CAHOKIA, IL. (ECWd) -
Records provided to ECWd by Brad VanHoose, who received them via a FOIA request, indicate the Illinois State Police and FBI investigated the Village of Cahokia elections board for alleged election interference, among other things in 2015.
The Illinois Appellate Prosecutor's Office took two years to decline to prosecute the allegations set forth in the Investigation.
In early 2015, according to the investigative reports, a complaint was sent to the FBI and an interview was conduct at State Police District 11 Headquarters on February 19, 2015. This meeting was in regard to possible criminal activity regarding the upcoming election in April in Cahokia, IL.
Information found indicate:
- Curtis McCall Sr, Candidate for Mayor of Cahokia declined to answer any questions about [city council] board minutes being released and a conversation in executive (closed) session. McCall told the investigator to contact his attorney.
- Mr. Jackson was interviewed in reference to an excutive session where a vote was taken, and certain comments during that executive session of the Cahokia city council (electoral board). Jackson stated that a St. Clair County deputy went to his residence and served a subpoena on him in regards to the meeting.
- During this meeting, according to Jackson, an elections complaint was filed attacking the candidacy of Mayor McCall Jr. The meeting went into executive session to vote on whether to leave McCall's name on the ballot. The vote was 2-1 in favor of leaving him on the ballot. One trustee indicated he was approached by McCall Sr, McCall Jr and Jackson outside of the meeting to persuade his vote in executive session.
- A Mrs. Pearson was interviewed on the same subject. Similar answers as Jackson's.
- A telephonic interview was conducted with Curtis McCall Jr. and McCall asked that all questions be directed to attorney Sprague.
- David Rands, Special Prosecutor with the Appellate Prosecutor's Office reviewed the case.
- Attempts were made by the Illinois State Police Investigator to contact David Rands. On December 2, 2015, Rands did not know a timeframe for a prosecutorial decision.
- Calls on Dec 15th, 2015, Jan 6, Feb 16 and 29, April 14, May 10, July 5, 12, and 21Aug 26, Sep 6, Oct 12 and 25, Nov 28, Dec 6 and 21 of 2016, and January 6, 10, and 26 , and Feb 1and 9 of 2017 - no new information from Rands.
- Finally, on Feb 22, two years after the initial investigation, a letter was received from Rands indicating he was declining to prosecute.
In the decision to not prosecute, Rands stated there was not sufficient evidence to charge any person at this time (this is not the same as saying no criminal violations occurred). He then returned the investigative file to the ISP.
Two of the three board members present in this executive session clearly stated a vote was taken during a closed meeting to leave McCall Jr.'s name on the ballot. He is currently Cahokia's Mayor.
We would like to note there is no exception in the Open Meetings Act to close a meeting in order to deliberate, discuss, or vote on an election ballot challenge. Doing so violates the OMA and can be charged as a Class C Misdemeanor.