing will change it”.

  • None of your Buisness
    Posted at 14:48h, 16 November

    Quite a list Mr. Allen…..Too Bad you have not proven 90% of it. Your continued attempt at fictional writing is funny.

    In a previous post you mention Wordsmithing…….That is like the pot calling the kettle black.

    • jmkraft
      Posted at 15:16h, 16 November

      It is all proven, using public records. But if you feel froggy, please disprove any of it.

    • Kirk Allen
      Posted at 17:32h, 16 November

      So are you acknowledging 10% of it is proven? Please tell us which 10% you agree with.

  • Kirk Allen
    Posted at 14:54h, 16 November

    Moderate Corruption? Lying on a $million dollar grant?

  • Waiting for the Truth
    Posted at 15:52h, 16 November

    Smith – grow a set & REPORT the truth, or pack up & go back to where you came from. Gonna have to go back to callin’ the Prairie Press, the BE-CONF– USE. What a pathetic man. Nothin worse than a person in a position who is afrai to perform their job with accountability. You give all reporters a poor name. I say reporter, cause obviously you’re not a journalist.

  • Brenda Buckley
    Posted at 18:42h, 16 November

    Good job Watchdogs. Keep digging.

  • Robert O. Bogue
    Posted at 22:38h, 16 November

    Kirk, (and John) that’s absolutely great investigative work and lots of it. As far as Mr. Smiths comments, they’re completely preposterous.

    If corruption is so difficult for Mr. Smith to find, then perhaps it could be suggested that Mr. Smith start at the Prairie Press in search of corruption; by comparing articles written by his current employees (and former Beacon News Staff) to those written about the Edgar County Airport by the John and Kirk. Let’s see, that would be something like 3 articles for every 100 written by Kirk and John and a clear case of hear no evil, see no evil, print no evil and worst of all, clearly censorship. On the other hand, Kirk and John’s articles were accurate, documented and revealing.

    He might also compare the video recordings of Edgar County Board, Edgar County Airport Board and the Airport Committee over the past two years and ask why no action was taken against Jimmy Wells and Chris Patrick when they were busy harassing, hazing, badgering and driving my son from “their airport”. Still having trouble? Here’s a clew. That reason centers around protection and immunity for “the boys” bad behavior, all in exchange for bringing home the fraudulent grant. Go ahead check it out. But notice, they didn’t bring it home, all because it was lies. In fact, it was the lies that caused the FAA to place the project on permanent hold….and to ask the Office of the Executive Inspector General to investigate all of the details. That’s probably the first time in this state that’s ever happened. Let me guess, you missed that one too, right? Nope, no corruption here.

    And there was the two airplanes that were firebombed…in the past year. By your own admission, you were here. Obviously Mr. Smith you believe that event was spontaneous combustion with no possible connection to anyone “local” or our airport officials. Dream on.

    Here’s where it’s at. If our county officials would have done their job as they should have, then none of this would be front page news across our state and nation. Lies, dishonesty, corruption, fraud, under table dealings and deception have no place in our government. All of this could have and should have been handled the first time it became public information: in a honest and professional manner. Unfortunately, that has not been the case here in Edgar County. It’s because of this good old boy stuff and not the good deeds of it’s honest citizens, that Edgar County has become recognized as perhaps the most corrupt county in the state.

    In closing, it occurs to me, criminals really don’t want publicity, recognition for their crimes, or to be held accountable.

    It also seems to me our local criminals have convinced our news papers (including yours, Mr. Smith) it’s better to protect them and their interests: to allow their crimes to grow: and to allow our citizens to become victimized by them; rather than to ferret out and declare corruption where it’s found.

  • Jimbo
    Posted at 03:53h, 17 November

    terry Rodgers is a worthless mother f***ing piece of sh** nobody would overdose in Paris if he could do his f***ing job. Obviously itakes me sick thinking about how he loves his life and think he does good with his lif I believe 100% of this article it’s public f***ing record. Duh you f***ing idiots anyways Kirk your kind of a p***y also how do you think reporting is going to change it you clown get off the internet and do something about it p***y

    • Kirk Allen
      Posted at 14:46h, 17 November

      Other than file criminal complaints, civil lawsuits and public exposure what would you suggest I do?

  • Lake Lady
    Posted at 07:59h, 17 November

    The coverage of your paper on issues of corruption appear to be the same as the coverage of our paper here in Arcola,when it comes to reporting on the lawsuits against Arcola Township.With 6 lawsuits against them one would think something would be reported in the local newspaper.Thanks to the Watchdogs,officals will be held accountable.It’s a shame the local paper does’nt serve all the people who subscribe to it!

  • High Rider
    Posted at 18:12h, 17 November

    Jimbo sounds like a real deep thinker.I agree with Lake Lady when it comes to our paper over here in Arcola,except for one thing.When Bill Coombe and the rest of the Arcola Township board made the Douglas Country Courthouse News in the Arcola Record Herald,it made alot more people believe there something going on.What other reason would a taxing body fight so hard to keep from releasing Taxpayer Funded information?Jimbo,Kirk Allen and jmkraft are bring to light the wrong doing thats taking place at the local level with your tax dollar,think about that the next time you complain about how high your taxes are.You do pay taxes don’t you Jimbo?

  • Concerned about your improper definition
    Posted at 18:46h, 17 November

    Political corruption is the use of legislated powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain. Misuse of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is not considered political corruption. Neither are illegal acts by private persons or corporations not directly involved with the government. An illegal act by an officeholder constitutes political corruption only if the act is directly related to their official duties.

    Forms of corruption vary, but include bribery, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, patronage, graft, and embezzlement. Corruption may facilitate criminal enterprise such as drug trafficking, money laundering, and human trafficking

  • Al Schneider
    Posted at 10:08h, 20 November

    WOW!!!! I have been a bit under the weather for awhile and have not kept up on my reading.
    I have had several people at different times come up to me ranting, raveing, snorting, red in the face, about the Watchdogs—-I listen quietly—–wait till they are done, and I ask, what in the world have YOU done??? End of conversation