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June 22, 2024

Mattoon District 2 School Board Candidate Gary Kepley Filed False And Incomplete Statement of Economic Interest

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On April 1, 2023

Coles Co. (ECWd) –

Mattoon School Board member Gary Kepley is also a Wabash Fire Protection District Trustee according to the Coles County record at this link. According to public records, he was appointed to the Wabash Fire Protection District during the September 2021 County Board meeting.  Kepley filed his candidacy to run for Mattoon School Board in December of 2022 along with filing his Statement of Economic Interest (SEI) document.

With years under his belt as a Mattoon Police Department Officer and School Board member and once again wanting to be elected to continue directing the education of your children you would think filing a complete and accurate Statement of Economic Interest (SEI) would not be that difficult

Item number 4 on the SEI is a pretty basic request for disclosure.

“List the name of each unit of government of which you or your spouse were an employee, contractor, or office holder during the preceding calendar year other than the unit or units of government in relation to which the person is required to file and  the title of the position or nature of the contractual services.”

Kepley wrote “N/A”, which is common for “not applicable”. However in this case, it is applicable.  As a trustee of another unit of government, he is required to disclose that as an office holder.

Additionally, his filed SEI shows that he signed it on 4-21-2023, which we all know is not possible because that date has not come yet this year.

As a School Board Member and Candidate, attention to detail is important, as is accuracy to the truth. It’s important because the office he is seeking is to have a direct influence on the education of your children.

Current law outlines the following as it relates to SEI filings.

“I declare that this Statement of Economic Interests (including any accompanying schedules of statements) has been examined by me and to the best of my knowledge and belief is a true, correct, and complete statement of my economic interests as required by the Illinois Governmental Ethics Act. l  understand that the penalty for willfully filing a false or incomplete statement shall be a fine not to exceed $2,500, or imprisonment in a penal institution other than the penitentiary not to exceed one year, or both fine and imprisonment.”

Clearly, Kepley filed a false SEI by failing to disclose his position as a Fire Protection District trustee and signed it reflecting a date in the future which he should know is neither true nor correct. As a former police officer, one would think he would agree that attention to detail and the law matters.

A local Mattoon resident, Dustin Hay, brought this to our attention and we understand he has filed a formal complaint with the Sheriff’s Office to investigate as the law does outline a clear criminal penalty not to exceed $2,500.00, or imprisonment in a penal institution other than the penitentiary not to exceed one year, or both fine and imprisonment.

We reached out to Mr. Kepley for comment and have not received a response at the time of publication but will update the article in the event he responds.

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5 Comments
  • Brian K Anderson
    Posted at 10:38h, 01 April Reply

    It’s amazing the number of documents which elected officials sign as true and correct even though they contain glaring inaccuracies. I’m in 100% agreement that paying attention to the fine details and accuracy of filed documents is a reflection of how these individuals will serve their communities. Even more disappointing is the fact that the county does not take the time to verify the information contained in documents.

  • SC
    Posted at 14:25h, 01 April Reply

    While I would consider an Elected Trustee to be an Office Holder, I’m not sure I would have considered an Appointed Trustee as an Office Holder unless it was to fill out the term of an Elected Trustee. But if an Appointed Trustee is an Office Holder, does that make him an Officer of the County that appointed him or of the Fire Protection District?

  • NMWTLS
    Posted at 09:28h, 02 April Reply

    Kudos Mr. Hay for taking that necessary first step. I hope the States Attorney doesn’t sweep it under the rug as they are prone to do..

  • Rick Parry
    Posted at 00:22h, 03 April Reply

    Can I get an OOOPS?

    or maybe he thinks

    Details don’t count and the funds will watch themselves?

  • Hugh Askew
    Posted at 19:46h, 03 April Reply

    Not a bit surprised about this one. Lately those that have a background in law enforcement, are also seriously lacking in law abiding.

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