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July 14, 2024

Algonquin Township Road District -Cooked books over a vacation day?

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On January 11, 2019

McHenry Co. (ECWd) –

Payroll records for Doug Helman of the Algonquin Township Road District reflect something quite different than what he claimed in a March 2, 2017 video captured by a current Township Trustee, Racheal Lawrence.

His claim on video appears to point to him knowing it is not legal to be doing private political work while being paid by the taxpayer with his justification that he took a vacation day in order to pick up Bob Miller campaign signs.

Payroll records for Mr. Helman reflect there was no vacation time taken during that pay period.

Mr. Helman, according to payroll records provided by the Township Road District Clerk, was paid a full 80 hrs of regular pay and 7.50 hrs of overtime during the pay period that covers the date of this incident, so his statement to the citizen that he took a vacation day appears on the surface to be false.

Forged Record?

According to a vacation day request document we obtained, it is clear the document was changed to reflect different dates.  All indications on the document point to the initial request from Helman to be on 1-1-17 seeking a vacation day for 1-2-17, which was a Monday following the New Year.  However it is clear, this document was altered to show a change made in three areas.

  • The date at the top has been changed to reflect 3-1-17.
  • The date of the desired vacation day has been changed to reflect 3-2-2017, the day of the video. 
  • The date where the Forman signed the document appears to have been 3-1-017 and then the 1 written over with a 2, which makes it appear as 3-2-2017

The approval date for the vacation day was signed by Bob Miller, the former Highway Commissioner, 3-10-17, over a week after the claimed vacation day was taken.

It is clear by the records, Helman did not take a vacation day while out picking up campaign signs for his boss, Bob Miller.

What is not clear, who altered the records and why?  It is possible Helman screwed up on his request and changed the dates and even possibly believed he was on vacation that day because of a request he may have submitted? If that possibility is true, then Bob Miller allowed an employee to pick up his campaign signs while getting paid by the taxpayer and never deducted the vacation time from his pay.

Using taxpayer funds to pay your employees to pick up campaign signs is not legal.   Specifically, it appears to be a misapplication of funds.

(720 ILCS 5/33E-16) 
    Sec. 33E-16. Misapplication of funds. 
    (a) An officer, director, agent, or employee of, or affiliated in any capacity with any unit of local government or school district commits misapplication of funds when he or she knowingly misapplies any of the moneys, funds, or credits of the unit of local government or school district. 
    (b) Sentence. Misapplication of funds is a Class 3 felony. 

What I found very strange regarding Helman’s claim of taking a vacation day to pick up signs is the fact most people would not give up their own vacation time to go pick up campaign signs for their boss.

The answer as to why a person might do this may be found in the additional payroll records for this employee which will be covered in another article.

The above information and much more was provided to the McHenry County State’s Attorney many months ago and were not part of the initial criminal investigation by that office.  As we understand it, there is still an ongoing criminal investigation into numerous matters involving the Algonquin Township Road District and it’s operations when Bob Miller was the Highway Commissioner.

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