Will Co. (ECWd) -
The person who rents this home is Dave Ernst. He is currently the Head Football Coach for Lincoln Way West. The point of this article is not necessarily about "who" is renting this home, but more about the process involved and how the Board of Education is placing taxpayers at risk.
To date, Mr. Ernst has paid $500 a month for 4 months and possibly one other rent payment that is claimed to have been part of an accounting error in the school kids activity fund. A copy of the rent payments is below. We still don't know how long he has been living there, so not sure what the real monthly rent number is.
Things that the citizens should be concerned about are as follows.
- The Board of Education has never approved the rental of this property to Dave Ernst
- The school does not have any rental agreement with the renter.
- The school has not required the individual to provide proof of insurance nor does the school have a rider requirement for the renter living in D210 property.
- All indications from the Assessor information, $3695.12 in real estate tax is being paid by the district, when the renter is responsible and should have been sent the tax bill. Let me repeat: the District is under NO obligation to pay the real estate taxes in this property - the renter is.
- It appears the utility bills are being paid by the district although we have filed a FOIA to determine if those payments have been reimbursed by the renter.
All these matters point to a Board of Education that is failing the citizens, costing taxpayers money, and putting them at risk.
Failing the citizens - Public property that is used for private purposes brings numerous issues to the table. Who do you rent to? How do you determine if such rent is the going rate. Who pays the property tax. What insurance concerns are there? When the BOE failed to put this property up for bid they did the residents a disservice. What if there were others willing to rent for more than the current rent payment? How did Mr. Earnst find out about the availability of the property? Was this an insider deal? As if that is not enough, the BOE has no rental agreement nor any board minutes approving this rental.
Why is Mr Sawin listed as the VENDOR in the spread sheet for these rent payments?
Costing Taxpayers Money- District property is tax exempt up to the point where you rent/lease it out for private purpose. At that point, Illinois law is very clear. The lease holder is obligated to pay the property tax. Yes, when you rent public property the person renting it is obligated to pay the property tax. The Assessor is obligated to send the tax bill to the renter - not the school district. Since the tax bill was sent to D 210, we assume the school district paid the tax, which is using public funds in violation of law. The same holds true for farm ground, which we will expose in another article.
Putting them at Risk - Anyone with a lick of sense knows you don't rent property to people without a rental agreement written to protect the owner, in this case D210, which is the taxpayers. In the event the renter or any of his guests get hurt on the property, D210 could be on the hook for such injuries and damages.
Why has the Board of Education not established a rental agreement for this property and why are the taxpayers paying the utility bills? Since there is no rental agreement, is this not a taxable benefit that should show up on a W2 for Mr. Ernst? Better yet, since it clearly is a benefit being provided by the District, was that part of the collective bargaining contract negotiations? I doubt that very much.
When you look at the risks this BOE has placed on the citizens with the Day Care Center being under insured, renting property with no rental agreement, spending tax dollars to train dogs instead of kids, it is clear these people MUST be voted out of office.
Lastly, look closely at all the rent payments for other operations utilizing school property found in the spread sheet below. It will be telling to see what those rent agreements look like, if they even have any.
Citizens of Lincoln Way School District 210, You had better wake up and take back your local government from those who have no clue what it means to represent the people.
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