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December 6, 2022

Former Madison County Officials File Civil Conspiracy and Whistleblower Lawsuit Against Chief Judge Bill Mudge, Sheriff John Lakin, and Other Current and Former County Officials

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On August 9, 2021

MADISON COUNTY, IL. (ECWd) –

***PRESS RELEASE***

 

Former County Officials File Civil Conspiracy and Whistleblower Lawsuit Against Madison County Chief Judge Bill Mudge, Sheriff John Lakin, Treasurer Chris Slusser, Circuit Clerk Tom McRare and Other Current and Former County Officials.

 

EDWARDSVILLE – Former Madison County Administrator Doug Hulme and IT Director Robert Dorman filed a multi-count civil conspiracy and whistleblower lawsuit Friday in Madison County Circuit Court with 21 listed defendants including Chief Judge Bill Mudge, Sheriff John Lakin, Circuit Clerk Tom McRae, Treasurer Chris Slusser and former Auditor Rick Faccin.

 

The complaint alleges, “all of the defendants participated in conspiratorial conduct tantamount to a civil conspiracy against the plaintiffs…by making false and unsupported accusations of improper conduct and in some cases alleged criminal misconduct.”

 

“The action of the Madison County Board in terminating the employment of the Plaintiffs was based on information, much of it false, which was obtained by improper and/or illegal conduct on the part of various Madison County officials which information was a basis of termination of the Plaintiffs tantamount to whistleblower discharge or retaliatory discharge of the Plaintiffs.”

 

The 21 defendants also include former State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons who created the Madison County Public Corruption Task Force led by the Madison County Sheriff’s Department. 

 

Gibbons’ Task Force was commanded by Det. Capt. David Vucich who is also a defendant along with his former wife Jennifer Mudge, an assistant state’s attorney under Gibbons, and the current wife of Chief Judge Bill Mudge.

 

Hulme and Dorman “blew the whistle” on county officials campaigning on county time and county equipment in 2017. County policies which as ordinances are law clearly allowed the county administrator to look at county email for misuse of county resources.

 

The Task Force’s investigation confirmed Hulme and Dorman’s claims by finding widespread prohibited political activity by county officials on county time and on county equipment. 

 

Evidence includes prohibited political emails and spreadsheet attachments sent and received between Commander Vucich’s ex-wife and her new husband. The emails include campaign donor lists, fundraising planning, Democrat political party activities, and Democrat precinct committeemen letters. 

 

Task Force documents unmask Treasurer Chris Slusser as the main instigator of the investigation when he told law enforcement, including States Attorney Tom Gibbons, that Hulme was ”illegally snooping“ on county email. Slusser worked with Gibbons to wear an eavesdropping device on Hulme and County Chairman Kurt Prenzler to gather “evidence” after his testimony in front of the Grand Jury failed to produce any indictments.

 

Slusser accusations were ultimately proven baseless and unsubstantiated. Dorman and Hulme were cleared of any wrongdoing by the Illinois Attorney General, the chief law enforcement office in Illinois. 

 

Other defendants in the lawsuit include former county elected officials Bob Daiber, Ray Wesley and Mike Parkinson and current county board members Mike Walters, Jamie Goggin, Erica Conway-Harriss.

 

County employees included in the suit are current IT Director Christopher Bethel, Deputy Treasurer Patrick McRea (son of Circuit Clerk Tom McRae), Deputy Auditor Jennifer Zoelzer, Deputy Sheriff Maj. Jeff Connor, Sheriff Deputy Capt. David Vucich and former Sheriff Capt. Deputy Eric Decker. 

Read the Complaint below or download it HERE:

COMPLAINT

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14 Comments
  • John Q. Citizen
    Posted at 19:45h, 09 August

    There is nothing lower than someone who did wrong and has the gall to retaliate against a whistleblower, especially under color of law.

  • GW ONE
    Posted at 09:05h, 10 August

    I’m glad this lawsuit was filed. It’s about time the citizens of Madison County find out the truth about Dorman and Hulme. It seems John Q. presumes wrongdoing without plaintiffs right to a fair trial. This is a bombshell lawsuit which we all will finally find lies from the truth. And maybe the defendants need to be suspended with pay until the truth is known.

    • PK
      Posted at 12:24h, 10 August

      Two wrongs don’t make a right, but all rights/wrongs are not equal. Documentation previously published with ECWd’s reporting shows that certain officials named in the lawsuit actually did wrong. Seems like bad habit housekeeping in the district.

  • Kathiann
    Posted at 10:14h, 10 August

    Round them up boys. It looks like the whole posse is rotten.

  • Local Yokel
    Posted at 14:31h, 10 August

    This is the most poorly-worded frivolous lawsuit I’ve ever read. Did a real attorney actually file this? Lots of misspelling and grammatical errors.

    Dorman and Hulme have filed about a dozen lawsuits against the county and county officials and every one so far has been dismissed. These guys have wasted hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars filing bogus suits and filing hundreds and hundreds of pointless FOIA requests of different county offices since they were rightfully terminated last year. When they were employed by the county, they rarely showed up to work, which equates to stealing taxpayer resources. It was well known that they rarely worked a 20 hour week, let alone 40 hours. They spent the rest of their time doing politics or playing golf at the Edwardsville legion golf course. They even bragged about it. Dorman also got exposed for excessive travel expenditures for “training” to places like Vegas, Chicago, Hilton Head, etc.

    They were accused of (and admitted to) searching through the emails of judges, the states attorney and public defender, trying to dig up political dirt on them. That’s a class 4 felony in Illinois to intercept the emails of the judiciary, states attorney, public defender or law enforcement. The county administrator has no authority or jurisdiction over the courts, and had mo right or authority to go digging through their emails, regardless of what a county personnel handbook might’ve said (which doesn’t supercede state law and doesn’t apply to the courts anyway).

    Hulme claims he “blew the whistle”. Who did he tell? What law enforcement agency did he report it to? He didn’t, because he’s lying. He and dorman were trying to dig up political dirt on people to use in the next election, and even bragged about it. THAT is prohibitive political activity. They conveniently leave out that fact.

    • Whack-a-Judicial-Hellhole
      Posted at 11:40h, 12 August

      Other comments were equally misleading, Circuit Judges do work for the county or counties they preside over, this is an already settled fact The county and its people have a right to know what is happening in their own publicly funded courts! That includes the right and authority to have someone pegged with the responsibility of digging through sent and received emails on Public county servers that should be about non-political official business.

  • Thtasher
    Posted at 16:16h, 10 August

    Sounds like you just got sued. Most babies don’t even cry that hard.

    • Judicial Hellhole
      Posted at 18:08h, 10 August

      No one is afraid of any lawsuit filed by these clowns.

  • RIPLUMBER
    Posted at 17:52h, 10 August

    Local Yokel sounds triggered. So after a two year investigation that involved ALL of Madison County Government including the Chief Judge, a County Chairman that was eavesdropped on by Slusser, including every walking, talking police officer in the county, and the Attorney General, and no crime was committed,..I think Local Yokel is right. These guys played too much golf and didn’t show up to work. Yawn…sounds like Local Yokel has an axe to grind.

    • Local Yokel
      Posted at 06:53h, 12 August

      Not being charged does not = exonerated. But I’m glad you agree they should’ve been fired for not showing up to work and stealing from the taxpayers. Hulme was paid more than $130,000/year and Dorman was paid $120,000/year. And for over 3 years, they worked less than half time.

      • Whack-a-Judicial-Hellhole
        Posted at 11:22h, 12 August

        LOCAL YOKEL, you claim here “they worked less than half time” for over 3 years is true, then prove they didn’t show up or work from home, file a FOIA, and get the records. Otherwise, you just look like your sole purpose here is to spread more false info to sway the public’s opinion ( and possibly some other inv authority) about either yourself or some of your well-connected friends

      • RIPLUMBER
        Posted at 16:09h, 17 August

        Do you really have to have a two year investigation by two dozen cops to prove someone didn’t show up to work? I don’t recall that ever being a concern in the newspapers. In fact I don’t recall anyone ever accusing them of not showing up for work. I mean Slusser went so far as to do an eavesdrop on Hulme and Prenzler, couldn’t they have just followed them to see if they showed up to work? I mean they were investigated for over 2 years. Clearly they were watching them closely. A lot of people are fired everyday for not showing up to work. Usually its pretty easy to see someone doesn’t come to work. I just wonder why that didn’t catch them if Local Yokel is telling the truth. Slusser gave testimony to a grand jury and they did nothing and neither did the AG. Can’t you indict someone for anything including a “Ham Sandwich?” Either Madison County has the most incompetent police, like former SIUE campus cop and “meter maid” Chris Slusser, or this was a complete waste of taxpayer funds due to Slusser’s accusations which were clearly unproven.

      • Thrasher
        Posted at 13:07h, 18 August

        Lokel Yokel -The lawsuit states they strongly deny the accusations, yet you say they admitted to reading judicial emails and that has not been reported anywhere else, how can you be so sure ?

        Sounds like you think attendance issues are bigger than misuse of equipment to remain elected when one is an HR issue and the other is against the law.

        why don’t you or any of your buddies question the cost of the task force to taskpayers?

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