McHenry Co. (ECWd) -
It's a crime to willfully file a false or incomplete Statement of Economic Interest statement according to our State Ethics law.
(5 ILCS 420/4A-107)- Sec. 4A-107. Any person required to file a statement of economic interests under this Article who willfully files a false or incomplete statement shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.
We exposed the McHenry County Board Chairman in a previous article related to his SEI statements, and as our investigation continued, we find more compelling information that leads to many questions.
Franks claimed to have worked for numerous local public bodies and listed them on his SEI statements since at least 2009, with the exception of keeping that information off his SEI statement while running for County Board Chairman. We now suspect he kept it off of that one because many of the locals who would have read it would have quickly discovered what we did, from four hours away.
We submitted Freedom of Information Requests to those local public bodies whom Franks claimed to have worked for.
Greenwood Township: "..we have not retained the services from the law firm of Franks, Gerkin, McKenna for over 8 years"
So is the Greenwood Township lying to us or has Jack Franks willfully filed a false SEI since 2009 by claiming to have worked for Greenwood Township each and every year since 2009?
Hebron Township: "Hebron Township does not have any records requested for items 1, 2, 3 or 4"
- A copy of any employment application for Jack Franks
- A copy of payroll records for Jack Franks for 2016
- A copy of any legal bill received from Jack Franks in the last two years.
- A copy of any W2 for Jack Franks
A follow-up request for last 2 years of legal bills also reflected in nothing tying Jack Franks to doing work for Hebron Township. That leads us to the question, Is Hebron Township lying to us or has Jack Franks willfully filed a false SEI since 2015 by claiming to have worked for Hebron Township each and every year?
Village of Huntley: "I am positive he has never worked here."
- Q: "do you know if his law firm represents you?"
- A: "No, his law firm does not represent us."
- Q: "Did his firm represent the village in 2016?"
- A: "No it did not"
We did receive legal bills from the Village of Union that point to Franks, Gerkin, & McKenna, PC as their attorney, however when I spoke with Franks on the phone about his SEI filings, he dismissed the legal service matter by claiming it is his Fathers law firm, not his. That may be the case and without knowing the financial arrangement of his legal practice through his fathers firm, assuming what he said is true, there is no way to validate any of his claims.
Of concern in this whole matter is Jack Franks appears to have filed false Statements of Economic Interest statements since at least 2009 by listing public bodies that he has not worked for during the time covered in the filing. Why would a person list public bodies and claim he worked for them when all indications are he has not? Was this a way to make himself look important or somehow claim knowledge of local government matters, thus becoming a self-proclaimed expert on those matters as a State Representative.
Everything we have found related to Franks' filings is pointing us to an opinion that he filed false and incomplete statements, and we believe did so willfully, as no one else would know the information requested better than him. And let's not forget, he signed his name claiming he has examined it and the best of his knowledge and belief, it is true, correct, and complete statement of his economic interests as required by the Illinois Government Ethics Act.
Why is this an important matter worthy of a criminal investigation? (a formal criminal complaint has been filed)
- Willfully filing a false or incomplete SEI statement is a crime in Illinois
- Jack Franks is an attorney
- Jack Franks is the Chairman of McHenry County
- Jack Franks is floating an interest in being our top cop, as in Attorney General.
For those four reason listed, Jack Franks should face a criminal investigation by an independent agency to make a determination if laws were broken and if so, they should pass those findings on to the County State's Attorney for appropriate legal action.
If we don't hold our top elected officials to the rule of law, how can we ever gain any trust back in our local government?
And as to assure our readers this is not just our opinion, these were the comments from a local official on the matters above:
"I am glad to hear that Greenwood Township and Village of Huntley do not use the services of Franks, Gerkin, & McKenna, as some voters could have a negative view on the appropriateness of such agreements."
"It is unfortunate a respected politician would make incorrect declarations on political campaign disclosure documents. I would not have expected information provided in a Statement of Candidacy form to be false."
"It is my belief, that discussing things in public or expressing concern to those in control can also be a good method to get discussions started. We all know Illinois needs major reforms in order to get back on track; local governments also need to take part."