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June 22, 2024

ECWd Critic: “Anyone Asking For Our Help In Moultrie County Will Have Their Life Made An Absolute Living Hell” –

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On July 22, 2023

Shelby Co. (ECWd)

The reason for this article is to once again show people why we do not disclose who requests our input or help on a matter.

For years we have watched communities react to things going on in their local government but note, those reactions only came after being made aware through some mechanism pointing to an issue.  Many times, that mechanism is the great American social media site called Facebook.  Yes, that was meant to be sarcastic.  As many know, more often than not it is what is put on Facebook and spread around the world as true faster than anyone can ask for one document to verify the claims circulating that end up proving it was not true. This is where the problems begin.

Our work involves responding to citizens’ tips and requests from officials about matters in their local government and wanting help looking into it.  Such requests are commonly tied to a request to remain anonymous because of fear of retribution, harassment, and in some cases outright violence against them.

Many units of government across the state read our work right along with the local citizens.  While tracking how many learn from the exposure of one is tough to do, we do know other units of government are reading about the mistakes such as those exposed in Shelby County. For example, we know that Moultrie County is looking into its dive team-related documentation after seeing what is going on in Shelby County. That is a good thing because they are being proactive rather than reactive.  Based on what limited information we have about Moultrie County officials, we are betting their key documentation is in order.

Rather than ask us directly, a person posted a comment on a local Shelby County person’s Facebook page asking if we are already moving into Moultrie County.  While we have spoken with numerous people in Moultrie County over the past few years, we are not, nor do not, have any intentions of moving into Moultrie County.  Nor are we looking into any matters in Moultrie County at this time as we have not received any tips they are doing something needing looked into.

The response from a person with a Facebook Page named Matt Lane was most telling.

I’ve checked around and everyone here in Moultrie has a very low opinion of the Watchdogs.  They have seen right through them for years.  And if anyone here in Moultrie wants to try to bring them in or work with them, I will make that person’s life an absolute living hell (legally of course)”. (emphasis added)

For a person to say they will make a person’s life an absolute living hell for asking for help from us tells us that person has no respect for people’s rights. And for the record, we know for a fact, “everyone” in Moultrie County does not have the opinion asserted by this person, which indicates he is now known for spreading clearly false information.

In Shelby County, we did not write about the behind-the-scenes input regarding key elected officials who were receiving health insurance and IMRF contributions even though no such benefit was ever in their compensation-setting resolution.  While I personally believe those full-time positions, County Clerk, Supervisor of Assessments, and Treasure should receive such benefits, it would only take one taxpayer to challenge those payments and the county could find themselves on the wrong end of a very substantial problem and those office holders could have their benefits impacted.  I know the County Clerk, Jessica Fox, tried to take care of this matter when it came to light and was unable to get the matter addressed due to past officials’ absolute disregard for fixing anything.  It was not until a new Chairman was in place and insistence from both the Clerk and the Treasurer that the compensation setting resolution properly outline such benefits that it was finally fixed. Those officeholders recognized the problem and wanted it fixed.  It was not their fault the past board failed to fix it, and knowing they were trying to rectify the problem there was no need for us to blow it up and expose it.  They were doing the right thing.  Should those who worked on that matter have their life made an absolute living hell because of their communications with us on the matter?

A local township citizen in Shelby County raised the concern over the Supervisor of Assessments being a Township Supervisor. When we looked into it, we identified that not only was the Supervisor of Assessments also a Township Supervisor but so was her Chief Deputy.  A simple email to the SOA and the State’s Attorney sharing the Attorney General’s opinion on such action creating a conflict and not permitted, those two assessment officials fixed the conflict by resigning from the Township Supervisor positions.  There was no fanfare, no article, and all was good because it got fixed.  Had they ignored the matter once made aware of it then we would have written about the matter.  Should the citizen who asked us to look into the matter have their lives made an absolute living hell because of their request to us?

A request from a farmer wanting to know why the Shelby County farm is never bid out is an example of why we wrote so much about the farm ground.  Not only was the farm not being bid out, it was not being approved by the full board to lease it, but rather a committee, and the county was paying tax on the ground rather than the person leasing it.  Never mind that leasing to a private entity as they were doing was not permitted as confirmed by the past two state’s attorneys, of which one tried to change the law on the matter.  Fast forward to the most recent former county board and the current county board, a properly bid-out contract for custom farming has resulted in more revenue than any past lease they had.  While a lot of negative light came from the event, the county is better off financially because of it.  Should the farmer who asked us to look into the matter have their lives made an absolute living hell because of their request to us?

In Coles County, a young woman was the victim of what we believed were criminal acts by an Assistant State’s Attorney.  When we were asked to look into it, we witnessed what I would call a coverup of the matter.  We took all kinds of heat over the matter including being threatened with lawsuits for writing about it.  When the criminal investigation was completed, the (now former) Assistant State’s Attorney was charged with 32 felony indictments.  Should the woman who asked us to look into the matter have her life made an absolute living hell because of their request to us?

We have learned over the years that there is always a Paul Harvey moment, “the rest of the story”.

We never disclose who requests our input or help and when people claim they “know” who asked us to get involved and assert it as person A or B, to date such accusations have been complete lies when it comes to Shelby County.  Ironically, Shelby County is the only place where so much focus has been on who asked us to look into something rather than focusing on the actual problems identified and substantiated with public records.

If your life is being made an absolute living hell for getting involved in your local government I would bet you’re onto a problem someone does not want exposed.

“If you’re not taking flack you’re not over the target”. (author unknown)

 

 

 

 

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8 Comments
  • Dave
    Posted at 13:53h, 22 July Reply

    I think someone should report that threat to the Moultrie County sheriff and allow them to investigate

    After a quick search I found there is a Matthew Lane, (DELETED BY MODERATOR) Springs Pk, Sullivan, IL 61951.

    Three persons are linked to this address. Their names are Jacqueline Lane and Jaqualine Lane. He uses the landline number (217) (DELETED BY MODERATOR) (Frontier Communications of Lakeside, Inc). Various documents link the phone number (217) (DELETED BY MODERATOR) to different owners — Jaqualine Lane, Jacqueline Lane.

    What is Matthew Lane’s contact number?
    The phone number (217) (DELETED BY MODERATOR) belongs to he.

    In full disclosure and clarification; I have absolutely no idea if this is actually the person who made the “Anyone Asking For Our (ECWD) Help In Moultry County Will Have Their Life Made An Absolute Living Hell” Facebook threat

  • Dave
    Posted at 14:35h, 22 July Reply

    The immutable fact is many people cannot handle power, it’s can be like a drug. As was once said many years ago…. power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts…. absolutely.

    Personally, I think the ECWD do a great job and am thankful they care enough to help victims of govt power abuse. You rock dogs!

    Mercy to the guilty is cruelty to the innocent!

  • John Doe
    Posted at 14:35h, 22 July Reply

    My wife and I used to have to correct our kids when – as adolescents and teens – they spoke in “flat assertions”, by using the all-inclusive terms “everyone”, “anyone”, “no one”, etc., to try to convince us of something. For many reasons, it sounds like “Matt Lane” needs to grow up.

  • Jerie Clausen
    Posted at 15:53h, 22 July Reply

    Anything you are not allowed to ask questions about, is something you should be asking more questions about.
    -Tucker Carlson

    • Jerie Clausen
      Posted at 05:37h, 23 July Reply

      Your work is very appreciated! I greatly respect that people question things and get ECWD help if needed. Furthermore, your integrity and loyalty to your sources is outstanding..

  • Dave Hamilton
    Posted at 16:09h, 22 July Reply

    You guys do great work. Much appreciated!

  • mike hoit
    Posted at 01:11h, 24 July Reply

    that last line , hits home.. been that way since 09 when i reported a vermilion county cop, and the saga still continues, they will try every tactic, false charges, deleting video evidence, perjury , all of it and so much more….

  • Wayne Bruce
    Posted at 16:43h, 31 July Reply

    “fear of retribution, harassment, and in some cases outright violence against them.”
    Very much so.
    Which is very sad.
    Good government responds by saying “Thank you for bringing our attention to this situation. We will do our best to fix it/we will fix it.”
    Unfortunately and especially in smaller areas that does not happen like it shoud.

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