Cook Co. (ECWd) -
Maine Township denied they had certain General Assistance records in a Freedom of Information request and the denial lead to an FOIA lawsuit filed back in December of 2018, (article here). A copy of the complaint can be downloaded at this link.
While the Township first denied they had a General Assistance roster, they later produced a record after we filed our lawsuit. This is yet another example why certain Maine Township public officials should resign as they have made it very clear transparency is not a concern to them.
We renew our call for Supervisor Morask to resign. To grasp the volume of failures through her failed leadership of the Township simply review any of the numerous articles at this link.
In order to help people understand why this matter was so important to the taxpayers, let some numbers sink in.
In September of 2017, we raised the flag on the General Assistance fund in this article, which pointed out a General Assistance fund balance of $1,672,706.00 as of February 28, 2017, according to the audit found at this link. Fast forward one more year and that balance grew by $733,500.00 to a whopping $2,406,206.00 according to the audit found at this link.
Our lawsuit exposed the fact there were only four people connected to the General Assistance Roster obligation and they only worked a whopping 5 days in the month of August of 2017 during the Township Job Fair. Reviewing the expenditures of GA in relation to the lack of actual GA recipients, it was clear GA was an abused money pit that needed to be exposed. We previously exposed improper spending of GA in articles here and here. Shortly after that exposure, the attorney for the township resigned.
That exposure later resulted in three trustees stepping up to the challenge and pushing back against Supervisor Morask's push to continue taxing the public when no such tax was needed. We reported on that in this article.
"Trustees Sweeney, Dave Carrabotta, and Claire McKenzie voted for a 100% reduction in the 2019 GA fund tax levy and a 10% reduction in the Town Fund levy. This will save taxpayers over $1,200,000.”
While the Township did have to pay $4,000.00 to our attorneys to settle the alleged concealment of public records, we will argue all day that our FOIA lawsuit was more than justified as it once again exposed records were in their possession contrary to their claim otherwise, and the ongoing exposure relating to the General Assistance Fund lead to taxpayer relief of over $1.2 Million dollars.
A copy of the Board vote on the settlement can be viewed below. A copy of the settlement agreement can be viewed below or downloaded at this link.