Hancock Co. (ECWd) -
Hancock County appears to be yet another example of how corruption continues to fester, however, in this case it is not going without notice. Our past article points to the positive steps being taken by the State's Attorney, a rare act (in our opinion) with State's Attorneys. (Click here for that article)
Dave Walker, former County Board Chairman awarded a contract to his friend, Marc Huston who own Huston Home Improvement, and then was hired by the very same entity and paid prevailing wage. According to a recent FOIA response there were no bids for that work. Just straight up pay to play from all appearances, and admission of violating the law.
Q: Did Board Chairman at the time of this repair work hand pick the contractor Huston Home Improvement and then get paid to work on the project?
Q: Did Mr. Walker get paid prevailing wages?
FOIA requests have proven there were no bids for that project and it appears the State's Attorney has his hands full with this group as the responsive documents failed to contain any bids for the current project as well. In fact, a claim by the clerk was that they do not have any and advised the state's attorney of that even though the minutes say otherwise. After communicating with the State's Attorney, he has assured me the current contracts and bids are now on their way to me.
By all indications and admissions, Dave Walker should be facing Official Misconduct charges for handing out contracts in which he personally benefits from. A guilty verdict of Official Misconduct is a felony. As far as the concealment of public records, that too is a felony act. The initial claim to the state's attorney was that certain documents did not exist. After pointing out the reference to them in the minutes they now exist and the State's Attorney is providing them.
It is my understanding that the current Ambulance construction scandal is being investigated by the State Police and charges/prosecutions will be in the hands of the Appellate Prosecutor's office. I would suggest they add this pay to play self dealing by former county board chairman Dave Walker.
I would like to once again compliment the State's Attorney for doing his job and holding these people accountable. Reading through several years of minutes it is clear this is not the first case of self dealing as it relates to the Ambulance. I would suggest they look into the former board member who was also on the board of the Hospital that the county had a contract with.
It should be noted, Mr. Walker is a current county board member as is Marc Huston, the person who got contract mentioned above.
Below is a copy of the amended minutes in which Dave Walker admits to giving the contract to a company that hired him at prevailing wage. If that is not self dealing I don't know what is.
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