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October 2, 2022

COD- More for the Breuder legacy.

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On June 29, 2015

DuPage Co. (ECWd)

With the burdens of making ends meet becoming harder and harder most agree that at some point we have to put a stop to all the spending of public funds on matters not allowed by statute.

The following is yet another example of the laundry list of expenditures made by Breuder and his senior administration on things not permitted by statute.

Many will attempt to downplay the facts in this article but I suspect there are students out there or even faculty that would appreciate another $7,000.00 in their budget.  How many books would that purchase for needy students?  How many supplies could be purchased for those classrooms?

February of 2013, COD paid $3,500.00 from the now famous IMPREST fund for a membership to “Choose Dupage“, a non profit corporation that received 41% of its earnings from public bodies in 2013. This payment was made using voucher #V0197919.

Such a membership is not allowed in the Community College Act and those funds should be recovered.

Had the legislature wanted the Community Colleges to have the power to become members of an economic development corporation they would have given them that power.  Reading the Community College Act it is clear what powers were given as far as the college “joining” an organization and this membership is clearly not listed.

(110 ILCS 805/3-55) (from Ch. 122, par. 103-55)
Sec. 3-55.
Community college boards may form, join and provide for the expenses of associations of Illinois community college boards formed, in compliance with this Section, for the purpose of conducting community college board institutes and otherwise disseminating and interchanging information regarding community college board problems, duties and responsibilities.

(110 ILCS 805/3-40) (from Ch. 122, par. 103-40)
Sec. 3-40. To enter into contracts with any person, organization, association, educational institution, or governmental agency for providing or securing educational services.

Nothing in the Community College act authorizes public funds to be provided to a non profit economic development corporation for a membership.

As an example of authority given, look at the language in the Municipal code as it relates to similar issues of memberships.

(65 ILCS 5/1-8-1) (from Ch. 24, par. 1-8-1)
Sec. 1-8-1. The corporate authorities of each municipality may provide for joining the municipality in membership in the Illinois Municipal League, an unincorporated, nonprofit, nonpolitical association of Illinois cities, villages and incorporated towns and may provide for the payment of annual membership dues and fees.

Township example:

(60 ILCS 1/85-15)
Sec. 85-15. Township Officials of Illinois. The township board may provide for joining the township in an association of townships or a not-for-profit corporation with membership consisting of, townships and may provide for the payment of annual membership dues and fees.

Had the legislature intended for colleges to be a member of a economical development corporation they would have given them the power.  Considering no such power was given, the expenditure violates the Community College Act and is a misapplication of public funds, which if prosecuted and found guilty is a felony act.

In March of 2014, COD once again provides $3,500.00 to the “Choose DuPage” non profit but this time it is coded as a contribution. This payment was made using voucher # V0257853.

Under what authority can COD GIVE MONEY AWAY as a contribution? 

Reading the statute it’s very clear, and rest assured, giving it to a non profit corporation IS NOT a legal contribution.

Now is the time when the defenders of these expenditures are going to say being a member and contributing to that organization helps COD since it is promoting DuPage county.  One small problem with that thought process, even if in fact it were true that it helps COD.

Illinois is a Dillon’s Rule state, which means you only have the power granted by law.  If the Legislature wanted Community Colleges to participate in economic development corporations they would have put the language into the Community College Act, as they did with the County code, which states:

(55 ILCS 5/5-1005) (from Ch. 34, par. 5-1005)
Sec. 5-1005. Powers. Each county shall have power:

21. To appropriate and expend funds from the county treasury for economic development purposes, including the making of grants to any other governmental entity or commercial enterprise deemed necessary or desirable for the promotion of economic development in the county.

Considering the CCA is completely VOID of any language authorizing either memberships to or contributions to economical development corporation, doing so violates the law.

We are asking that the current board of trustees take the appropriate action and ask that these funds be returned and have this matter investigated as yet another example of Breuder’s failings when it comes to compliance with the law.

Thank you to Open The Books.com for sourcing the voucher and payment information.

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