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?
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.