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May 20, 2024

Former LaHarpe Mayor plead guilty to Attempted Official Misconduct –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On May 6, 2018

LaHarpe, IL. (ECWd)

Ryan Kienast, former mayor of LaHarpe, Illinois, plead guilty in Hancock County Circuit Court for the activity we exposed last year thanks to local residents and their tips.

This is yet another example as to how the system is supposed to work.  The local people witnessed the crime, turned it over to the media for public exposure.  Once exposed, local police can’t ignore the information, so they investigate.  Upon confirmation of a violation of criminal law, prosecution.  It’s not rocket science, but it does take courage in small local communities as the politics seem to rule over our laws.  Glad that was not the case here.

According to, Kienast entered a negotiated plea of guilty to one count of “Attempted Official Misconduct” – a Class A Misdemeanor. The State dropped the Class 3 Felony charge of Official Misconduct. Kienast was sentenced to 12 months court supervision and $1,099 in fines and fees.

After we wrote about the incident and posted photographs, Kienast acknowledged, during a city meeting, that he performed those acts, and presented a $50 check to “cover the expenses” of the work performed.

Kienast resigned in May of last year after being charged with Official Misconduct for allegedly using village personnel and equipment to perform work on his private property.

All of this occurred about the same time as his refusal to pay an overdue water bill and city council meetings where the council illegally met in closed session to discuss the mayor’s unpaid bills (here and here). The Illinois Attorney General told the city to release the closed session audio from that meeting.

It is unclear if the water bill issue has been taken care of.

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  • A. Lincoln
    Posted at 09:57h, 06 May

    Paraphrasing Herbert Hoover (running for president), “A chicken in every pot and a backhoe in every yard.”

  • Mark Finch
    Posted at 12:58h, 06 May

    Best to my knowledge his outstanding water bill has still never been paid, nor do I think it ever will be. The city has chosen to let that $1800 fall by the wayside as I understand it. It’s not right but it is what it is.