ATLANTA, IL. (ECWd) -
We have previously written about William Thomas' 2016 Statement of Economic Interest (SEI), and how we believed it to be inaccurate. This article will cover both of his SEI filings for 2017, in which it appears he has filed another false statement, and "amended" it with a second false statement only after we believe it became known people were starting to question his activities at the Atlanta Public Library District (APLD).
Logan County (pop. 29,494) is the home of the Atlanta Public Library District, located in the small village of Atlanta, IL. (pop. 1,648) - Home of the Paul Bunyan Hotdog statue, which was moved from Cicero, Illinois to Atlanta, Illinois in 2003 (read about the statue here). This Library is a Public Library District with elected trustees who carry a 6-year term.
William "Bill" Thomas is an elected trustee to the Atlanta Public Library District ("APLD") and is required to file an annual Statement of Economic Interest ("SEI") with the county clerk.
During the course of our investigations of the APLD's "Union Hall Project" it came to our attention that Thomas has an alleged conflict of interest in the entire project, being that he owned the building - the "Union Hall" building...
We found it quite odd, that a County Clerk would stall a person, for more than 4 hours, who was simply wanting a copy of a public record so easily available to the clerk, and in which state law requires it be available on demand:
Section 4A-106, in part:
All statements of economic interests filed under this Section shall be available for examination and copying by the public at all reasonable times. Not later than 12 months after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 93rd General Assembly, beginning with statements filed in calendar year 2004, the Secretary of State shall make statements of economic interests filed with the Secretary available for inspection and copying via the
The Illinois Governmental Ethics Act (IGEA), 5 ILCS 420, is the governing statute for SEI's statewide. In our opinion, the Clerk's office was being unreasonable in initially refusing to allow a citizen to review his records, and it became even more complicated when we learned Thomas had "amended" his 2017 SEI the very same day the person trying to obtain a copy of it was getting stone-walled by the clerk's office. We believe "all reasonable times" means during normal business hours.
There is no provision in the IGEA to file an amended statement, which is why the person filing must attest to the truthfulness of the statement he turns in.
Anyway, Thomas declared absolutely nothing on his original SEI for 2017 even though he was getting paid, by the Library District, for Bookkeeping or something else in the name of Teleologic Learning Center, of which he is the owner - and he was receiving a $1000 check every month for a "lease" payment for Union Hall, in which he was the owner of that building as well - the board chairman stated during the August meeting that Teleologic "purchased" the building from Thomas in July 2017.
Under item number 1:
List the name and instrument of ownership in any entity doing business with a unit of local government in relation to which the person is required to file, in which the ownership interest held by the person at the date of filing is in excess of $5,000 fair market value, or from which dividends in excess of $1,200 were received during the preceding calendar year; In the case of real estate, location thereof shall be listed by the street address, or if none, then by legal description.
He checked "Not Applicable" in his original 2017 filing. On his "amended" 2017 filing, he hand-wrote "Teleologic Learning Center" and checked the "Business" block. He did the same under item number 6.
His original and amended 2017 Statements of Economic Interest are both false for the following reasons:
- Ownership interest "at the date of filing" in excess of $5000 fair market value - his ownership interest in the building
- Failed to list the location, by street address, of the real estate in which he held ownership interest in
Filing a false or inaccurate SEI is a crime in Illinois.
He again signed his name attesting to the amended statement's accuracy, and that he acknowledges that under the Illinois Governmental Ethics Act, the penalty for willfully filing a false SEI is punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both.
According to records received under the Freedom Of Information Act; during the preceding calendar year, the Atlanta Public Library District entered into a contract "lease" agreement for a period of 20 years, in the amount of $1000 per month increasing by 2% each year thereafter - and at the date of filing both of his SEI he held ownership interest in the real estate subject to the lease. William Thomas signed the lease as "landlord" in his own name.
We will cover the real estate leases(s) in a future article.
Thomas is the CEO of Teleologic Learning Center according to public records. TLC was paid at least $2800 during the preceding calendar year (Jan thru Dec 2016) with "bookkeeping and lease payments."