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December 4, 2022

Piatt County Facing Federal Law suit – Complaint exposes unaccounted for Federal and State grant funding of $292,000.00 and much more

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On April 22, 2021

Piatt County, IL (ECWd) –

Piatt County appears to be leading the charge in ensuring Illinois stays on the top three list of most corrupt states in the nation.

A recent Federal Court filing by Michael Holmes, former County Emergency Management Agency Director of Piatt County lays out some very disturbing claims that should concern every taxpayer in Piatt County, and hopefully get the attention of Federal Law Enforcement agencies.

“This suit is an action for damages caused by Defendants’ interference with and retaliation for Plaintiff exercising his rights in violation of 42 U.S.C. §1983; the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (hereinafter “FMLA” or the “Act”), 29 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq.; the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act (5 ILCS 430/15-5 et seq.); Section 15(b) of the Illinois Whistleblower Act (“IWA”), 740 ILCS 174/15(b); and Illinois common law.”

For those that have not followed the Piatt County circus over the last couple of years, the complaint provides a great recap of how bad things really are in their County Government.

For example, the County Chairman Ray Spencer had been indicted for Forgery (manipulating emailed legal advice from State’s Attorney Rhoades and sending the forged email to the local newspaper for publication) and for Official Misconduct (seeking legal advice from counsel outside of the Piatt County State’s Attorney’s Office, without the permission of the State’s Attorney).  After the November election, the newly elected State’s Attorney dropped the charges.

What happens when a person finds wrongdoing and tries to fix it?  In Piatt County, it appears from the record that they get fired, even though the paper trail points to serious legal issues related to both Federal and State funds as well as possible civil rights violations.

“The Piatt County Board was initially supportive of Holmes’ goals for the EMA. However, in late 2019, after Holmes began bringing to light discrepancies in grant allocations to the EMA that were never awarded to the Agency, that support vanished.”

“Piatt County EMA received hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants as a result of their accreditation with the IEMA and submission of emergency operations plans. However, these grants received by the County were never appropriated towards the Piatt County EMA in the County budget.”

“For over ten years, grants awarded to the Piatt County EMA were never actually allocated to the Department.”

“The records reviewed by Holmes indicated that there was approximately $292,000.00 in grant funding that had been awarded to the Piatt County EMA from 2007 through 2018; however, these awards were never allocated into the EMA budget. Holmes contacted the Piatt County Treasurer’s Office and Piatt County Finance Officer to find out how the EMA could access this funding. Holmes was told that no such money had been recorded in either in the EMA budget or as a separate line-item pertaining to the EMA. Holmes did not receive a response to his inquiry.”

“The grand jury was investigating the $292,000.00 in federal and state grant money that had awarded to the Piatt County EMA from 2007 through 2018.”

“The Illinois Emergency Management Agency confirmed through recorded documents that the awards had been paid out to Piatt County. However, the financial records of the Piatt County Finance Office and the Piatt County Treasurer’s Office contained no accounting for the receipt or distribution of those funds.” (bold added)

We urge everyone to read the complaint along with all the exhibits as it is a good snapshot of what is really going on in Piatt County. Below are the links for the Complaint and each exhibit.

You can read the complaint below as well.

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5 Comments
  • PK``
    Posted at 19:08h, 22 April

    Gosh, there’s some pretty damning charges there.

  • Greg
    Posted at 07:27h, 23 April

    After the charges against Spencer were dropped the county board re elected him back as chairman!

  • PK
    Posted at 11:24h, 23 April

    Exhibit 5 is an email from the county board chair to board members. Anyone else confused by Spencer’s request?

    “Also, as always, I ask that you refrain from “replying to all” to ensure compliance with Illinois Open Meetings Act regulations.”

    Replying all would not be compliant with the OMA?

  • Thomas Anthony Hyde
    Posted at 21:10h, 28 April

    This is a great method for knowing that true about those we elected.

    There is highly suspicious that you might consider looking into Cerro Gordo’s affairs.

    Tom Hyde
    217 454-2585

  • GG
    Posted at 10:34h, 08 May

    Spencer has resorted to filling FOIA request by using his 94 years old mother to make the requests of other county board members, This man is deranged and needs to be removed from office.
    The State Attorney General needs to investigate Spencer and get him out!

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