State’s Attorney Said to Have Opined County Board Can Eliminate Positions Labeled by Critics as “Patronage Hires”

That’s the hot rumor of the answer to a question that McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks asked of McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally.

Advice I’ve heard that is given to beginning attorneys:

“Never ask a question you don’t know the answer to.”

It seems that veteran attorney Franks did not follow that advice.

So now, it seems he has an opinion that says the County Board has the authority to hire and fire and that the County Board can eliminate positions.

If so, that would mean the twenty-three Republicans on the twenty-four person County Board could get rid of the two patronage positions that have disturbed a number of Board members.

Other information being passed around also confirms what any good attorney could have figured out for himself.

Constitutional officials like the Sheriff, State’s Attorney, County Clerk, etc., have more power over their employees than non-constitutional countywide elected officials like the County Board Chairman.

I figured that out when I was County Treasurer in the late 1960’s..

Funny how Jack Franks couldn’t come to the same conclusion fifty years later.

After all, we still have the same state constitution.

Vincent Giangrasso, R.I.P.

My father-in-law, Vincent Giangrasso died Friday morning.

Below is his obituary:

Vince Giangrasso on a cool mid-June family gathering in Wonder Lake.

Vincent Giangrasso cherished husband of Orlanda (nee Ropele); loving father of Donna (Doug) Pittman, Joseph (Mary) Giangrasso MD, and Michele (Cal) Skinner; adoring grandfather of Kevin (Ann) Pittman, Kristy Fritz, Joey Giangrasso, Marisa (Nathan) Hentis and Steven Skinner and great-grandfather of Vincent Fritz and Hunter Pittman.

Visitation Monday, August 21, 2017 at Christ the King Catholic Church, 5006 East Wonder Lake Rd., Wonder Lake, IL 60097 from 9AM until time of Mass of Christian Burial at 11AM.

Interment St. Mary Cemetery, Evergreen Park, IL at 2PM.

Arrangements by Dalcamo Funeral Home. Visit the website to sign guestbook [or comment below].

= = = = =
An article about their July 26, 2017, 70th wedding anniversary is here.

Lake County Board Member Tom Weber Announces Candidacy to Replace Rep. Barb Wheeler

The 64 state rep. district. which Barb Wheeler represents. Prepared by Elgin-based political consultant Drew Veeneman.

A press release from Tom Weber:

Tom Weber Running for State Rep.

Lake Villa, Ill. – Aug. 19, 2017 – Lake Villa resident and Lake County Board Member Tom Weber, small business owner and a conservative Republican, announced his candidacy today for Illinois State Representative in District 64, currently held by Barbara Wheeler. Wheeler recently announced she will not seek re-election in 2018.

From Tom Weber:

It is an honor serving the residents of my district on the County Board.

However, I feel I can serve them better in Springfield.

Taxpayers don’t need people giving up, they need an advocate willing to fight for them.

This is why I have decided to enter the race for State Representative.

Currently I am Lake County Board Member and Chairman of the Planning Building and Zoning Committee, Board Member Lake County Forest Preserve District, Board Member University of Illinois Extension Advisory Council for Lake and McHenry Counties, Board of Directors for the Youth Conservation Corp
and Board of Directors for Busy Brains Children’s Museum.

Illinois is my home and where I have raised my family.

I believe with the right leadership we can save our state.

It will take a lot of hard work and I would be honored to go to Springfield and represent the residents of District 64.

= = = = =
It will be interesting to see how Lake County candidates attempt to gain support in McHenry County. (My precinct is at the bottom left of the map.)

Jack Franks Robo-Calls LITH about Success of Suit to Allow Him to Take Control of the Sanitary District

A friend of McHenry County Blog writes,

“I live in Lake in the Hills.

Jack was nice enough to robo call us that he just won an injunction against the lith sewer dept wasting our money and claimed if we had questions to call him at home.”

No word on whether he called the Lake in the Hills Sanitary District customers in Crystal Lake and Huntley.

And no word on how the LITH Sanitary District charges less than any other sewage treatment system in McHenry County.

= = = = =
Did anyone get the exact words of the phone call?

Jack Franks Out Recruiting County Board Candidates

Jack Franks

Jim Roden

Don’t have a photo of Jack Franks’ vehicle at The Framery in Ridgefield, but a Friend of McHenry County Blog saw it parked there.

And who owns The Framery?

Jim Roden.

He ran for McHenry County Board twice in District 2.

Jim Heisler

Donna Kurtz

Young people are distributing negative pieces about the two incumbents whose terms are up in 2018:

    • Jim Heisler
    • Donna Kurtz

    One time when Roden ran, he targeted then-County Board Chairman Ken Koehler.

Jack Franks Seeks Leasing Agent for Valley Hi Nursing Home Without County Board Involvement

In a move of which no McHenry County Board member attending State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally’s fundraiser last night was aware, Jack Franks has asked for Requests for Proposals to lease Valley Hi, the County nursing home.

Valley Hi

One member of the County Board asked retiring Purchasing Director Don Gray how long he had been working on the RFP and was told since June.

Next Gray was asked why he didn’t tell anyone.

Gray is reported to have said that Chairman Jack Franks and Administrator Peter Austin told him not to, to keep it quiet.

I talked to all the County Board members attending the fundraiser.

Chuck Wheeler, Chairman of the Public Health Committee knew nothing of the proposal before today.

Mike Skala, Finance Committee Chairman, knew nothing of the proposal until today.

Jeff Thorsen, Vice Chairman of the County Board, knew nothing of the proposal until today.

Craig Wilcox, liaison from the County Board to the Valley Hi Operating Board, said that no mention was made of the proposal at Wednesday night’s meeting.

Craig Wilcox

“It is unfathomable to me that a Request For Qualifications regarding Valley Hi operations was released today by the county without any discussion by the County Board or appropriate committees and boards,” Wilcox said.

“The RFQ was obviously in the works for awhile, and was close enough to being released that an open and transparent government would have discussed it at our County Board meeting on Tuesday, or certainly at the Valley Hi Operating Board on Wednesday.

“I am disappointed that our County Administrator remained secret and silent and am in disbelief that our County Board Chairman feels such contempt for transparency that he would attempt such underhanded actions.

“I feel disappointment on behalf of McHenry county residents who have been misled by Chairman Franks into thinking his actions are upstanding and noble, when the reality is he consistently attempts to circumvent and knowingly avoid an open dialogue on critical issues.”

Jim Heisler, who serves on the Valley Hi Operating Board, said that not only was no mention made of the RFP by County Administrator Peter Austin, but the staffer scheduled to discuss next year’s budget on Wednesday night did not attend the meeting.

Transportation Committee Chairman Joe Gottemoller knew nothing of the proposal until today.

Chuck Wheeler

“As chairman of Public Health and Community Services Committee,” Wheeler said, “I am shocked and appalled to hear rumors that our County Chairman would go out for bids on Valley High to lease it out without running it through our committee or the rest of the board.

“Our employees at Valley High and our precious residents deserve better treatment than this and I apologize to them both for this behavior, “he continued.

“We can’t afford this shoot from the hip reckless leadership from Chairman Franks and County Administrator Austin.”

Kay Bates said she knew nothing of the proposal until today.

Chris Christensen did not know that an RFP was being prepared until today.

Mike Walkup also said he knew nothing about the Valley Hi proposal until today.

Michael Rein was kept in the dark, too.

Donna Kurtz did not know either.

John Reinert said he knew nothing of the proposal until today.

Donna Kurtz

Kurtz told me that she and Mary McCann met with Austin on Tuesday and were assured that the only changes at Valley Hi would be privatizing some of the support services, such as, housekeeping and food service.

“To date there has been no specific problem that this leasing of Valley Hi is supposed to solve,” Kurtz said.

“And until there is a complete financial analysis using audited data, the entire RFQ is a sham because there is no proof that it is necessary.”

Appearing on the McHenry County website in the purchasing section is the following:

Broker Services for the Lease of McHenry County’s Valley Hi Nursing Home

**Pre-RFQ Meeting will be held on 8/31/17 at 10:00AM in the Administration Building at 667 Ware Rd Woodstock IL 60098**

Questions for this RFQ are due 9/6/17 by 4:00PM

Addendums will be posted after 4:00PM on 9/13/17

The detail is here.

Details of the Judge’s Decision in Scott Milliman Case – His 2014 Deposition

More of Federal Judge Frederick Kapala’s decision that Scott Milliman was not wrongfully discharged by Sheriff Keith Nygren:

Milliman’s 2014 Deposition in this Case

In his deposition in this case, taken in September 2014, Milliman said that he was not maintaining his allegation that Nygren solicited him to murder Judge Floeter.

However, Milliman said he was maintaining his allegation that Nygren called him and asked him to hang David Bachmann and to make it look like an accident.

Milliman explained that he immediately reported the solicitation to the FBI and they gave him a “wired key fob,” which he took with him when he next met with Nygren.

When asked what happened when he met with Nygren, Milliman said, “Keith was just awfully nervous.

“I think he was probably tipped off about it or something or maybe he just was – had second guessing [sic] what he was telling me on the phone.

“Maybe he had a bad day when he called me, I don’t know.”

When asked if at that meeting Nygren asked him to hang David Bachmann and to make it look like an accident, Milliman said no.

Milliman also noted that the bank originally utilized for the SBA loan scheme, the Elgin State Bank, eventually entered into a consent order with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which was apparently a result of insolvency.

Similarly, the Home State Bank entered into an agreement with the Comptroller of the Currency because of “unsafe and unsound banking practices relating to credit administration and in underwriting and credit risk rating.”

Milliman testified that one can infer that fraudulent SBA loan activity was occurring at Home State Bank with Rivera and Nygren by the agreement between Home State Bank and the Comptroller.

In reference to a subpoena duces tecum that he had issued to Elgin State Bank and Home State Bank for loan documents of Rivera’s and Nygren’s relatives, associates, and business partners, Milliman remarked, “it’s going to show loan fraud. Did you see the documents yet? Just wait.”

Milliman testified further that in 2007 he met a man named Piedad Gonzales from Zacatecas, Mexico who drove a truck for Rivera and who said that Rivera helped bring him into the country.

Gonzales did not tell Milliman that he gave Rivera $1,100, nor is there any suggestion that Gonzales was present in this country illegally.

Milliman also spoke to the manager of Stone Lake Apartment Complex who informed Milliman that the complex was heavily populated with individuals from Zacatecas, Mexico.

As proof of the ticket-fixing scheme, Milliman has offered the existence of a number of individuals charged with various offenses whose charges were ultimately dropped or reduced and who also contributed to Nygren’s election campaign, often with significant time gaps between payment and the dropping of charges.

When asked how he knew those on the list had their cases nolle prossed in exchange for their campaign contributions to Nygren, Milliman responded, “I inferred it,” and admitted that he did not speak personally with any individual on the list, nor did he speak with any prosecutor regarding the decisions behind the dismissed tickets.

Milliman also testified that an officer exchange program with Zacatecas, Mexico, was a “scam,” apparently designed to benefit individuals living in McHenry County from Zacatecas, Mexico; individuals living in Zacatecas, Mexico; and Rivera and Nygren.

Milliman testified that he was present when a fire truck, a public works vehicle, and a squad car were given to Zacatecas government officials at Rivera’s home in June 2007 in exchange for an envelope of an undisclosed amount of Mexican currency.

The 2017 Family PAC Cruise with Ted Cruz

The Illinois Family Institute’s Dave Smith and State Rep. Brad Holbrook arrived before boarding time.

The Family PAC Cruise on the Chicago River and Lake Michigan is my favorite fund raiser.

People lining up to get a seat on the deck and maybe even under the canopy where they would be dry from predicted rain.

People arrive early to get a seat on the main deck.

When Ted Cruz arrived, Algonquin’s Gene Brown was one of the first to chat with him.

The views are spectacular and I enjoy chatting with people I haven’t seen in a year.

Ted Cruz wondering who was taking so many pictures of him.

My friend Gene Brown asked me to take a photo of him and Cruz.

After I took about twenty and the conversation was over, the Senator looked at me with that “Who is that guy taking pictures?” look.

My drinking of Diet Coke on the cruise added 36 cents to the coffers of Cook County.

This year, the boat was packed because U.S. Senator and, more importantly, former Presidential candidate Ted Cruz was the honored guest.

There were Republican Party officials on conservative side of the political divide.

Jay Kinzler, who challenged Peter Roskam for Congress in 2016, was in attendance with his wife Jennifer.

In his speech, Cruz spoke of the difference that a Republican President has made.

David Smith introduced his wife Natalia to State Senator Dan McConchie.

He specifically pointed to Hillary Clinton’s not being President.

Brad Holbrook, Bob Vanden Bosch and Peter Breen pose for a photo. Breen recently replaced Steve Andersson as GOP House Floor Spokesman.

And Neil Gorsuch’s serving on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Kendall County Republican Party Chairman James Marter and State Rep. Allen Skillicorn.  Marter ran in the GOP Primary Election against U.S. Senator Mark Kirk.

Cruz divided his speech into three parts:

  • Truth matters
  • Freedom matters
  • The Constitution matters

Former State Rep. Penny Pullen, seated next to State Rep. Jeanne Ives, converses with Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran.

“When you’re speaking the truth you have power,” he said.

Former State Rep. Bob Biggins, Rick Baker and State Rep. Peter Breen hear the food from Harry Carey’s.

“Conservatives nationally [say] what they believe.

State Rep. Tom Morrison was caught talking on the lower deck.

“This country remains a center-right country.”

Jo Ann and Robert Bednar. Bednar has run for office in Lake County.

Discussing freedom, Cruz described it as “a liberating concept.”

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz didn’t get much time for himself on the cruise.

He told of his Dad’s being a prisoner in Cuba, how his father thought he could achieve freedom in the United States.

Cruz said the rulers of Chicago and Illinois base their power on “a lie.”

“How may years have Democrats ruled Chicago?” he asked.

Lots of people wanted their pictures taken with Ted Cruz.

Reflecting his father’s experience, Cruz said,

“Thank God some liberal didn’t come along (in Austin) and put his arm around him and offer the advice not to learn English,” the Senator said.

A view of the Chicago Skyline from Lake Michigan.

Turning to the U.S. Constitution, Cruz praised its proclamation of the natural rights that all are endowed by their Creator with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness resonate today.

The Constitution protects freedom and truth, he said.

Concerning the events in Charlottesville, the former Presidential candidate declared,

“The Nazis and the Klan and white supremacists are scumbags.

“Every nut bag has the right to protest.

“\Everyone of us has a duty to call out the lies…of the bigotry [they speak].”

A view of Trump Tower down the Chicago River.

Turning to Washington, he said, “Quite simply, we ought to act.

“If we fail to do it (deliver on our promises), then this will be one of the most heart breaking Congresses in a long time,

“Let’s do what we said we’d do.”

Ted Cruz chats before the boat left the dock.

Cruz is up for re-election next year.

He said there were two ways to run:

  1. scared or
  2. unopposed

It was dark when the boat returned to the pier making the lights new ferris wheel quite visible.

He related a fundraising pitch.

The candidate says, “We’ve got all the money we need, but it’s still in your pocket.”

Concluding Cruz vowed,

As long as there is breath in my body, I will fight for truth, freedom and the Constitution

Looks Like My Google Search for Jesse White’s Intentions Didn’t Hit the Right Date

So the following article is based upon a false premise:

Is Jack Franks Ready to Roll the Dice for Secretary of State?

In 2009, when Pat Quinn was running for election as Governor after being elevated when Rod Blagojevich was impeached and removed from office, State Rep. Jack Franks gathered hundreds of thousands of dollars right before the June 30th campaign finance reporting deadline.

That dipped down to about $500,000, but with campaign contribution limits having been imposed the huge contributions Franks gathered in 2009, make $500,000 big money.  (A 2011 rack-up showed Franks had more than about three other potential statewide candidates.)

Jesse White’s charges were really demonstrating their stuff at this Crystal Lake Independence Day Parade. White is holding the Coke-McDonald’s banner over which his tumblers flew.

Now, with Secretary of State Jesse White announcing he will not run for re-election in 2018, it’s Franks’ big chance get an office where he will be able to appoint more than two patronage employees. (And he wouldn’t have to intimidate a County Administrator.)

Franks may have gotten a head start on rivals at the annual Franks’ Canadian fishing trip with Democratic Party biggies like Ed Burke and White.

How would he do in McHenry County?

When discussing a possible Franks’  Secretary of State candidacy with a Republican Precinct Committeeman, I asked, “Would you vote for him?”

The answer:  “In a minute.”

That reminded me of what I was told of the McHenry County Superintendent of Schools.  He had been School Superintendent in Harvard.

The Harvard folks voted for him to get him out of Harvard.

Anonymous Commenter Called Out

From former McHenry County Board member Ersel Schuster:

Observations hit a cord!

Responding to a post on this blog [Ersel Schuster Reflects on a Jack Franks’ Patronage Hire], “moderate,” has taken the expected step of personal assassination; making my point in spades!

It has always been my understanding that I am fair-game from the likes of “moderates” crowd.

My life is an open book and I do wear my heart on my sleeve.

The real concern is whether, or not “moderate” is on the county’s payroll.

Wouldn’t it be great if people like “moderate” had the courage to face those they work so hard to discredit?

Since they are cowards… one would be foolish to hold his/her breath believing they will come out of the shadows.

To those who stayed on issue and stood up for me after “moderate’s” attacks… a million thanks!

For those who may not know, but may be questioning… here is the background story; something “moderate,” and his ilk, would not know.

As died-in-the-wool-entrepreneurs, Ed and I were working to launch a product.

Our sin was believing in the product and holding on so long it took us to our knees.

All would have been just fine had the housing market not tanked.

As a result, and at the time, the responsible action was to put ourselves into Chapter 13 to work at paying off debt.

Notice, Chapter 13… not 7 or 11!

For general clarification, there are two types of bankruptcy for individuals:

  1. the discharge of debts and
  2. the payment plan

Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code is for the discharge of debts.

In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you are not seeking to get rid of all of your debt, but to restructure your payments so they are more manageable, considering your income.

Chapter 11 is used in business reorganization.

Simply put, 10 years after the fact, this information has never been a secret.

Clearly it is now being used as threats… to silence me.

Those in “moderate’s” mold, or mind-set, are notorious for slinging mud, perpetuating half-truths, personal assassination, and destroying reputations for political purposes.

The sickness of these destructive tactics undermines good government and is growing in our county.

Those of us who have been assaulted by these people over the years know this is the same crew working for, and perpetuating the financial mess in Springfield, Cook County, our school systems, unsustainable retirement plans, etc.

The critical message, and take-away, is to caution voters / taxpayers… make sure you question “anonymous” posts, negative campaign material, robo-calls and all personally damaging articles directed toward anyone still having the courage to run for elected office.

We have been asleep… thus allowing these folks to believe we are stupid and unwilling to challenge them.

It is long past the time to stand up!

State Rep. Steve Andersson Not Running for Re-Election

The poster child for House Republicans who voted to override Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of the Democrats’ 33% personal income tax hike, Steve Andersson, announced last night on Chicago TV that he was not running for re-election.

This photo of State Rep. Steve Andersson shaking hands with House Speaker Mike Madigan after the Governor’s income tax veto was overridden appeared numerous places after the Chicago Tribune put it on its front page.

Andersson represents the Sun City part of McHenry County.

The 65th State Representative District map, drawn by local political consultant Drew Veeneman.

At the time of the vote, Andersson was the Floor Spokesman for House Republicans.

Dan Ugaste

House Minority Leader Jim Durkin soon replaced Andersson with the more conservative Peter Breen.

When Andersson won the seat, there was a three way race among him, Dan Ugaste and Debbie Miller.

Anderson beat second place candidate Ugaste by 1410 votes.

Miller was 923 behind Ugaste.

Republican primary election results in 2014 in the 65th House District, which Steve Andersson won.

All three candidates were from the southern part of the district.

Rauner Requests FEMA Aid for McHenry and Other Counties

A press release from Governor Bruce Rauner:

Gov. Rauner requests FEMA teams for flood damage assessments

Assessments will start Friday in Lake, McHenry, Kane and Cook counties

SPRINGFIELD (Aug. 17, 2017) – Gov. Bruce Rauner asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to join the state in conducting damage assessments in areas of Lake, McHenry, Kane and Cook counties after record and near-record flooding in July.

Governor Bruce Rauner and other public officials (see State Rep. David McSweeney in the foreground) visit LaFox River Drive in Algonquin on July 14, 2017.

The request was submitted after initial damage assessments conducted by county officials documented nearly 300 homes that suffered major damage or were destroyed and more than 3,000 others that also were affected by flood waters.

“Many people in these counties are struggling to recover from this flood, and we want to do everything possible to help them,” Gov. Rauner said.

“These damage assessments will provide a clearer picture, not only of the damage, but also of what people need in order to fully recover from this disaster.”

Personnel from FEMA, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and local emergency management agencies are expected to begin assessing damage to homes and businesses Friday morning. The assessments will continue through the weekend until complete.

IEMA also is working closely with municipalities, counties and other governmental bodies in the four impacted counties to document their costs related to the flooding. That assessment will help determine whether the state could meet the federal threshold of $18.3 million for assistance that could help government agencies receive reimbursement for some of those flood-related expenses.

The State Emergency Operations Center in Springfield was activated for two weeks to support flood fighting efforts in these four counties, along with subsequent flooding in the northwestern part of the state.

= = = = =
McHenry County Emergency Services advises that 556 homes were touched by water.

Satus Quo in LITH Sanitary District Case with Judge Leaning Toward Jack Franks’ Position

Sitting through most of the 1:30 Wednesday hearing on whether McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks will be able to control the Lake in the Hills Sanitary District led me to offer, “Congratulation, Jack,” as he walked down the hall.

The issue was whether to continue the temporary restraining order until the trial date, which was set for Tuesday, September 19th.

The second week of July, Franks, using the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office to represent him, won a Temporary Restraining Order against the Sanitary District’s spending $900,000 to purchase property down Square Barn Road in Kane County.  (See “Franks Wins TRO Against LITH Sanitary District.”)

Yesterday, Judge Thomas Meyer shunted aside the political motivations of both Franks and the Sanitary District to concentrate on whether the pencil thin annexation down the road’s right-of-way met the required “contiguous” definition.

Assistant State’s Attorney George Hoffman pointed out that the Sanitary District did not annex any property at the end of the annexation and cited at least one case that supported that requirement.

The boundaries of the Lake in the Hills Sanitary District extend beyond the southern boundary of McHenry County into Kane County along Square Barn Road.

Sanitary District attorney Derke Price argued that the statute under which it was formed gave more annexation latitude than the districts obtained under the case cited.

“I’m not going to get involved with the background facts..I’m not gong to pay attention to this motive stuff,” he said.

He concluded spending the $900,000 to purchase land at the end of the annexed property on which a pumping station has been discussed for over two years would cause damage to taxpayers before he ruled on the case.

He also found that there was a likelihood that the County would win the suit.

Hoffman suggested a summary judgement would be appropriate.

At stake in the short -run are three $6,000 Trustee slots.  So far, Franks has appointed two people, one of whom is a Democratic Party Precinct Committeeman.

Jack Franks sits right between the two Democrats he “appointed” to the LITH Sanitary District Board, Eric Hansen and Kyle Kane ,both of whom will get paid $6,000 a year if Franks wins his suit.

In the long-run, Franks seeks bragging rights that he led the fight to abolish a tax district.

Although located in Crystal Lake and Huntley, as well as Lake in the Hills, state law seems to allow the LITH Village Board to call all the shots if consolidation occurs.

The State’s Attorney’s Office sent out the following press release:

McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office’s Petition for A Preliminary Injunction Against the Lake in the Hills Sanitary District Is Granted

McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally is pleased to announce attorneys in the Civil Division secured a preliminary injunction preventing the Lake in the Hills Sanitary District from closing on a piece of property in Kane County at a cost in excess of $900,000.

The County pushed for the injunction after this independent taxing district took extraordinary steps to prevent a proposed consolidation aimed at reducing expenses and increasing government efficiency.

This victory is yet another step in the battle to protect McHenry County taxpayers from wasteful government spending.

The County was represented at the hearing by Assistant State’s Attorneys George Hoffman and Jana Blake Dickson.

The matter will now go to trial on September 19th to determine the proper makeup of the District’s Board of Trustees.

Details of the Judge’s Decision in Scott Milliman Case – After His Deposition

From Judge Frederick Kapala’s court decision dismissing former McHenry County Deputy Sheriff Scott Milliman’s suit for wrongful dismissal:

Events Following Milliman’s 2010 Deposition

After Milliman gave his 2010 deposition, Nygren and his subordinate, defendant Undersheriff Andrew Zinke, received copies of the transcript of the deposition.

Nygren assigned Zinke to investigate the matter, who in turn assigned the investigation to Commander John Miller, also a defendant in this case.

After reading the deposition, Miller concluded that Milliman might have been suffering from what he described as psychological difficulties.

Consequently, Miller drafted a memorandum recommending that Milliman be sent for a fitness-for-duty examination.

Miller noted that, although Milliman’s behavior could be considered a breach of several rules of the MCSD, he recommended that the matter be handled as a possible medical issue rather than a disciplinary one.

He also recommended that an independent agency look into the allegations of criminal behavior and that Milliman be placed on administrative leave.

Finally, Miller noted that he would do his best to determine what steps the FBI took after it was informed of Milliman’s allegations.

Neither Zinke nor Miller interviewed Milliman or Nygren.

Despite Miller’s recommendation that the matter not be handled as a disciplinary one, the investigation file was titled “Termination Review.”

Zinke contacted the FBI by a letter dated December 3, 2010, to request clarification about its investigation. Zinke and Miller also discussed the matter with a labor attorney, John Kelly.

On December 23, 2010, Zinke placed Milliman on administrative leave and ordered him to attend a fitness-for-dutypsychological examination by Dr. Robert Meyers.

Milliman objected to Dr. Meyers, as he had been a contributor to Nygren’s election campaign and, according to Milliman, had been “used by the McHenry County Sheriff to have other members of [the] department dismissed on specious grounds.”

Instead, Milliman requested a neutral examiner, and specifically requested Dr. Grote, who had performed his 2003 evaluation.

The MCSD acquiesced and ordered Milliman to attend a fitness-for-duty examination by Dr. Grote.

In a January 4, 2011 letter, the FBI responded to Zinke’s request as follows:

We have had the opportunity to carefully review your December 3, 2010, letter requesting reports, if any, of information provided to the FBI by DeputySheriff Scott Milliman. I am also aware of the allegations attributed to Deputy Milliman, as well as statements he has made to you and others about contacts he has had with our office.

I can confirm that DeputyMilliman has approached our office in the past and provided information in confidence that he felt may be of interest to the FBI.

Where appropriate, investigation was conducted to determine the validity of the allegations.

I can tell you that none of the information provided by Deputy Milliman was determined to have prosecutive merit.

The Federal Privacy Act prohibits me from relaying the substance of the information provided by Deputy Milliman.

Though the information we can provide at this time is limited, I hope it can be of some use to you.

In documents provided by the FBI during the course of this litigation, the scope of Milliman’s reporting to the FBI became much clearer.

More specifically, in response to a subpoena in this case, the FBI produced 187 pages of heavily redacted documents reflecting an investigation of the MCSD by the FBI from 2006 to 2009.

Milliman brought all of the complaints mentioned in his 2010 testimony and many more to the FBI’s attention, all of which the FBI concluded lacked prosecutive merit.

Reflecting on Oliver Serafini’s Short Tenure as Jack Franks’ Patronage “Communications Specialist”

Another view of County government from former McHenry County Board member Ersel Schuster:

And the Games Continue…

Jack Franks patronage worker Oliver Serafini wearing Franks campaign stickers at the McHenry Chamber of Commerce Business Expo.

So, one of the McHenry County Board Chairman’s patronage hire, “Olie,” has resigned his more than questionable position as “McDOT’s, utilities coordinator.”

Would it not be interesting to know exactly what this person did for his $48,000 salary?

Would it not be great if our elected officials sought real and honest answers to the question… much less demanded…that response?

Over the last several years, there has been a dramatic increase in political dirty tricks, not to mention
the outright lies Democrats have unleashed toward Republican candidates.

Their tactics have become bolder, campaign after campaign.

Making a little leap, and a few assumptions, it would not be impossible to assume the person in question has been scouring county documents; gathering information on anyone thought to be an
obstructionist, and/or would-be candidates, who would dare challenge the chairman’s agenda.

Being paid a salary, with the benefit of unfettered, backroom access to county records, one can only
imagine what these folks are planning for local candidates in 2018.

For some unknown reason, commonsense suggests no one should hold his/her breath waiting for our
elected officials to get a firm handle on these patronage hires.

Voters/taxpayers are once again being snookered!

Lakewood President Paul Serwatka Reports on Village Affairs

From Lakewood Village President Paul Serwatka:

Newsletter – Reporting on 3 Important Issues

Continuing my report of our July 25th and August 8th board meetings, there are still several more items that I want to bring to your attention. As I stated previously, several of these items, I believe, are significant and I want to be sure they are given the attention, and detailed reporting that I believe they warrant.

This in mind, I will need to report on them over a short series of newsletters. I will follow-up with the others in the upcoming days.

Today, I want to touch on 3 Important Items.

Storm Water Task Force

I recently sent out notice to residents that I am working to re-instate Lakewood’s Storm Water Task Force, seeking residents with expertise in related fields, asking for their participation as we work with engineers and contractors to find real solutions to our sewer/storm water inadequacies.

Flooding on Broadway in Lakewood.

You can read the Northwest Herald Coverage of our effort by clicking the link.

Legitimizing Lakewood’s Planning and Zoning Commission

In my early May 2017 Newsletter, (my first newsletter as our new village president) I spoke of the appointment of a new Chairman to Lakewood’s Planning and Zoning Commission, resident John O’Hara. As I stated then, this appointment was part-1 of a 2-part plan to bring a new level of legitimacy and professionalism to our Planning and Zoning Commission.

Why am I bolding the word “Commission”? (This is actually quite important.)

Commission vs Committee

It is statutorily mandated by the state of Illinois that our village maintain an independent Planning and Zoning Commission.

This Commission is to be comprised of up to 7 residents, independent of the board of trustees, who are appointed by the president and board of trustees and is intended to serve the following functions:

▪ Conduct Public Hearings
▪ Review evidence
▪ Make Findings of Facts
▪ Make recommendations to the village board of trustees
The Commission is intended to hold these hearings, examine evidence, determine facts and make these recommendations on a variety of issues including:

▪ Special land use requests
▪ Ordinance text or map amendment requests
▪ Plans for future development
▪ Set-back line amendments
▪ Subdivision requirements
▪ Site plan approvals
▪ Etc.

After holding a public hearing, reviewing evidence and establishing a Finding of Facts the Commission would then make a recommendation to the board of trustees to approve, or not to approve, one of the above listed issues.

In 2008, a Planning and Zoning Committee was created. This Committee was a distinct and separate entity from the statutorily mandated Planning and Zoning Commission. For the last 8 years, this Committee was comprised of the village president and two trustees selected by the village president.

This Committee essentially bypassed the statutorily mandated Commission.

This Committee, comprised of the president and two trustees, held its own hearings and made recommendations to themselves and fellow board members. (Worth noting that this Committee that was making these recommendations to themselves and other board members, already held three of the four votes necessary to approve or not approve any of the above listed issues.)

There are many, myself included, who believed that the existence of this Planning and Zoning Committee, if not grossly improper in its existence alone, certainly could be perceived as having an appearance of impropriety.

At our July 25th meeting, I proposed an ordinance disbanding this Planning and Zoning Committee, whereby all such future matters would only be heard, and recommendations made, by our statutorily mandated, independent Planning and Zoning Commission.

This ordinance was passed unanimously.

I believe that placing these important issues before an independent Planning and Zoning Commission of appointed residents, moving forward, will serve well to avoid the many costly and upsetting disputes that have taken place between residents and the village.

Re-Organization of Village Administration
(No More Village Manager, Deputy Manager and Finance Director positions)

In line with our goal to to streamline our administration for increased efficiencies and cost effectiveness, as well as to remove sole authority and power from one individual, as has been the case in recent years, the board has recently made a quite substantial transition.

Our village administration will, by ordinance, no longer have a Village Manager, or Finance Director position.

As I explained at our July 25th and August 8th meetings, we have created a new Chief Administrative Officer position which comprises/replaces what was formerly two positions.

– The Village Manager at $133,000 salary (as was proposed) plus a $30,000 pension/benefits package – for a total of $163,000.

– Finance Director at $115,000 salary plus a $30,000 pension/benefits package -for a total of $145,000.

The total cost to Lakewood taxpayers, for these two positions was over $300,000.

Furthermore, Lakewood’s Village Manager has historically come with a 4-year employment contract including a hefty severability clause which included a severance package of as much as 4-6 months of salary if employment is terminated.

With the salary for the new Chief Administrative Officer of $157,700 there is a tremendous cost savings to our village. But that isn’t even the best part.

This new Chief Administrative Officer position is an entirely “at will employment” with NO contract period and NO severability clause or severance package guarantees. Lakewood can terminate at anytime should they deem necessary.

This transition was a very strategic move.

The goal was to find a qualified candidate to perform both the managerial and accounting roles. At a minimum, we needed a CPA with high level managerial experience. Great emphasis was also placed on finding someone with more private sector experience and less of a municipal government “indoctrinated” mindset.

Julie Heather Meister’s credentials were more than impressive. Her extensive credentials along with her vast experience in Fortune 1000, NPO, and the ABA arenas, in my own very strong opinion, put her light-years ahead of her predecessors of the last decade.

To give an idea of the level of professionalism Lakewood is gaining, here are just some of Julie’s more pertinent credentials:

MBA—University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kenan Flagler School of Business
PhD Coursework—Case Western Reserve University, Weatherhead School of Management
Fellow and Scholarship Recipient—Mandel Center for Not-for-Profit Managerial Leadership, Case-Western University
CPA—Certified Public Accountant, Licensed in Illinois
CIA—Certified Internal Auditor
CFE—Certified Fraud Examiner
PMP—Project Management Professional
Six Sigma Green Belt—American Society for Quality
CPIM—Certified in Production and Inventory Management

I am quite confident that these skills, along with the incredible work ethic that Julie Heather has already demonstrated will prove to be worth their weight in gold, in Lakewood.

The addition of Julie Heather Meister and the new position of Chief Administrative Officer to the Lakewood administration, along with the hiring of Michael Roth as Lakewood’s new Chief of Police, I believe, will catapult Lakewood into an arena of legitimate and efficient government that works to SERVE the residents, rather than the arena of municipal governments that seem to serve themselves.

As always, your thoughts, questions and concerns are always welcome and always valued.

54-Year Old Woman Convicted of Felony Possession of Cocaine

A press release from the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office:


Patrick D. Kenneally, McHenry County State’s Attorney, announces that Renee Hermes, 54, was found guilty of Possession of 100 to 400 grams of Cocaine, a Class 1 felony, after a bench trial before the Honorable Robert Wilbrandt.

The evidence introduced at trial showed that in April of 2014, Hermes called 9-1-1 to report a possible carbon monoxide poisoning.

Hermes later admitted to being high on cocaine at the time of the call.

When emergency responders arrived at the Spring Grove residence that Hermes shared with her husband, they found over 250 grams of cocaine in the basement of the residence.

Hermes will be sentenced on October 11, 2017 at 9:00 a.m.

The offense is probation eligible.

If sentenced to the Illinois Department of Corrections, Hermes faces between 6-30 years.

This case was investigated by members of the Spring Grove Police Department.

The lead investigator was Officer Lee Redlin.

This case was prosecuted by Brian Miller and Robert Ladd of the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office.

25-Year Old Man Killed in Bicycle-Car Accident in Woodstock at Routes 14 & 47

A press release from the Woodstock Police Department:

Fatal Crash Investigation

Bicyclist vs. Motor Vehicle

Looking north at Route 14 from Route 47.

On Tuesday, August 15, 2017, at approximately 7:33 pm, the Woodstock Police Department responded to the intersection of S. Eastwood Dr. (IL Rte. 47) and U.S. Rte. 14 in reference to a motor vehicle crash involving a pedestrian.

Upon the arrival of responding officers and members of the Woodstock Fire/Rescue District, they located and attempted to treat a 25 year old male subject, who subsequently died.

The Major Crash Assistance Team (MCAT), a multi-jurisdictional team consisting of experienced and trained crash investigators from several McHenry County law enforcement agencies, including the Woodstock Police Department, was activated.

The preliminary results of the investigation indicate that the victim, who was riding a bicycle, was traveling northbound on Rte. 47 and was struck in the intersection by a 2007 Chevy Tahoe, which was traveling eastbound on Rte. 14.

Preliminary witness statements indicated the Tahoe was traveling through the intersection and had a solid green light.

No citations have been issued based on this preliminary information.

This crash remains under investigation by the Woodstock Police Department, MCAT, and the McHenry County Coroner’s Office.

= = = = =
A press release from McHenry Coroner Anne Majewski:

Robert A. James

McHenry County Coroner, Dr. Anne Majewski, announced this afternoon that her office is investigating the death of a man killed last evening, August 15, 2017, at the intersection of Routes 14 and 47 in Woodstock Illinois.

The young man is identified to be Robert Amos James, age 25, of Woodstock Illinois.

Mr. James was riding a bicycle north on Route 47 when he proceeded into the intersection of Routes 14 and 47 reportedly against the red light and was struck by a car heading east on Route 14.

A 911 call went out for the crash at 1933 bringing Woodstock Police and Woodstock Fire and Rescue to the scene.

Mr. James was transported to Centegra Woodstock Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 20:42.

An autopsy conducted today in the McHenry County Coroner’s Office revealed that he died from blunt force injuries to the head, chest and abdomen. Toxicology testing is pending at this time.

The crash remains under investigation by the Woodstock Police Department, MCAT (McHenry County Accident Team), and the McHenry County Coroner’s Office.

Andrew Georgi Schedules September Fundraiser

Former Hebron Village Trustee and McHenry County Board candidate Drew Georgi has scheduled a fundraiser in Hebron for Saturday, September 16th at 3 PM.
The invitation does indicate what office Georgi is running for, but he revealed, ” All I will say is I will need a whole lot more than 43 signatures to be on the ballot.”

Could he be planning to run for a countywide or legislative office?

Skillicorn Calls from Privatization of the State Fair

A press release from State Rep. Allen Skillicorn:

Skillicorn Urges Privatization of State Fair

SPRINGFIELD – On the eve of Governor’s Day at the Illinois State Fair, State Representative Allen Skillicorn (R-East Dundee) says given the state’s perpetual financial problems, Illinois should stop subsidizing events like the fair and let the free market do its job.

“I’m going to the fair to remind fellow elected officials that taxpayers should no longer subsidize events like this,” said Skillicorn.

“Despite the state finally having a budget, which is a terribly unbalanced budget, Illinois is still running months behind on payments due to our massive debt and backlog of unpaid bills.

“So instead of spending taxpayer money on a fair like this, we should let the free market do what it does best and not put taxpayers on the hook anymore.”

The state spends roughly $6 million annually on the state fair, money Skillicorn noted could be going to pay down the state’s backlog of unpaid bills.

According to research by the Illinois Policy Institute, between 2001 and 2009 the state lost nearly $42 million on the Illinois State Fair and DuQuoin State Fair.

Given this history of losing money, despite state statute that says expenditures are not supposed to exceed revenue from the previous year’s fair, Skillicorn says it is time for a change of direction.

Skillicorn said that with the state’s long standing financial problems, every effort should be made to reduce spending and he is again doing his part by turning down per diem and mileage reimbursement for the latest session called by Speaker Madigan.