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April 14, 2024

County Board Member Sued FOIA Requester; Wants Names Of Village Trustees Who Provided Information –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On December 14, 2023

Caseyville, Ill. (ECWd) –

In what appears to be a SLAPP suit (“Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation”), the attorney for the Village of Caseyville, Illinois, filed a lawsuit against researcher and blogger Bradley Vanhouse (“BV”), on behalf of a village department head employee and St. Clair County board member, Gerard Scott Jr., claiming defamation among other counts.

Here is how this went down (so far):

  • The Village of Caseyville paid an invoice in 2022 for replacing a transmission in a “1996 F Super Duty” truck in the amount of $3057.00
  • The Village of Caseyville, in 2022, did not and does not own a “1996 F Super Duty” vehicle according to our Secretary of State databases of government vehicles for 2022 and 2023, and also according to FOIA responses from the village asking for information on each vehicle owned by the village during the timeframe of the invoice
  • BV was given several tips on this invoice and payment and started asking questions and submitting FOIA requests to the village
  • No legitimate answer was provided and no records were provided indicating the village owned a 1996 F Super Duty
  • BV notified the local Belville News Democrat (“BND”) newspaper and us, among others, indicating his belief that a village employee had a transmission replaced in his private vehicle and the village taxpayers paid for it
  • The BND apparently forwarded the email from BV to the village or the village attorney, as evidenced in Exhibits of the Complaint, without redacting the name of the source of the tip
  • BV sent several additional FOIA request to the village, many of which were denied
  • We, ECWd, sent several FOIA requests to the village. One FOIA request was answered, which provided a list of all vehicles owned by the village and all invoices from the transmission repair shop. Another FOIA request was denied when we asked for a copy of the registration of the specific vehicle repaired on the invoice for the 1996 F Super Duty – the village claimed they already provided the information, we claim they did not. We have appealed to the AG’s Public Access Counselor in this denial
  • The village employee and county board member sued BV alleging defamation, etc.
  • BV filed a pro se Motion to dismiss under the Citizen Participation Act

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4 Comments
  • kathiann
    Posted at 11:23h, 14 December

    These guys have lots of money to waste. And something BIG to hide! Can’t wait to read the next chapter in this saga.

  • Michael Hagberg
    Posted at 14:08h, 14 December

    FYI Belville should be Belleville

    Welcome to St Clair County politics

  • Jack Tarleton
    Posted at 18:51h, 14 December

    You vill tell us your sources, Hogan! Sgt. Schultz, put these men in the cooler!

  • Lost One
    Posted at 22:15h, 14 December

    Hope the watch Dogs don’t surrender any information. Libel and slander cases are tough to prove up………….”this one is going nowhere..

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