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July 13, 2024

Laws- Does a badge bring different treatment for violations?

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On March 9, 2018

Cumberland Co. (ECWd) –

“Integrity” Doing the right thing when no one is watching!

“Oath of Office” Giving your word as your bond to uphold “ALL” the laws of the state!

 “Ethics” Well-founded standards of right and wrong!

Do these virtues exist in your County?

Most would expect our police officers to be held accountable to our laws, which are the same laws they are obligated to enforce. In Illinois, accountability is a moving target.

John Clough, a former Coles County Deputy was recently terminated for multiple reasons, but one part of his termination included the filing of a false and incomplete Statement of Economic Interest (SEI) Statement.  In his case, there was accountability as the Governor’s office terminated him.

In Edgar County, the former Sheriff Tim Crippes, failed to file his (SEI) for years, all while using his office to funnel business to his private garage.  The Edgar County State’s Attorney did nothing, thus no accountability to the law, which had it been enforced could have put over $20,000 back into the County funds.

In Dupage County, a former Fire Protection District Trustee also failed to disclose business interests in his SEI statement and was prosecuted by the Dupage County State’s Attorney.  He requested a bench trial and the judge ruled he was not guilty, even though his statement was false and not complete.

With the election right around the corner, we have looked at numerous SEI filings by those seeking office to include the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office.

Three candidates filed their election papers which includes the required SEI document. The signing of that document is supposed to have meaning and the preface to the signature states:

“I declare that this statement of economic interests (including any accompanying schedules and statements) has been examined by me and to the best of my knowledge and belief is a true, correct and complete statement of my economic interests as required by the Illinois Governmental Ethics Act. I understand that the penalty for willfully filing a false or incomplete statement shall be a fine not to exceed $1,000 or imprisonment in a penal institution other than the penitentiary not to exceed one year, or both fine and imprisonment.” 

As you can see, there are teeth in this law.  Even though this law subjects its violators to jail, we find once again another person with a badge has filed a false and incomplete statement. Remember that the next time you’re stopped for a minor infraction and they hold you accountable.

Steve Maroon did not disclose any interests on his SEI document even though he has worked for other units of government in the previous calendar year.  That employment is a required disclosure item under item number 7 on the document which states:

“List the name of any unit of government that employed the person making the statement during the preceding calendar year, other than the unit or units of government in relation to which the person is required to file:”

We have confirmed that Maroon worked at Cumberland CUSD #77 in the previous calendar year.  That employment was not listed on his statement as required by law.

Further review points to an ongoing failure to disclose by Maroon dating back as far as 2009.  Maroon was employed with Neoga School system and paid each year of 2009-2015 yet each year his SEI filing reflects no disclosure of that information as required by law.

The other candidate, Ray Hamilton, has disclosed numerous items on his SEI filing and so far we have not found any required disclosure missing from that filing.

The third candidate, Eric Jeffrey Darrel Price has no disclosures on his SEI filing and so far we have not found any required disclosure for him either.

If anyone has information that they believe should have been disclosed on the SEI statements for any of the candidates please let us know and we will update accordingly.

Violations of the State Ethics law that requires the SEI filing is considered a Class A misdemeanor.  For those that want to minimize that fact, please note that is one step below a felony.  A person willfully filing a false and or incomplete SEI is subject to a $1,000 fine and/or up to one year in a penal institution. When the legislature passed the law they intended for it to have teeth when violated.

The public has a right to expect their law enforcement officers to follow the law, and they too should be held accountable when they file false and incomplete statements.

Voters, be an informed voter!

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  • NiteCat
    Posted at 14:50h, 09 March Reply

    Come on Jim…you know politics in IL and the rest of the country. Do anything illegal and when caught you just have to say “I’m sorry, I won’t do it again” while the rest of us would be sitting in jail. That’s why it’s so important for us to take our country back and remind the politicians, they work for us. Heavy lifting, but we can do it if we try.

  • Robert O. Bogue
    Posted at 17:56h, 09 March Reply

    Least of all, let us not forget J. D. Kesler of Edgar County. J. D. claimed he was not working for/or employed by any governmental agency on his SEI…as he was seated on the Edgar County Airport Advisory Board.
    He did this when he was working for and employed by Vigo County Indiana. No prosecution from the Edgar County State’s Attorney’s Office…as usual.
    AND while residing in Illinois and voting in Indiana…….
    Kirk, John, keep up the great work!

  • Cindy
    Posted at 17:30h, 20 December Reply

    I happen to know that the law in Cumberland County does not apply to all. I was a first hand witness ( and documented ) when a family member of law enforcement officials assaulted someone with a deadly weapon with the intent to kill or maim. When the 911 call was made – the brother of the perpetrator called to warn the him to hide his guns and lie. The police arrived…and because the police chief was a relative…he was let go. Told to leave the premises instead of being arrested. One deputy wanted to take the perpetrator in and arrest him….but the victims were too scared of the existing law enforcement and his family.
    I think that I and my family were not protected during this time and felt threatened and knowing that these people had “connections” was too scared to proceed on my own.
    I was told to keep my mouth shut. – I am now out of that abusive situation – but still think it was not right that a deputy ( or someone working for Cumberland County ) should be able to call the perpetrator…and tell him to hide his weapons quickly and lie to police officers.
    The police questioned my family and myself and it was quickly ascertained that my family was indeed the victim of this assault. All this in front of an 8 year old boy….and the Cumberland county officials and the man walked away from this with no charges whatsoever.
    Things need to change in that county. They need to investigate those who supposedly uphold the law.

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