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July 14, 2024

Algonquin Township legal bills to climb – by design?

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On December 21, 2018

McHenry Co. (ECWd) – The Algonquin Township Board is now facing more legal action against them, and all indicators point to Township attorney James Kelly as the root cause. We predicted court action would be the result of the Township Board’s failure to certify the Road District levy, as well as its failure to pay bills submitted for payment in this article and this article. It is clear from reading the letter sent to Township Highway Commissioner Gasser from his attorney, legal bills are coming.  Just as we raised the issue, attorney Hanlon also points to Kelly failing to provide appropriate legal advice for which he is getting paid to provide at these meetings.

“Although I have my observations on the liability and risks of the members of the township board in connection with their conduct last night, it is the job of Mr. Kelly to advise them of those risks, and he elected not to provide any advice. It does make you wonder why he gets paid to sit there if he isn’t going to alert the board to the consequences of its conduct when they are in error.” (Rob Hanlon) 

Why would Kelly sit silent and allow a board to not certify a properly presented levy and audit of valid bills?  

Does Kelly expect the public to believe he actually needed to research the ramifications of not certifying a levy or auditing proper bills?  I believe his silence is by design, a method of ensuring the ability to keep billing the Township. Public body attorneys are notorious for having to “research” matters on questions raised when the truth of the matter is they already know the answer.  Staying quite gives them the chance to not only get paid for being at the meeting, but paid again for the drafting of an opinion on a matter they already knew the answer to.

Silence is Golden

Any attorney that has represented Township government as long as Kelly has, knows darn well Trustee Shea’s comment that not certifying a levy would cause it to revert to the prior year’s levy was totally false. Was this silence a means to retaliate against the Road District for an ARDC complaint he is currently subjected to? Failing or refusing to provide proper legal direction on the levy means no tax money to the Road District, thus the Road District implodes.  Silence ensures the trustees do something wrong, which, in turn, ensures more billable hours to fight the lawsuits stemming from their ignorance of the law.

Not much different than some political ideologies which either allow a problem to build, or actually creates one, and then turns around and spends more taxpayer money to fix the very problem that they are the cause of.  It’s a self-serving cycle and it appears Kelly has mastered it.

Reading Hanlon’s letter makes it clear; the inaction by Kelly and failures of Trustees Shea and Victor are going to cost taxpayers more legal fees, not only from the Township side, but the Road District side as well.

“The consequence to the Road District of the Board’s conduct in approving of my hiring and then refusing to pay for work performed constitutes bad faith for which the Road District will now incur the additional expense of my fees for all of my work not just the portion that the Board desires.”

“Just as the Road District has not paid my bills, the other bills not paid place the Road District in a position of being sued for breach of contract. There is no defense to a breach of contract that says the board didn’t like it, they don’t have to like it and they don’t have the power to contract for the Road District.”

The Township Board has called a “Special Meeting” for Saturday to attempt to fix their failures, and doing so at the advice of their attorney, James Kelly.   Hanlon’s letter points to the same concerns we raised in this article pertaining to Special Meeting obligations and ramifications of no levy in a PTELL county.

Stay tuned for more legal bills and potential litigation in Algonquin Township, and by the way, none of this drama has anything to do with Union 150 or Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser. You can download the Road District Attorney’s letter at this link or view below. We understand Gasser recieved his letter by mail on the 17th of this month.

Hanlon letter on levy certification



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