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July 12, 2024

Chief Legal Officer of Elgin's U-46 Schools needs to come clean –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On October 25, 2015

Elgin, IL. (ECWd) –
During the October 19, 2015 U-46 Board of Education Meetings, the School Board’s Chief Legal Officer, Miguel A. Rodriguez, seemed to be a little confused as to the statutory requirements of the Illinois Open Meetings Act, and also certain provisions of the Illinois School Code.
First, the School Code:

...governed by a board of education consisting of 7 members, serving without compensation except as herein provided...

...Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Section 10-22.32, no money for expenses shall be advanced nor shall any member or employee be reimbursed, for any expenses incurred on behalf of any person other than such member, employee, or person deemed to be a school board member for purposes of this Section...

  • Reimbursement authorized only for actual and necessary expenses.

Since meals at meetings are not actual or necessary, these meals constitute either a “gift” or “compensation”, and are not authorized. These meals violate the School Code and Article VIII, Section 1 of the Illinois Constitution.
The Open Meetings Act problems:
For starters, a “closed session” or “closed meeting” can only occur after convening a meeting in an “Open Meeting”, or a session open to the public, stating the exceptions used for the particular closed portion of the meeting, voting on entering into a closed meeting, and reconvening back into an open meeting when the closed session is complete.
There were a total of three meetings scheduled on October 19, 2015.

  • 4:30 Finance Committee Meeting
  • 5:15 Board Meeting for the stated purpose of going into closed session
  • 7:00 Board Meeting to conduct regular business

Each of these three meetings require and mandate the public body provide an opportunity for the public to exercise their RIGHT to address the public body during each of the meetings. No exceptions.
What happened, in short, was the board showed no intent of opening the 5:15 meeting in public and going to closed session. Instead, they were in the closed session room feeding their faces when I walked in and asked them when the meeting was going to start. After some back-and-forth discussion, they put their face-feeding utensils down and went to the meeting room to open the meeting properly.
After opening the meeting, they voted to enter closed session and refused to allow public comment, even stating there would be no public comment until the 7 p.m. meeting.
This willful decision of the board was a crime, a violation of law, a Class C criminal misdemeanor, and made the board subject to arrest.
Now the attorney is trying to lie to the public, and deny there were three meetings scheduled.
So, using his argument, IF there were only two meetings, then they committed the crime of starting the meeting at 5:15 instead of the published 7:00 p.m. start time.
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  • George Barrackough
    Posted at 10:18h, 25 October Reply

    Notwithstanding the above criminality of the misrepresentation (the lie), this attorney appears to have violated rules of professional conduct promulgated by the Illinois Supreme Court and enforced through the ARDC.
    In the course of representing a client a lawyer shall not knowingly:
    (a) make a false statement of material fact or law to a third person; or
    (b) fail to disclose a material fact when disclosure is necessary to avoid assisting a criminal or fraudulent act by a client, unless disclosure is prohibited by Rule 1.6.
    Adopted July 1, 2009, effective January 1, 2010.
    [1] A lawyer is required to be truthful when dealing with others on a client’s behalf, but generally has no affirmative duty to inform an opposing party of relevant facts. A misrepresentation can occur if the lawyer incorporates or affirms a statement of another person that the lawyer knows is false. Misrepresentations can also occur by partially true but misleading statements or omissions that are the equivalent of affirmative false statements. For dishonest conduct that does not amount to a false statement or for misrepresentations by a lawyer other than in the course of representing a client, see Rule 8.4.
    Statements of Fact
    [2] This Rule refers to statements of fact as well as law. Whether a particular statement should be regarded as one of fact can depend on the circumstances. Under generally accepted conventions in negotiation, certain types of statements ordinarily are not taken as statements of material fact. Estimates of price or value placed on the subject of a transaction and a party’s intentions as to an acceptable settlement of a claim are ordinarily in this category, and so is the existence of an undisclosed principal except where nondisclosure of the principal would constitute fraud. Lawyers should be mindful of their obligations under applicable law to avoid criminal and tortious misrepresentation.
    Crime or Fraud by Client
    [3] Under Rule 1.2(d), a lawyer is prohibited from counseling or assisting a client in conduct that the lawyer knows is criminal or fraudulent. Paragraph (b) states a specific application of the principle set forth in Rule 1.2(d) and addresses the situation where a client’s crime or fraud takes the form of a lie or misrepresentation. Ordinarily, a lawyer can avoid assisting a client’s crime or fraud by withdrawing from the representation. Sometimes it may be necessary for the lawyer to give notice of the fact of withdrawal and to disaffirm an opinion, document, affirmation or the like. In extreme cases, substantive law may require a lawyer to disclose information relating to the representation to avoid being deemed to have assisted the client’s crime or fraud. If the lawyer can avoid assisting a client’s crime or fraud only by disclosing this information, then under paragraph (b) the lawyer is required to do so, unless the disclosure is prohibited by Rule 1.6.
    Adopted July 1, 2009, effective January 1, 2010.

  • George Barraclough
    Posted at 10:33h, 25 October Reply

    For an unknown reason, I was unable to copy and paste Section 8.4 which is germain and instructive.
    To read Section 8.4 click on this address:

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