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June 23, 2024

Sec of State Library Demands Atlanta Public Library Repay Grant –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On October 31, 2017


Remember those “Atlanta Public Library District’s Bill Thomas’ “Union Hall” Scam on Secretary of State” articles we wrote?

We do! (read Part 1 and Part 2). In Part 1, we wrote about how this grant application was flawed, only a paper shuffle, and never intended to be complied with. In Part 2 we detailed the timeline on how Bill Thomas used his position to obtain grant funds from the State Library, allegedly knowing they were obtained fraudulently – including self-serving lease provisions.

In the previous article we wrote about our allegations of grant fraud against the Secretary of State, State Library for the “Live and Learn” grant used in the renovation of “Union Hall”, a building in which Library Trustee Bill Thomas had a Prohibited Financial Interest in (APLD Grant Application here).

On October 23, 2017, the Illinois Secretary of State’s State Library General Counsel issued a letter to the Atlanta Public Library District which included an intent to recover grant funds under the Illinois Grant Funds Recovery Act (“IGFRA”), 30 ILCS 705.

The demand letter cites the Public Officers Prohibited Activities Act (here) as the reason for their determination that a violation of the grant assurances occurred. The Grant required strict adherence to all Illinois laws. Read Sections 3, 3.1, 4, and 4.5 of this Act to see the prohibitions, requirements, and punishments for violations.

According to the Sec of State, Bill Thomas, as a Trustee of the Library, had a prohibited financial interest in the contract or performance of work on which he may be required to act or vote. Due to this prohibited interest, the grant was void from the beginning and must be returned to the State Library.

The grant was a $25,000 grant thru the “Live and Learn Grant” program managed by the State Library.

The IGFRA provides an opportunity for the Library to request a Hearing. If they request it, the Hearing will be public and is designed for the Library to dispute any issues related to the intent to recover grant funds.

This is only the first step, in many more steps to come in holding this library district accountable to the law and to its taxpayers.



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  • SafeLibraries
    Posted at 21:30h, 31 October Reply

    “[S]trict adherence to all Illinois laws”! That must be a shock for an Illinois library!

  • Dennis Finegan
    Posted at 22:30h, 31 October Reply

    Excellent work, gentlemen. I wonder if a little time spent in state-provided/mandated housing would help in getting the message across?

  • Atlanta Taxpayer
    Posted at 22:39h, 31 October Reply

    So was this a typical 50/50 matching grant? If so when will the Atlanta Taxpayers be refunded by Mr Thomas for the $25,000 that they contributed to his new roof? I sure hope the board is not expecting to use library funds to reimburse this grant. I mean after all the money was used to put a new roof on his building and other self serving improvements.

    • Brenda Hawkins
      Posted at 17:31h, 01 November Reply

      But he gave I use the term loosely to the town. Now the town has a 25,000 dollar roof on their building

    • Tony
      Posted at 19:34h, 01 November Reply

      Darned right… hope we can get video of the next board meetings…

  • SafeLibraries
    Posted at 22:47h, 31 October Reply

    Illinois Library Commits $25,000 Fraud; Library Media Covers Up

  • Trixie
    Posted at 07:27h, 01 November Reply

    We all truly wish you could figure out why our water bill minimum continues to hike (currently around 70) with thoughts of fixing our water problem. Levels of arsenic are dangerous.
    This has been told to our town for years, with every hike. We can’t boycott and not pay our bill (2 days late, you’re cut off.)
    We have water we pay far too much for. Water we then cannot use for consumption. And then, we have to go to stores and purchase additional water, in wasteful plastic, for ourselves and pets.

    • Trixie
      Posted at 07:28h, 01 November Reply

      Naturally, talking about Atlanta, Illinois.

  • Brad graven
    Posted at 09:07h, 01 November Reply

    Rote roe Rubbie Roo! And we could have gotten by with it …if it weren’t for those meddling kids. ( Edgar County watchdogs)

  • Barbara cisco
    Posted at 09:39h, 01 November Reply

    If you live in Atlanta you will get ripped off, by our town officals, but you can bet their pockets are well lined.

  • Tony
    Posted at 19:33h, 01 November Reply

    Well done. There is more to fix in our small town though. Now will we as taxpayers have to foot this bill too?

  • Munchkin
    Posted at 06:49h, 02 November Reply

    Guys you know it will be the tax payers paying back the grant right?????

    • jmkraft
      Posted at 07:00h, 02 November Reply

      MY first thoughts are that elections have consequences. My second thought is that IF the prosecutor(s) play their cards right, they can make the case that the grant was used on private property, in violation of law, and therefore the property owner(s) should be held liable for the repayment (to the library after they repay to the state).

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