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June 12, 2024

DeWitt County Board Chairman Dan Matthews Withdraws From November Election –

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On June 4, 2024

DeWitt Co. (ECWd) –

During the May 23, 2024, county board meeting, it was announced that Chairman Matthews had withdrawn his candidacy for office and will not be on the November 2024 ballot.

The resignation comes on the heels of both criminal investigations being conducted by the Illinois State Police and the recent controversial sale of the marina at Clinton Lake.

The County held a special meeting last month for the approval of a contract for the sale of the county-owned marina along with approving a short-term lease of the marina.  Listening to the audio from the prior meeting it appears there are a lot of unanswered questions.  The local paper also provided some commentary and recordings of the meeting at this link.

We have submitted numerous Freedom of Information Act requests for key records in an effort to see if things were done properly on this matter.  The first issue is the special meeting held by the county.  According to the counties code, special meetings of a county board have publication requirements which are in addition to the Open Meetings Act requirements.  We have been told those were not followed but we until we can verify that without the return of our FOIA request, we can’t confirm it.

We requested a copy of all the bids and any criteria established to determine who the highest responsible bidder was because we understand there were bids much higher than the one awarded.

Below are the items we have requested from the county.

  1. A copy of the publication provided to the local paper for the recent Special County Board meeting, as required under 55 ILCS 5/2-1002
  2. A copy of the Agenda from the recent Special Meeting held by the County Board
  3. A copy of the recording from the recent Special Meeting held by the County Board
  4. A copy of the last five Statement of Economic Interest documents filed by Terry Ferguson and Travis Houser.
  5. A copy of the Request for Bids publication seeking bids for the sale of the marina. If a bid packet was created please provide the bid packet as well.
  6. A copy of all eight bids received and associated documents included with the bids.
  7. A copy of the agenda and minutes from the meeting where the bids were opened.
  8. A copy of any criteria established pertaining to determining who was the “most responsible bidder” for the marina sale.
  9. A copy of the TWO contracts created in relation to the sale of the marina.
  10. A copy of the short-term lease agreement entered into with the buyer of the marina.
  11. A copy of the meeting agenda and minutes where a prorated slip fee amount was determined by the board in relation to the sale of the marina.
  12. A copy of the lease for the running/operation of the gas docks at the marina.
  13. A copy of the meeting agenda and minutes where a lease was approved by the board for the running of the gas docks at the marina.
  14. A copy of all IRS 1099 forms issued to Joe and Mary Beth Caldwell and 1125 PROPERTY MANAGEMENT LLC
  15. A copy of all audited financials for the marina operation over the last four years.
  16. Copy of any sworn or subscribed written statements or letters showing “the identity of every owner and beneficiary having any interest, real or personal, in such property, and every member, shareholder, limited partner, or general partner entitled to receive more than 7 1/2% of the total distributable income of any limited liability company, corporation, or limited partnership having any interest, real or personal, in such property…” as required under Section 3.1 of the Public Officers Prohibited Activities Act.

We do know people have been questioned by the ISP and the marina operations have become an element of their investigation.  We understand those who were operating the marina did not turn over the required financial information for the auditors, which is why we asked for key audit records pertaining to the marina.

We will update with a new article once we receive the requested records.

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3 Comments
  • Barbara McMath
    Posted at 11:35h, 04 June Reply

    Why doesn’t Matthews resign now instead of finishing out the year?

  • Droopy: Master Sergeant
    Posted at 19:07h, 06 June Reply

    I sometimes wonder how these people show their face in public? They have absolutely no shame.

    • Barbara McMath
      Posted at 19:32h, 06 June Reply

      Look up Dewittdailynews.com. There is an article with Matthews’’ reasoning for dropping out. Hogwash!

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