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November 28, 2022

Bellmont Mayor in Court: Confesses to Perjury and That He Lied For Fun

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On July 24, 2020

Wabash Co.  (ECWd) –

We outlined Bellmont Mayor Gary Lance lying to the court in this article, which we never imagined could get worse for Mayor Lance.  Yesterday’s hearing on the Motion for Sanctions against Lance solidifies the need for a remake of Perry Mason in 2020, with Attorney Johnathon Turpin playing the role of Perry Mason.

Gary Lance, Bellmont Mayor, $10.50 a day goat farmer hired hand, and an admitted liar, did not appreciate being called a liar after Turpin managed to get him to once again confess, he lied to the court.  However, that was just the beginning of the potential Perry Mason series to be cast from Lance’s hearing yesterday.

Under oath in response to Turpin’s questions, Lance confessed the following:

  • That at the time, lying was what he needed to do
  • Lied for Fun
  • Knew those he filed an OP no stalking complaint against were not even present during the incident in question.
  • Filed OP against family members of a citizen because he knew they were family of one of the defendants.
  • Admits using the Village Tractor even though he pled the Fifth Amendment on prior questioning of its use.
  • Thinks the defendants should have to pay for his actions rather than him
  • Confirms he was not afraid of the defendants

As if all those admissions were not shocking enough, additional questioning from his own attorney made us wonder whose side she was actually on.

Lance’s Attorney, Cheryl Powell, managed to obtain confirmation of numerous facts that clearly hurt her client’s hope of not having to pay the attorney fees of the defendants.  In fact, I would say she acted more like a second chair for the defendants and solidified that her client will be on the hook for thousands of dollars in legal fees and costs from his own actions.

  • He committed perjury at the prior hearing due to being afraid of getting criminally prosecuted.
  • He is sorry for lying to the court
  • He was not scared of the defendants that he filed an OP/No Stalking petition against
  • Defendants didn’t have a right to videotape him using the Village tractor
  • Claimed Citizen Participation Act does not apply to the Lance since the videotaping was not of a public meeting.

As if 2 plus hours of hearing Lance dig his hole deeper and deeper, the real story may well be about the attorney representing him.

During questions related to Lance’s finances and ability to pay any potential sanctions, he admitted that he paid his Attorney $1,800 to appear at the hearing.  Rather than simply letting that fact stand, the attorney chose to attempt to justify her rate through more questions.  In that questioning she had Lance confirm that she told him she is not a morning person and that being the case, her fee covers the need for a hotel room.   Now on the surface that may not seem like any big deal but when the facts are exposed it’s troubling.

Her office is in Mt. Vernon, Illinois, 64.9 miles from Mt. Carmel.  Her statement of not being a morning person appears to be true since she was late for a 10 am hearing.  So much for a hotel being the cure for her not being a morning person. While she made it clear what her personal morning issues were, she chose to question one of the defendants, a night shift Emergency Room nurse about when she could have gotten sleep to avoid having to take a vacation to attend the hearings.  The line of questioning was troubling, to say the least.

What type of lawyer did the self-admitted liar get for his $1,800.00?

Attorney Sheryl Powel –ARDC Disciplinary findings

  • making a false statement during a sworn statement conducted by the Administrator, in violation of Rule 8.1(a) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010)
  • making a false statement of material fact in a disciplinary matter by conduct
  • conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation by conduct including
  • making a false statement during a sworn statement conducted by the Administrator, in violation of Rule 8.4(c) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010)
  • failing to abide by the client’s decisions
  • failing to act with reasonable diligence and promptness by conduct
  • failing to promptly inform the client of any decisions of circumstances with respect to which the client’s informed consent is required by conduct
  • failing to inform the client about the motion in limine and failing to obtain client’s informed consent before meeting with and making disclosures to another about her representation of the client, in violation of Rule 1.4(a)(1) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010);
  • failure to promptly comply with reasonable requests for information by conduct
  • not returning phone messages in violation of Rule 1.4(a)(3) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010);
  • failure to explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions concerning the representation by conduct
  • failing to inform about the consequences of a guardian or wardship action
  • making a false statement of material fact in a disciplinary matter by conduct
  • In aggravation, Respondent’s conduct occurred over a period of approximately two years and caused harm and distress to multiple clients.
  • some of her misconduct was causally connected to her major depressive disorder.

Powell disparaged a disabled person in response to one of the ARDC complaints against her not returning phone calls to the client, by stating that since the client was blind, she [Powell] didn’t communicate with her on the telephone:

It was difficult enough to communicate with her in person, as she was argumentative and seemed to have difficulty comprehending what I was saying. She is blind, although she functions well with her disability. However, since she cannot see, I believe that it is difficult for her to comprehend what I tell her very well and I found myself having to repeat things over and over. As such, I did not want to have telephone calls with her and preferred to communicate with her in person.”

ARDC Disciplinary Action:

“Respondent Cheryl Ann Powell is suspended from the practice of law for one (1) year and until further order of Court, with the suspension stayed after sixty (60) days by a two (2) year period of probation subject to the following conditions which shall commence upon the effective date of the Court’s order:” Suspension effective June 11, 2019

Reading the ARDC documents linked above, here, and here, or below, it appears Lance and his attorney have some things in common, lack of honesty.

Attorney Turpin was given leave to file an Affidavit regarding his fees and costs he is seeking against Lance and we suspect the Courts are going to grant his motion. While not required, we would hope the Judges ruling to be issued no later than August 2020, includes an admonishment of the actions of the Mayor and educate everyone on the chilling effect such actions have on our society and why the Citizen Participation Act is, in fact, applicable, contrary to attorney Powell’s push to say otherwise.

Recently Filed Disciplinary Decisions and Complaints
ARDC decision

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1 Comment
  • WaBcOLoCaL
    Posted at 03:09h, 31 July

    The Wabash County States Attorney should do their jobs. Seems like everyone has done their duties but the prosecutor. No accountability. Sitting on their hands. People wonder why Illinois is crooked and it starts at the local level. Sweeping it under the rug, ignoring it like a parking ticket because they think small villages are not a big deal like other municipalites while S.A. constituents have their tax money abused in more than one way, lives disrupted, their time wasted, their rights violated, costly expenses, the justice system SA suppose to be protecting made a mockery of by perjury and not showing up. Journalist was threatened etc…they’re not victimless crimes. Double standards in Government? Maybe it’s because the secretary in the SA office, is the daughter in law of the owner of the $10.50 goat farm?

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