Iroquois, Co. (ECWd) –
The Milford School Board appears to have a special program offered to select board members in contradiction to state laws.
After receiving a tip that board members were being compensated, which would violate state law, I submitted our freedom of information act request for all payments to board members in the last 12 months.
The documents received proved board members were not being compensated, as in getting paid to be a board member. However, what they did prove is 3 board members are being compensated through payment of invoices they approve, commonly referred to as self-dealing.
- Jim Kunce – Board Secretary – Kunce’s Sales & Service Invoices – Total $73,081.39
- Justin Lavicka – Board Member- EARTHWORKS BY LAVICKA, INC. Invoices – Total $7,595.00
- Donna Hiltz, Board President- Hiltz Portable Sanitation Inc. Invoices – Total $980.00
I requested comment from the Superintendent and/or board members regarding the payments to the businesses owned/operated by board members.
- Do the Board members receiving payments for invoices submitted believe they are exempt from those two statutes? If so, can they please provide their reasoning?
- Were these board members aware of those laws forbidding interests in such a transaction? If not, are they going to continue the practice or cease?
- Has the School Superintendent or legal representative advised the board such actions violate state law?
All indications in our review point to those board members violating Illinois States Statutes 105 ILCS 5/10-9 and 50 ICLS 105/3.0 and 50 ILCS 105/3.1
The response is most interesting. (emphasis added)
Thank you for your interest in our District. Unfortunately, neither the board nor I have any further responses to submit at this time.
Michele Lindenmeyer, Ph,.D.
Milford Area Public Schools #124
Unfortunately? Is such a response an indication the Superintendent knows what happens is in violation of the law but has been instructed to not respond? The fact they were unwilling to confirm if the practice was going to continue or cease should concern every taxpayer of the district.
Considering such conduct by these board members appears to qualify as Official Misconduct, the appropriate steps would be for a criminal complaint to be filed with the local law enforcement for further investigation. However, this is Iroquois County. Even after the Iroquois County States Attorney Jim Devine confirmed the grant fraud we uncovered years ago by members of the former bi-county health department, nothing was ever done about it. Much like when employees of the same department were orchestrating self-dealing on the solar panel business that conveniently landed in the lap of one of the spouses of the employee or the massive self-dealing and fraud that went on with the federal flood grant Iroquois County received years ago.
For those who will immediately come to the defense of the three board members and fill our inbox with comments about how great these people are, those same people are the very reason this kind of thing continues in this state. If we expect things to get fixed and our laws followed we must be willing to be intellectually honest with facts presented and accept that perceived great people can violate our laws just like less than great people.
We have requested more records from the school district to identify how long this self-dealing has been going on. The next school board meeting should be interesting.
PubliusPosted at 12:03h, 06 July
Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.
DavePosted at 12:37h, 06 July
Organized crime anyone….. very disturbing how they think the law can just be ignored.
Joanne SchaefferPosted at 13:03h, 06 July
And they continue to rob the tax payers………………if all the thieving by politicians stopped, taxes would be cut in half!
PKPosted at 13:48h, 06 July
The school’s plumbing and sewer ‘needs’ fulfillment leaks through the county seat. And Earthworks by Lavika Inc.’s labor rate seems more than a little out-of-whack!
janniePosted at 14:12h, 06 July
Ok, when reviewing the one company who rec’d such a large sum it appears like the company is plumbing, heating/cooling. I suppose it might be reasonable to assume that the company put in a new furnace or cooling system in the school. If that was the case I’m not sure why the superintendent just didn’t say that. However, generally it goes out for bid.
a. In situations that a person on a board has a company that may be up for the job – when it’s up for discussion the person has to leave the room and isn’t allowed to vote.
b. I’d like to know more of the facts.
PBPosted at 17:00h, 06 July
Quite the markup on those Panasonic CU-5E36QBU-5 mini splits…they can be bought online for $3,500 each or $7,000 total (includes the ceiling recessed units). I realize there are linesets and other equipment necessary, however, that is more than double the cost for one single item!
Doug WolfePosted at 16:52h, 07 July
It is making me wonder why we have so many States Attorney’s in Illinois who won’t do their jobs and prosecute violations of the law. Over $70k in business for one board member? Should be an easy slam dunk for even the newest prosecutor never mind one with experience.
Kirk AllenPosted at 20:08h, 07 July
Nope. Jim Devine won’t touch it. If he does I buy you dinner!
Jes MannPosted at 09:19h, 12 July
First of all, I am a community member in Milford, IL. Secondly, I am a paying tax member in my community. Lastly, I voted all 3 of these board members in and would do so again in a heart beat. This article is misleading. Did you research how many years these businesses have been in the community? How many years these businesses donated to our school system? Did you research how many times open bids have been posted and no one replied to but these businesses? No. You wrote a misleading argument. Shame on you.
John KraftPosted at 11:00h, 12 July
Nothing you said holds any merit as to whether they can contract with the school or not.
Nothing in the article was misleading.
Kirk AllenPosted at 11:15h, 12 July
One question. Can you provide the law that makes it OK for elected officials to do business with the very public body they were elected to represent? Ill wait.
Joanne SchaefferPosted at 11:21h, 12 July
It doesn’t matter how many years or no bids, the law is the law. According to the board oath they swear to when sworn in, they are breaking the law because they/their business made money off of the district. If the businesses want to do the work as a total donation to the district, that may be possible. That should be researched by the boards legal firm..
PKPosted at 19:54h, 14 July
Interesting comment! I attempted to gather more information here:
Rather than shaming the reporter, please do a careful examination of the district’s business partnerships in what you allude to as a resulting lack of bids.