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April 21, 2024

Iroquois County State’s Attorney – Get your head in the game –

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On April 19, 2017

Iroquois Co. (ECWd) –

Iroquois County State’s Attorney Jim Devine appears to have once again stepped off into areas he apparently knows little about and gave legal advice that puts his client, the County Board, into a position of violating the law.

Before we dive into what we consider the most recent failure, a short review may help people better understand why we believe it is in fact time for this man to resign from public service…or take on public corruption, and help fix problems in the county.

In 2013 we started investigating and writing dozens of articles exposing wrongdoing by public officials of the Ford-Iroquois Department of Public Health (FIDPH).  During our investigation, we identified grant fraud, procurement law violations, conflicts of interest and much more.  We contacted State’s Attorney Jim Devine and arranged a meeting with him in the Law Library at the University of Illinois. During that meeting, he specifically confirmed grant fraud and verbalized “that’s grant fraud” as he reviewed grant records that had people’s names as employees who were, in fact, no longer employees.  Jim Devine did nothing! 

A forensic audit of the FIDPH also found numerous acts by public officials that violated numerous laws.  The forensic report can be read at this linkJim Devine did nothing! 

We provided evidence of collusion with a private company and public officials of FIDPH regarding solar panels purchased in violation of the law and wrote about it in this article.  Jim Devine did nothing!

We exposed the illegal use of funds by the FIDPH Director who wrote a check to fund a private corporation he formed and was running it out of a the FIDPH public office.   Our exposure led to the return of the funds. Jim Devine did nothing!

We exposed massive manipulation of grant money that ended up in the hands of a contractor who just happened to be married to the grant administrator and wrote about that here and here.   The pattern of practice was clear and violations of law were clear to anyone willing to read.   Jim Devine did nothing!

We exposed violations of law by the ETSB and County as it relates to billing for dispatch services.  We know they know it’s not legal to send out such bills, but justify continuing to do so because they are out of money. Jim Devine did nothing!

The Paxton Record reported on additional violations of law in which a forensic audit of the computers pointed to theft of services.  Devine did nothing!

For more exposure to the long history of illegal actions by public officials in Iroquois County, you can simply pick from the list at this linkTo date, Jim Devine has not prosecuted a single public official involved in these violations of law.

On a good note, he recently gave advice that the 911 coordinator’s alleged contract never existed from day 1, and that she is and always has been an at-will employee. That much we know to be true, however, so is the power to terminate an at-will employee.

So what happened that we officially call for his resignation?  As if his refusal to prosecute a single bad actor outlined in dozens of articles filled with evidence is not enough, it’s clear he needs to go when he can’t even give sound legal advice on something as basic as the Open Meetings Act and needs legal help to figure out who is charge of firing the ETSB director, which I suspect he knows would take years to actually get a response and would provide cover for the 911 Director.

During last night’s Emergency Telephone System Board meeting, eight members of the County Board attended.  When the ETSB went into closed session, all eight members present, with advice and consent of the State’s Attorney, joined the ETSB members in closed session.  Had they sat silent, there would have been no problem.  But of course, with Larry Hasbargen present you know that won’t happen.  Turns out these 8 County Board members participated in the discussion of personnel.   Such a discussion by a majority of a quorum constitutes a public meeting of that public body, as in the County Board.

Section 1.02 of OMA (5 ILCS 120/1.02 (West 2012)) defines a “meeting” as: Any gathering, whether in person or by video or audio conference, telephone call, electronic means (such as, without limitation, electronic mail, electronic chat, and instant messaging), or other means of contemporaneous interactive communication, of a majority of a quorum of the members of a public body held for the purpose of discussing public business or, for a 5-member public body, a quorum of members of a public body held for the purpose of discussing public business.

This meeting of a majority of a quorum (of the County Board) in closed session was not posted with a notice or agenda 48hrs in advance and based on prior rulings by the Attorney General PAC office on matters almost identical in nature, we are confident their determination will be that the Iroquois County Board held an illegal meeting and met in closed session without proper authority.  What is sad in this case, they did it with the advice and consent of the Iroquois County State’s Attorney.  In this case, they exceeded the majority of a quorum, which is six members of the County Board, by having eight members present.  The two county board members who sit on the ETSB do not count towards the majority quorum number according to the AG PAC office as they were part of the ETSB for this closed session.

Not convinced this guy has no business giving legal advice to the county?

The Times Republic ran a headline today of “ETSB seeking more legal advice”. I am all for more legal advice as what has been given so far is off the charts wrong.   As we understand it, now Devine is not sure who has the legal authority to fire the 911 Director.

Please, we beg the people of Iroquois County to read the Powers and Duties assigned to the ETSB and tell us who has the authority over employees of the ETSB system?

“The powers and duties of the board shall be defined by ordinance of the municipality or county”

You can read the ordinance the ETSB is bound by at this link and find the applicable highlighted section.

  • Hiring, on a temporary basis, any staff necessary for the implementation or upgrade of the system.

So by the County ordinance, the ETSB restricted their staff necessary for the implementation or upgrade of the system to a temporary basis.  Considering the 911 Director is anything but temporary, it’s clear their own ordinance is not being followed.

Considering it is the ETSB with the power to hire, there is an implied power to fire those that they hire.  It’s not rocket science.

Reading the law, which applies to the ETSB and the situation at hand, it is clear who is in charge of the 911 Director.

  • Hiring any staff necessary for the implementation or upgrade of the system.

The ETSB absolutely has the power to terminate employees working for them, which in this case their 911 Director and every dispatcher she hired.

What Iroquois County is facing is years of total disregard for the law by the State’s Attorney as it relates to public officials and the power they have or don’t have.   He has acknowledged he is a criminal prosecutor and is not up on all this “other stuff”.  May we suggest you either get your head in the game or resign as your unwillingness to learn all this “other stuff” is a major contributor to the malfeasance that is infecting your county.

For all of those that think a full-time person is needed in the form of a Director over 911, realize this system, once in place, operates quite efficiently.  It’s not too much different than hiring a person to “temporarily” install your home office computer.  Once it’s up and running, they are no longer needed and when it breaks, you call the manufacturer of the equipment you’re using for repairs.  Any dispatcher can make such a call.  We contend, based on our research, the authorization to hire staff limited it to the specific action of implementing or upgrading the system.

Once it’s implemented, there is no need for a babysitter.  Need an upgrade?  Hire accordingly, upgrade, and they are done!  The legislature realized this when they wrote the law.  Sadly, County officials continue to ignore the law.

We will update on the Attorney General PAC complaint we filed on the alleged Open Meetings Act violation as it moves through the process.

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  • Shari
    Posted at 18:22h, 19 April

    Just get rid of Jim Devine. Nita Dubble has run 911 very well as far as us taxpayers are concerned. Jim Devine needs to go. I have several reasons why

    • John
      Posted at 07:23h, 20 April

      Jim Devine or any other person who continue to do a job that they cannot handed, Needs to be replaced by someone who can, You hired him u fire him..

      • Shari
        Posted at 10:57h, 20 April

        He picks and chooses who he wants to prosecute

    • Robert Smith
      Posted at 08:24h, 20 April

      Lets talk about corruption and mayor harwood that deliberately flooded his own town to receive kick backs in constuction forcing people to raise home by taking water meter away!! Anything left of the new flood ditch they put in is in extreem danger as the water just whirlpools around the town!! Iroquois River into Sugar Creek into new flood ditch back into Iroquois River someone please help us!!!

      • Shari
        Posted at 22:29h, 20 April

        I agree. I had 60 days to.get out of a house i was buying. Promised money from Realtors Association..never saw that…no one inspected my house..but i had to leave. I was very torn down ..wheres my money??? Alot of corruption in this town…start investigating. Ive had enough!

  • Jim
    Posted at 20:39h, 19 April

    Let me get this straight, you say 911 can be run without a full time director. Then tell me why Iroquois has a full time director and a assistant to the director? Sounds like a lot of waste.

  • Joe Friday
    Posted at 21:12h, 19 April

    So if Devine is not sure who can fire Dubble – then is he saying the 911 Board may not have had the authority to hire Dubble? If you do not have the authority to fire someone – then how can you have the authority to hire someone? Why would anybody hire a person if they do not have the authority to fire or reprimand? There is no leadership on this Board or by the States Attorney! Ignorance is no excuse to break the law.

  • Madison Black
    Posted at 07:37h, 20 April

    Two thoughts. One, get rid of this States Attorney that does need to go.
    Two. If you check you may find that the
    IL General Assembly consolidated 911 services several years. Although there is a transition period, some people should be out of a job due to 911
    consolidation efforts in Illinois.

    • Shari
      Posted at 22:29h, 20 April

      Amen in the so called States Attorney. Crooked

  • Jeanie
    Posted at 09:13h, 20 April

    He never did any thing for my son’s death in watseka either he does need to get out.

    • Roxanne Connolly
      Posted at 12:04h, 08 February

      Ours either
      where is justice

  • Jeanie
    Posted at 09:14h, 20 April

    That’s why he never done anything about my son’s death too. He needs to get out

  • David
    Posted at 08:08h, 18 July

    Hes willing to prosecute a guy for drawing a penis on a picture of his boss’ wife. The wife just happened to be a neighbor of Devine

  • [email protected]
    Posted at 10:39h, 05 June

    Here’s another example of neglect. James Devine was provided more than enough information regarding child neglect and abuse,animal cruelty, charity fraud and arson.

  • Answers4Animals
    Posted at 15:30h, 25 June

    Another example of neglect from Devine… another criminal let go:

    Corinne DiLorenzo, Founder of EARTH Animal Sanctuary had been “rescuing” animals including farm pigs, pot bellied pigs, goats, cats, dogs, hens, raccoons and many other species of animals into her sanctuary. Most in Chicagoland’s animal rescue and advocacy community put their full trust and support in Cori Dee, as she was known on Facebook. EARTH formed in May 2014, only 5 years ago, and many of these animals were young and should have had a long life ahead of them.

    A fire destroyed most of EARTH on September 2, 2018. Surprisingly though, DiLorenzo never reached out to any of her animal protection friends. Many who surrendered animals to her over the last few years have contacted her and inquired about the animals, but she has ignored almost everyone. It wasn’t until a Go Fund Me page, created by one of her AFLAC colleagues, was discovered in January that the animal community started to question what was going on and why so many animals have disappeared.

    The Go Fund Me page was removed and many disturbing stories have emerged about this con artist and her past. She has been involved with multiple fires, including one at Wedrose Acres Animal Sanctuary, where she was living and where multiple animals lost their lives in the fire. It seems as though arson follows Corinne DiLorenzo around.

    Another disturbing fact is that DiLorenzo told conflicting stories about the night of the fire. In an update that she posted on the Go Fund Me page, she claimed that she and her son were sound asleep just feet from where the fire was blazing. However, in a text exchange with a woman who’d worked for the Cook County Sherriff’s office, she stated that she returned home after two of the fires had already destroyed two of her barns. These contradicting stories are a huge red flag.

    Sunday, June 23, 2019, former Board members drove to what once was E.A.R.T.H Animal Sanctuary founded by Corinne DiLorenzo located in Thawville, IL.
    September 2nd, 2018, the barn and duck house burned down in a suspicious fire, killing 8 pigs, 6 ducks, 6 geese, and 20 chickens. Corinne never told any of her friends or fellow rescuers about the fire. No one knew anything about it until January 2019 when a GoFundMe that was started by Corinne’s co-worker surfaced.
    As a former board member, my intent for going to the EARTH property was to do a welfare check on 2 remaining pigs since their status could not be confirmed.
    We walked through the EARTH pasture but did not find any living animals. We walked further into the pasture to the area that was once a peaceful resting area for the santuary’s animal residents that had passed away and what we found was nothing less than horrific.
    There was an oblong shaped “ditch” filled with bag upon bag upon bag of the remains of dead animals. There were the remains of pigs that had been dragged out on a tarp or blanket and dumped in the hole. We saw skulls and bones of large pigs, medium sized pigs, goats of various ages, cats, dogs, birds/waterfowl, and rabbits. There were small bags inside of larger garbage bags as well as bags that contained multiple species of animals. We saw various states of decomposition. There were layers of animals and after about an hour of ripping thru bags with my hands, I couldnt do anymore. Have a look at the photos and keep in mind that when we left, there were still many more bags that had not been opened. The animal that appeared to have been put in the ditch most recently was a medium to large sized pig that still had flesh and black hair. His/her body was callously covered with the bottom of a blue rabbit cage. Corinne Dilorenzo claimed she was an animal lover, advocate, and vegan. She always said how pigs especially were her heart animal. I know that I have never thrown any of the animals I have ever loved in a ditch like they were trash.
    Please click the link below to view all of the photos.

    Please take action for the 600+ missing animals.