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June 17, 2024

Shelby County Board Meeting – Attorney Finks Attributes Board Member Carol Cole’s Comments As Folk Tale, Legend…

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On April 14, 2023

Shelby Co. (ECWd) –

The Shelby County Board held its regular meeting last night which can be viewed below.

Noteworthy public comments and discussions took place regarding the issue of people being buried at the County Farm, a subject first raised by County Board member Carol Cole. For a better understanding of that issue, we encourage people to read the articles here, and here, as well as reading the information linked to within those articles.

Tom Finks, an attorney, and former Shelby County State’s Attorney spoke to the comments made by Cole during a prior meeting.  Finks referred to her comments as “folk tale, legend, second or third level hearsay”.  He made the claim there was no credible evidence to support what Cole has shared.  We find such a statement concerning considering there is in fact evidence pertaining to the matter Cole spoke to. In fact, this is her exact quote which we understand has been confirmed with the public record in the County Clerk’ Office.

“There are facts about who is buried in the cemetery and proof where on the graveyard plot these 79 people are buried.   You can check those facts in the Almshouse Registry located in the courthouse county clerks office.   According to the book the last person buried at the farm in 1942 is not listed on the grave plot, all 79 people are accounted for in the cemetery. There were many more people who died while living there but were taken to other cemeteries. All those names are also listed in the Almshouse book, when they died and where they were taken for burial.”

So there is no question, there is evidence to support Coles’s statement.  Additionally, it turns out, according to the Chairman, an actual headstone has been located in a hedge row by officials seeking to place power poles on the property.  Finks failed to discuss other definitions in the Human Skeletal Remains Protection Act, in what appeared to be an attempt to ignore the matter for the purpose of ensuring the farming operations do not cease.   Under section 1(d), grave markers are included, not just skeletal remains as Finks implied.

The reason this entire discussion is noteworthy is that credible evidence presented to the board by one of its own members is now having her comments labeled as a folk tale, legend, and second or third-party hearsay without gathering known facts in the matter by an attorney with a rather interesting track record.

In 2012, Finks was disciplined by the Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission.  The allegations Finks faced were as follows, as found in the original complaint which we encourage everyone to read.

a.  committing criminal acts that reflect adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer and other respects, in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(3) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (1990);
b. conduct involving dishonesty, deceit, fraud or misrepresentation, in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(4) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (1990);
c. failure, while having direct supervisory authority over a nonlawyer, to make reasonable efforts to ensure that the nonlawyer’ s conduct is compatible with the professional obligations of the lawyer, in violation of Rule 5.3(b) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (1990);
d. conduct by a lawyer, as a candidate for judicial office, which, if the lawyer were a judge, would be a breach of the Code of Judicial Conduct, to wit Rules 61, 62A, 67 A(3)(a), in violation of Rule 8.2(b) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (1990); and
e. conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or bring the Courts or legal profession into disrepute in violation of Supreme Court Rule 770.

As a result of the complaint, the following discipline was given.

“Mr. Finks, who was licensed in 1984, was suspended for sixty days. While serving as the State’s Attorney of Christian County, he became a candidate for judicial election and circulated nominating petitions that omitted specific information concerning the judicial vacancy he sought. He also failed to supervise his secretary when she notarized signatures on two nominating petitions, even though the circulators of the petitions did not appear personally before the secretary. Finally, on two occasions, he and his secretary did political work related to his judicial campaign on county time using county resources. The suspension is effective on February 3, 2012.”

By all indications, the very person calling County Board member Carol Cole’s credibility into question has what appears to be his own credibility issues.

Our question now is, why was there no criminal prosecution for use of county resources for his political work?

And we wonder why people have trust issues with our government.

 

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1 Comment
  • Droopy: Master Sergeant
    Posted at 06:44h, 15 April Reply

    Good ole boy system seems to alive and well in Shelby county. Did board member Cole hire Tom Finks to come to the meeting? Did she create such an issue with her comments that she needs legal counsel to dig her way out. Could someone explain how she is serving taxpayers? Appears to be self serving at a huge cost to taxpayers.

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