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April 12, 2024

Lincoln Way District 210 – Coach living in School property – Sawin Violates FOIA

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On February 17, 2016

Will Co. (ECWd) –

After exposing what we consider an illegal contract Lincoln-Way School District 210 School board has with Nancy’s Day Care in this article, I received a response to a question that now proves Ron Sawin violated FOIA by failing to provide the records requested.

In this case, it may bring even more problems to the district and clearly validates the School Board has been asleep at the wheel, as if we didn’t already know that.

My FOIA outlined in the above article was very specific.  There is no confusion of how I worded it or anything else that could be confusing to a so called educated educator.

  • Copy of names of all persons currently leasing, renting, or using public facilities for private purpose.

Does ANYONE not understand that request?  The response I got in the FOIA only directed me to the bottom of the Nancy’s Day Care contract for the names of the persons leasing, renting or using public facilities for private purpose.

To the those unfamiliar with the games these school administrators are playing with the general public, you would think the FOIA was complete and all they were leasing out was space for the Day Care.


Sadly for Sawin, the response he provided violated FOIA as he did not disclose yet another clear problem for this School District.

I tend to apply that principal of never asking a question you don’t know the answer to.  In this case, I knew the district had a home on their property that was being lived in by David Earnst, the Head Football Coach for Lincoln-Way West, and the school also has farm ground leased.  Neither of those key facts were disclosed in my FOIA, thus a clear FOIA violation by Ron Sawin.

Was Sawin’s failure to comply with FOIA intentional and willful?   I suspect so based on the response I got after questioning his FOIA response.

Question: “You have not provided the name of the person living in a home owned by the District? Any reason for that?”

Sawin Response: “I have attached the agricultural leases for our vacant property. The individual renting the house adjacent to Lincoln-Way West is David Ernst; there is no formal agreement for that property – it is rented on a month-to-month basis.”  Ron

So now after being called out for not providing the very information I asked for he gives me the name of the person living in the home on District 210 Property and also provided the Agriculture Agreements.

And once again, for those that think those exposing these illegal actions are just trying to destroy the school please know you are wrong!  We simply want the law followed.  Seriously, how hard is it to follow FOIA?  This guy should resign if he is not capable of compliance of the most basic of laws he is bound by.

I have FOIA’d additional information on the home rental and agriculture leases and will update when that information is received.  It will be interesting to see if any of these rentals and leases have board approval.

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  • Patty V
    Posted at 15:17h, 17 February

    It just never ends with these clowns and it’s infuriating that they just get to continue these charades without any oversight and a school is closing for no other reason than just because they want it to. They are arrogant and seemingly unstoppable and 1/2 the community just chooses to sit in the dark and defend them! I pray the Judge reads everything you have posted and makes them all resign or start producing all documents that have been requested.

  • Dan B.
    Posted at 15:38h, 17 February

    Coach Earnst has a salary of over $110,000 and he needs a month to month lease for an on school piece of property? Another cover up, and another reason why the BOE did not ever consider closing West, as they would have had to evict their coach / tenant.

    • LWAPU
      Posted at 21:47h, 19 February

      You are really living in some fantasy land!

  • franklin
    Posted at 15:47h, 17 February

    Copy of names of all persons currently leasing, renting, or using public facilities for private purpose.
    So is farmland taxed as a facility had you simply asked for farmland leases you may have gotten them you asked for facility leases
    just saying

  • Marcia Englert
    Posted at 16:57h, 17 February

    FOIA is for copies of documents. If there isn’t document covering the house, he could not have provided same.

    • Kirk Allen
      Posted at 18:30h, 17 February

      Marchia, I asked for a copy of the NAMES of those using public property in a private capacity. He is using the house and they did not give me the name.

      • franklin
        Posted at 18:38h, 17 February

        public facilities

  • Doug
    Posted at 18:15h, 17 February

    The guy that wrote this article is a scumbag. The house is not worth anything and the backyard is the west parking lot. They agreed to a mutually beneficial arrangement that helped both parties after west took control of the disheveled estate. Just more people trying to stri the pot

    • jmkraft
      Posted at 20:07h, 17 February

      So you agree it is worth SOMETHING – otherwise no “mutually beneficial arrangement” would have been made. Also, “Ron” said there was no formal agreement – in other words, there could have never been a mutually beneficial arrangement made. Not to mention that I would bet no real estate taxes are being paid on the house as required by state law when not used for a public purpose, which this clearly is not.

    • Kirk Allen
      Posted at 21:15h, 17 February

      Doug, I am the guy that wrote the article and although you have every right to call me what ever you want, the article had nothing to do with what the rent figure was or what the house was worth. It was about FOIA not being complied with.

  • Violet
    Posted at 20:02h, 17 February

    This is not a public facility plain and simple. Again mountains out of molehills.

    • Kirk Allen
      Posted at 21:49h, 17 February

      More interested in the wording of the FOIA instead of the fact Sawin violated FOIA.

  • BC-210
    Posted at 12:14h, 18 February

    Could you clarify who wrote this article. Unfortunately, the person who provided some of the leasing information via FOIA is being harassed as being a “ghostwriter” for your site. Some clarification would be appreciated!! Thanks

    • jmkraft
      Posted at 15:55h, 18 February

      Kirk Allen wrote the article. The FOIA officer has no choice under law but to provide what someone requests.

    • Kirk Allen
      Posted at 17:43h, 19 February

      BC 210, I, Kirk Allen wrote this article. The contract currently in the article is the one I received from a FOIA. The previous contract that had a persons private information on it was sent to me by someone but I have no way of knowing the validity of it. I posted the wrong one when I published the article and corrected it within hours of posting upon discovering the mistake. Interesting that a person would be harassed without any confirmation of any such claim and sad to see they cant understand this is not about the author of the article. It is about a corrupted system that must be fixed.

  • Mike
    Posted at 19:45h, 18 February

    No formal agreement?
    Meaning there was an informal agreement?
    Where there any records for the informal agreement?
    School districts have records, documents, and contracts for just about everything.
    Something smells fishy here.
    I can’t imagine the school district attorneys advocating no formal agreement for a lease of school district PUBLIC property.
    How were the payments made to the school district
    Cash in an envelope?

  • Jim
    Posted at 07:27h, 19 February

    Month by month lease? The only way you would do This is if it’s a great price cash deal knowing if the shit hits the fan you have to go like now… This smells really bad…This is a cash cow for someone… Let’s just say $500 a month × 6 yrs =$30,000and that =jail