MADISON COUNTY, IL. (ECWd) -
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: