McHenry Co. (ECWd) -
Township law provides specific authority for a "Township" to be a member of an Association.
(60 ILCS 1/85-15) Township Officials of Illinois. The township board may provide for joining the township in an association of townships or a not-for-profit corporation with membership consisting of, townships and may provide for the payment of annual membership dues and fees. The member townships, acting through the instrumentality, may provide and disseminate information and research services and perform other acts for the purpose of improving township government in Illinois. The instrumentality may be known as the Township Officials of Illinois or another appropriate name as the member townships may determine.
It should be noted that the above law provides no authority for a Road District to be such a member and there is no such authority given in the Highway Code.
Now we understand there are a lot of "associations" regarding highway commissioners, however, no authority has been given for taxpayer dollars to be used for such memberships. Considering numerous other public body laws provide authority to join an association related to the purpose of the public body it is clear that the legislature did not intend for Road Districts to be included in such a provision as their law is silent on the matter and not on others.
We understand many will try to argue why it is OK to be a member so let's take this one step further to show how bad things were under the Bob Miller kingdom.
Bob Miller was more than just a member!
Miller formed a private corporation in 02/09/2005 named McHenry County Township Highway Commissioners Association and is named as the Corporate President. The purpose of that corporate creation?
“A professional association to promote and serve the professional interests of the several elected Township Highway Commissioners of McHenry County, Illinois and to educate and advise them as to their duties and responsibilities.”
So right out of the box, it's clear the creation was to promote and serve the interests of those elected officials, which he just happened to be a beneficiary of this creation.
Is that not an action taken to obtain a personal advantage?
Shortly after its formation, in December of 2005, the annual report reflects a narrower description of the Companies purpose.
“Promote and serve best interests in Township Gov. & Highway Comm’s.”
So not only was Bob Miller, as highway commissioner, a member of this private corporation, he was, in fact, the President of that corporation. We have searched for applicable 990 filings with the IRS for this corporate non-profit and to date have not found any. Nor is it listed on the Attorney General Charitable database. We have sent a request to the corporation for the applicable records.
After we began asking questions behind the scenes about this organization last fall, a change in registered agent was made and Bob Miller was removed as an officer. The effective date of those changes was January 19, 2018. The list of new officers is most telling.
- President - Don Goad - Greenwood Township Highway Commissioner
- Secretary - Jim Condon - McHenry Township Highway Commissioner
- Treasure - Mike Lesperance - Nunda Township Highway Commissioner
- Director - Zeke Nickels - Hebron Township Highway Commissioner
- Director Bart Schnulle - Alden Township Highway Commissioner
- Director Dave Nolan - Dunham Township Highway Commissioner
The complete corporate record can be downloaded at this link or viewed below.
The State's Attorney identified $3,431.89 in taxpayer funds used for the benefit of this Miller operated corporation but missed other funds paid to it that were not paid back. The use of public funds for a private purpose is confirmed the second Miller wrote a check to pay those public funds back. We call it attempting to un-rob the bank. This wrongdoing was ignored because it was paid back. (see page 8 of SA report for these expenditures)
Of the few records, we were able to obtain from the Township Clerk prior to her abandoning ship as the duly appointed FOIA officer, Miller used his position as Highway Commissioner to also use taxpayer funds in the form of payments to this company for at least 4 years, totaling $400.00. There are seventeen Township Road Districts in McHenry County. It will be interesting to see how many of those were also using taxpayer funds to be a member of Miller's business. There is no record of these funds being paid back.
In April of 2017, Anna May Miller received a $2,800.00 gift from the Miller-ran association funded by taxpayer dollars. Additionally, the minutes reflect the bank account was closed and a check issued for $5,422.14 but does not say who that check was issued too. The minutes reflect the total revenue was $15,084.05.
Of interest is the fact Bob Miller has never disclosed this business on his Statement of Economic Interest filings and it would appear that would be required based on the very first question on those statements.
"(1) List the name and instrument of ownership in any entity doing business with a unit of local government in relation to which the person is required to file, in which the ownership interest held by the person at the date of filing is in excess of $5,000 fair market value, or from which dividends in excess of$1,200 were received during the preceding calendar year: (In the case of real estate, location thereof shall be listed by the street address, or if none, then by legal description.) No time or demand deposit in a financial institution, nor any debt instrument shall be listed"
Since applicable 990 IRS forms appear to have not been filed we have no way to confirm ownership interest, however, the corporate records appear to point to Miller owning at least a third. Although we do not know the fair market value of this association, considering their own minutes reflect at least $15,084.05 in revenue, is it fair to say that ownership interest went beyond the $5,000.00 minimum for reporting?
So even though Miller used public funds for his personal business operations, public funds for membership to his own business without any statutory authority, there is nothing that rises to the level of Criminal activity?
The argument made by the State's Attorney was that since some funds were paid back the use of public credit only resulted in an interest-free loan for a month or less and may make it improper, but a felony charge would be overwrought and constitute an overzealous prosecution.
Of interest with such a position is the fact the Constitution makes no qualifier that use of public credit is OK as long as the credit used is paid back. Nor does it provide a financial figure as to what is or is not OK as to what that short-term loan is worth. Nor does the Constitution outline that the violator must have been personally enriched.
Our Official Misconduct statute, specifically #2 and 3, clearly applies yet have been ignored to date.
(2) Knowingly performs an act which he knows he is forbidden by law to perform;
We know he performed an act which he knew was forbidden by law to perform because his payment back to the public body confirms he knew he used the public funds for something that was not a proper use of public funds, expenses of his own company!
(3) With intent to obtain a personal advantage for himself or another, he performs an act in excess of his lawful authority;
Was the use of public funds to his corporation used to obtain a personal advantage for another, as in Anna May Miller and her $2,800.00 gift? Who received that $5,422.14 bank check when the account was closed just before he left office?
We are confident the people will see this for what it is. We can only hope that these matters, which were not included in the State's Attorney final report, will be part of any alleged ongoing investigation into Bob Miller.
Any use of public funds to support that person's own business is wrong and we all know it.
We urge the State's Attorney to put all political BS aside and do right by the people!