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May 22, 2024

LaHarpe, IL. Mayor Ryan Kienast Used City Backhoe For Personal Gain –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On November 11, 2016

LaHarpe, IL. (ECWd) –

Yesterday we were informed the Mayor of LaHarpe, Illinois, Ryan Kienast, had directed a city worker to bring the city backhoe down to Kienast’s home and dig away the dirt from a corner of his building foundation.

This was so Kienast could rebuild the foundation of his house that was failing.


Click to enlarge.

A JULIE location for underground utilities was conducted prior to the dig and stacks of concrete blocks were in place to begin the work once the city operator and backhoe had dug the hole.

You can see the dirt and blocks in the picture.

When we called Kienast and asked him if it was true that the city’s equipment and personnel had been used to dig this hole on his personal property, he replied that “they weren’t doing anything that they normally won’t do“.

When asked again to clarify that the city worker and city backhoe were, in fact, working on the Mayor’s private property, Mayor Kienast hung up the phone without any response.

From all appearances, and the words and actions of the Mayor when questioned, this work was performed and he reaped a direct personal benefit from this misuse of public property.

Constitutional violations of Article VIII, Section 1, can be used as a predicate for felony criminal charges (remember Pekin, IL,?). This Section states that public funds, property, or credit shall be used only for public purposes. This was not a public purpose, but a private purpose for the Mayor.

Violations of Section 33-3 (Official Misconduct) of the Illinois Criminal Code are felonies and result in removal from office. Mayor Kienast appears to have committed Official Misconduct in using public property (backhoe) and funds (wages for employee) to perform work on his private property for his own personal gain.

So, in addition to trying to skate without paying his water bills to the city, he thinks it’s OK to use city equipment and workers to do jobs on his private property.

He needs to resign.

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  • Dave Clover
    Posted at 11:22h, 11 November

    This shouldnt be happening and thank you watchdogs!

  • Melissa Burt
    Posted at 11:33h, 11 November

    Thank you for continuing to pursue justice. It’s very sad, and embarrassing, what he has done to our town with his “reign” thus far.

  • G. Barraclough
    Posted at 15:00h, 11 November

    In large urban areas and tiny hamlets in the United States, it has become axiomatic that someone is always watching. The surprising thing here is that the actual excavation at Ryan Kienast’s home was not videoed by someone.

    Mayor Kienast has made a major miscalculation. And that is that good people who are just scraping by from paycheck to paycheck and trying to obey the law are pretty sick. Sick of people in charge of government assets and labor enriching themselves and misusing public assets to do so. Earlier this week it became evident that another politician made a similar miscalculation and things turned out differently than planned.

    And they are starting to do something about it. Like calling the Watchdogs’ tip line. Because the Watchdogs are the only adults and straight people in the room.

    And then again, maybe not. This is Illinois. Madiganistan. Land of lawlessness. With venal politicians roaming the prairies much like the buffalo did 200 years ago.
    Where the public agencies which are supposed to be doing something about this abuse of public assets and labor are so corrupt it is unlikely that anything will be done. Period.
    They’ll probably just shake their thieving heads and say Mayor Kienast was just “extremely careless.”

  • Ed Pence
    Posted at 16:56h, 11 November

    If I may be permitted to go off on a tangent here. I’m not nearly as angry with the Mayor for using city equipment and city workers for personal gain. Why? Because as one of the “media whores” and ” trouble makers” who have been witnessing and fighting against this assholes misuse of his office for personal gain this doesn’t surprise me and I’ll just add it to the list. What pisses me off way more than this is the fact that Attorney Diesler, Councilwoman Stiller, and Councilmen Kraft, Foster, Bennett, Wisslead, and before now Mershon have allowed this parasite to get away with all this shit. Kraft, Foster and Stiller are generally around La Harpe most of the day and allowed this digging to take place? They didn’t know about it until the Edgar County Watchdogs published this story? If that’s their excuse I’m not buying it. They have a responsibility to protect the community and tax payers who put them in office, yet they continually look away. I hold them more responsible for this than the Mayor. Why? Because I know that this is how he operates. He will do anything to make an easy buck and will do more than anything to avoid paying a buck. The council members are the ones who have allowed this to fester. They, in my personal opinion, need to resign right along with the Mayor because they are culpable. Don’t get me wrong, the Mayor’s actions piss me off, but let’s not forget those people, other than us the community, who are charged with keeping checks and balances over this little tyrant’s reign have failed us yet again.

    • G. Barraclough
      Posted at 05:41h, 12 November


      …fighting against this assholes misuse…

      should be:

      …fighting against this assholes’ misuse…

      You are obviously a man of high moral character and strong convictions who is concerned about the corruption in his community and the families living there. My only question is: why do you hold back when expressing your thoughts?

  • Russell
    Posted at 17:28h, 11 November

    Take you’re petty shit some where else. This isn’t social justice this is a wast of time. It took 15 minutes tops. Between fuel and labor 50 bucks tops. Get a life. There’s worse shit to going on.

    • jmkraft
      Posted at 18:23h, 11 November

      If found guilty, it is more than one felony. Doesn’t seem petty to me. Can any resident of LaHarpe use the backhoe and city worker on their own property? On what is the magical time limit for use of them? How much can a person steal before its no longer OK to steal?

      • Ed Pence
        Posted at 18:34h, 11 November

        I didn’t know Russell was the Mayor’s middle name. But the Mayor didn’t write that response. I’ve seen his writing before. He doesn’t use capital letters or proper punctuation or grammar.

    • G. Barraclough
      Posted at 06:06h, 12 November

      Yes Russell, “There’s worse shit to(sic) going on.”

      But, in the English paraphrase of the words of Chinese philosopher Laozi ( Lao-Tzu or Lao-Tze ), “a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”.

      President Kennedy also used this saying in his remarks following the negotiation of the nuclear test-ban treaty with the Soviet Union in 1963.

      So Russell, this could be the first step in the corruption clean-up in LaHarpe. Would that be a bad thing?

    • BigDog
      Posted at 20:14h, 12 November

      That 15 minutes, equipment, labor and fuel would have cost a regular person who can’t order it done by his lackey about 500.00 or more. The reason he ordered it done is because it is expensive to get a backhoe to show up at your house, and dig next to your foundation.