MADISON CO., IL. (ECWd) –
A member of a public body cannot sue that public body, and then turn around and settle the lawsuit without creating a prohibited interest in a contract (settlements are contracts).
Michael Parkinson is a Granite City Police Officer and a member of the Madison County Board. He sued Madison County for an alleged Open Meetings Act violation, and then settled the lawsuit for $1500.
Allegation of Prohibited Interest in Contract (Class 4 Felony), which is a violation of the Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act
- On February 15, 2017, and while a Madison County Board Member, Mr. Michael Parkinson filed a two-count Complaint of violations of the Open Meetings Act in the Circuit Court of the Third Judicial Circuit in Madison County, Illinois. Case No. 17-MR-63
- On September 13, 2017, while still a member of the Madison County Board, Parkinson executed a contract (settlement) in which he and/or his attorney was paid the sum of $1500.00 from the County of Madison.
- This is a prohibited interest in a contract by a county board member and is considered a Class 4 Felony if found guilty.
- The Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act [50 ILCS 105/3(a)] prohibits this type of contract. This contract is void, not merely voidable.
- Public Officials cannot settle lawsuits against the public body they are a member of if that settlement consists of the transfer of funds to either the member or for the member’s attorney fees:
- People v. Adduci, 412 Ill.621, 108 N.E.2d 1 (1952) – harm, injury, beneficial to government irrelevant. Motive has no play in whether a conflict of interest exists.
- People ex rel. Madigan v. Bertrand, Jr., 2012 IL App (1st) 111419 – board member could not settle a lawsuit he filed against the public board because the settlement agreement included payment of his attorney fees, thus making it a contract in which he was financially interested.
- People v. Scharlau, 141 Ill.2d 180(1990) – Danville’s elected commissioners convicted in state court for prohibited interest in contract even though a federal court had “approved” the settlement
- Mulligan v. Village of Bradley, 131 Ill App.3d 513 (1985) – Village President urged Trustees to create village manager position and offer the position to him. President abstained from voting, and the Court declared his employment and contract void even though the president did not vote and even though the president resigned to take the employment.
- People v. Savaiano, 66 Ill.2d 7 (1977) – Forest Preserve Commissioner prosecuted even though the contract fell through and was never acted upon. The Court determined that the word “contract” encompassed the entire bargaining process, not simply the final contract.
This should be prosecuted, repayment demanded, and removal from the Madison County Board if found guilty.
Parkinson’s attorney should be reported to the ARDC for possible disciplinary actions for his role in assisting in this alleged criminal activity.
Supporting documents below: