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July 20, 2024

Clark County Park Board Voids Leased Lot Agreement –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On April 26, 2017


During a Special Meeting of the Clark County Park District Board of Commissioners, held April 25, 2017, the Board voted to declare the lease agreement for Lot #6 to be Void and worthy of no further discussion. We thank them for that decision.

At issue, was whether the “lot lease” (after the amended lease agreement was voted down during a motion to reconsider at the previous meeting) even needed continued discussion after it was apparent the proposed leaseholder was basically coerced into attempting to lease the lot through veiled threats of losing her dock lease unless she forked out the money for the adjacent lot.

It’s pretty sad when the only lot someone “wants” to lease, was only discussed because the proposed leaseholder was basically threatened with the withholding of other official action if this lot was not leased by her. Yes, that scenario meets the definition of felony intimidation [720 ICLS 5/12-6(a) and (a)(6)] by an elected official if it turns out that intimidation, threats, and arm-twisting was used by the previous board.

Some Commissioners appeared to have a hard time realizing elections have consequences, and the actions of elected boards are either validated or vilified through the election process. In the case of this park district, the new board openly campaigned on their disapproval of the district attempting to lease lots in a newly created subdivision on park district property. They should look at these election results as their mandate to rid the district of the idea of a subdivision created on public recreational property, place it back in use for the public as recreational property, and ensure it remains as such.

In our opinion, their next step should be to vacate the subdivision plat as provided for in the Illinois Plat Act.

 (765 ILCS 205/6) (from Ch. 109, par. 6)
    Sec. 6. Any plat may be vacated by the owner of the premises at any time before the sale of any lot therein, by a written instrument to which a copy of the plat is attached, declaring it to be vacated...

There was also considerable discussion of who had the authority to approve and sign dock leases. Some Commissioners insisted the executive director held that authority according to district policy. We insisted the board itself held sole approval authority thru the statutory requirements found in Section 4-6 of the Park District Code.

Sec. 4-6. No member of the board of any park district, nor any person, whether in the employ of said board or otherwise, shall have power to create any debt, obligation, claim or liability, for or on account of said park district, or the monies or property of the same, except with the express authority of said board conferred at a meeting thereof and duly recorded in a record of its proceedings.

The sticking point, in our opinion, is the definition of “express authority”, with some members thinking “general permission” granted to the director is equal to “express authority” granted by the board for each individual dock lease. If general permission was the only requirement, why would our legislature place “express” authority in the statute? It is there for a reason.

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  • Warren J. Le Fever
    Posted at 12:35h, 26 April Reply

    Finally! Something good happens to correct financially egregious behavior. While I agree with the writer’s opinion on what to do with the plat and who has authority, not so intimidation. Intimidation (threats and arm-twisting) is and has been practiced all over Clark County and not prosecuted. I can tell you from personal experience that if locals go looking into such issues, it’s more likely they will find themselves “investigated”.

  • Jim
    Posted at 15:36h, 27 April Reply

    Whats really odd about the one board member towards the end calling it a “convoluted” mess, and he can’t figure out why he got himself involved…He just ran and got elected so he must like being in the “convoluted” mess!!! He has an option—RESIGN!! He won’t do that either, as he enjoys the drama!! I’m having a hard time figuring out who exactly is running these meetings….the ELECTED President or the elected Secretary/Treasurer. And where was this boards attorney for this meeting? She said at the last meeting she would be available by phone.

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