McHenry Co. (ECWd) -
We received more evidence that funds are being spent illegally, and confirmation the Clerk has a problem understanding plain English.
The Bob Miller American Express card has gift card purchases in June of 2016 totaling $371.80. These gift cards were purchased at Jewel/Osco. The first purchase was for two American Express gift cards. One for $100.00 and the other for $50.00. Taxpayers paid $10.90 in fees for these gifts. You can view the receipt at this link.
Two minutes later, another purchase for gift cards was made. One purchase was for two American Express gift cards for $50.00 and $100.00 with the third card on that purchase for a $50.00 Home Depot gift card. Taxpayers paid $10.90 in fees for these gifts. You can view the receipt at this link.
When we asked for the records as to who received these gifts, the response was most telling, but not unexpected in light of what we are finding.
"There are no documents responsive to this request"
So now the question for investigating police officers is simple, who made these purchases on the Bob Miller credit card and who received these gifts.
To identify what public purpose these gifts might have had we also asked the Clerk for a copy of any applicable state statute used by the Road District as a justification for purchasing gift cards.
Note that we did not ask for any research to be done on this matter. We simply asked for any statute used by the Road District. The answer would be simple if one was used, as it would be if not used.
But rather than simply saying we do or do not have such a record, which costs the taxpayers nothing, the Clerk creates yet another legal bill for a response that appears to be drafted by the attorney, even though they claim in the letter the response is from Lukasik.
"You are requesting that the Township or Road District research statutory authority for its operations. FOIA does not require a public body to conduct research for a requester. 5 ILCS 140/2(c) defines a public record as "all records, reports, forms, writings, letters, memoranda, books, papers, maps, photographs, microfilms, cards, tapes, recordings, electronic data processing records, electronic communications, recorded information and all other documentary materials pertaining to the transaction of public business, regardless of physical form or characteristics; having been prepared by or for, or having been or being used by, received by, in the possession of, or under the control of any public body." The state statute is not a record that was prepared for the public body or at any time under the control of the public body. The request for this record is denied pursuant to 5 ILCS 140/2(c)."
I have read my request multiple times and I could not find anything in it that even remotely points to a request for the Township or Road District to research statutory authority for its operations.
This is a perfect example how lawyers make money off the taxpayer. The public official who is incompetent and unable to perform her duties as outlined by law passes the buck to an attorney to fabricate a response then send a bill and no one questions it.
In this one example, The taxpayers get screwed multiple times. Once by paying a person buying gifts in violation of the law, once for the actual gift purchase, once by a board that approved the expenditure when the bill arrived, once for a Clerk that can't do her job and answer a FOIA on her own, then by attorney's that bill for writing a bunch of hogwash on paper and passing it off as a valid legal bill even though the response had nothing to do with the request.
The final screwing on this one comes when the legal bill is presented for payment at the next board meeting. If this board approves it I would say it is well past due for some public officials to leave office.
Any of the current board members who were in office when this initial bill was approved should resign. Those new board members should demand accountability as to where these gifts went. If it went to an employee or elected official, appropriate taxes should be taken from their pay as it is compensation. Gift cards are the number one source of fraud on the taxpayers that we find, and I would argue it includes tax evasion when given to public employees.
Every public official involved in this entire malfeasance should resign. Anything less is unacceptable as it is clear you are not protecting the taxpayer's money and/or records!
You can view the FOIA request below or download it here.
18.05.07.FOIA Response to Kirk Allen RE Gift Cards
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