Previous Illinois Leaks Criticism of Algonquin Township Clerk Karen Lukasik – Part 1

With the most recent critical article on Algonquin Township Clerk Karen Lukasik and a Township Board meeting coming this Wednesday night at 7 PM, I thought readers might be interested in two articles from Illinois Leaks from late November.  Reprinted with permission, here is the one from November 28th:

Algonquin Township Clerk Excuses 101

McHenry Co. (ECWd) –When it comes to elected officials we commonly find they have no clue what their obligations are under the law, because the vast majority of them have never read the law pertaining to their obligation for the office they hold.When that becomes evident and matters start getting exposed, we find the excuses start rolling out of their mouths.

We are going to outline some of those excuses provided by Karen Lukasik who is the Algonquin Township Clerk.

We have covered several matters on Algonquin over the last month that can be found at this link.

As it relates to Freedom of Information Act compliance, or should I say lack of compliance, we find these excuses invoked by Lukasik for just two FOIA requests.

Karen Lukasik

  • I’m not sure where the employee records would be
  • I had family in for the holidays
  • I misunderstood your request
  • I’ve been presented with much turmoil from day one
  • You seem to be targeting me and I don’t know why
  • I’ve done nothing wrong other than get behind on FOIA
  • I have no staff
  • I work full time in the private sector and have no staff
  • I will once again try to find and fulfill your requests this weekend

Our response to the laundry list of excuses:

  • You’re the Clerk, it is your duty to be the custodian of all records.  Not knowing where employee records are 6 months into your term is unacceptable
  • I too spent time with family during the holidays but not sure what that has to do with an FOIA you received on November 13, 2017.  Considering the request was due no later than November 21st, this is just another excuse that ignores the reality of your obligations. 
  • Misunderstood the request?  So why wait until its past due to get clarification?
  • Boohoo!  
  • You’re the FOIA officer.  Who else am I supposed to “target” to get records?
  • Got behind in FOIA?  FOIA is a primary duty by law, which means it takes priority. 

“The General Assembly recognizes that this Act imposes fiscal obligations on public bodies to provide adequate staff and equipment to comply with its requirements. The General Assembly declares that providing records in compliance with the requirements of this Act is a primary duty of public bodies to the people of this State, and this Act should be construed to this end, fiscal obligations notwithstanding.”

  • You ran for an elected office.  It was your duty to determine if you could handle the job before you asked for peoples votes.  The fact you have no staff appears to be of your own making.  More on that in another article.
  • The fact you work full time in the private sector and you’re using that as an excuse tells me you did not do your due diligence in determining if you could handle the job prior to being elected.  Perform your duties or resign!
  • Trying to fulfill my request “this weekend” tells me you have no interest in compliance with the law as you clearly don’t understand your obligations, or at a minimum, you choose to ignore them. This request you now want to take more time to fill is already well past due.

These are just examples of the actions by the Township Clerk that all point to her inability to comply with the mandates of her position.  She should resign if this is how she intends on doing business.
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Nunda Township’s Contract with Waste Hauler Has Leaf Vaccuuming

Ah, the good ol’ days.

Right after Earth Day in 1970, the Illinois General Assembly passed and Governor Richard Ogilvie signed a bill to ban open burning.

Lakewood residents had always burned their leaves.

It was so bad that vision on Lake Avenue was probably less than 100 feet at times.

But, with the new ban, the Village Board contracted with Veuglar Disposal to suck up leaves raked to the side of streets with a giant vacuum.

There was quite a negative reaction to the new law and it was drastically modified.

Leaf burning returned to Lakewood (and elsewhere).

Then Lakewood Village President Julie Richardson convinced a majority of her Village Board to ban leaf burning.

(I continue to thank Richardson for allowing our bedroom windows to be open on fall nights.)

The Village Board, however, then forced everyone to put leaves in bags.

Those who know where we live (the house on Lake Avenue with the Gate 11 sign in the front yard), realise it is on a slight rise.

The only hill in old Lakewood.

As far as flooding goes, it is a marvelous location.

Our basement was dry this summer.

However, with the area’s southwesterly winds, there is a disadvantage.

Just as water flows downhill, leaves are blown by the wind.

And they stop at our little hill.

Other people’s leaves.

This area was pretty well rid of leaves the day before I took the photo above.

Oak leaves blew down the street and got stopped along our part of Lake Avenue.

A friend loaned us a little truck (about half the size of a dump truck) and we filled it twice.

Now I learn from Nunda Township’s fall/winter newsletter that, under the deal that Supervisor Lee Jennings cut with Waste Management, each side of the street gets three chances to rake leaves to side of the road for vacuuming.

No bags.

Naturally, I have proposed this idea to Lakewood Village Trustees, but, so far they continue the bagging requirement.

People hate that so much, that many pay outrageously amounts to have other people come and rake their yards.

Some have speculated the lack of concern interest over vacuuming leaves springs from the fact that most Village Board members live in Turnberry, where there are not many leaves.

For Turnberry residents who want leaves, I offer them free.

I still have a spring pass to make to get rid of the leaves that blew in after all of the ones you see above were removed.

I have been told that Woodstock sucks up residents’ leaves, too.

Petition Challenges in McHenry County

Here are the candidate petition challenges filed at McHenry County Clerk Mary McClellan’s office today:

Illinois Leaks Suggests Current Algonquin Township Clerk Bending Over Backward to Protect Former Road Commissioner Bob Miller

Reprinted with permission from Illinois Leaks:

Algonquin Township – Clerk claims former Highway Commissioner gets to determine FOIA redactions

Karen Lukasik

McHenry Co. (ECWd) –A simple request for phone records from the Algonquin Township has yet to be fulfilled and the last response points to a complete failure of the current Township Clerk, Karen Lukasik. 

Additionally, the response points to the appearance of attempting to protect the former Highway Commissioner.
My request was made clear back on November 13, 2017. 
It was a simple request.I asked for all phone records for Verizon account number 786471402-00001 since January 1, 2016.When the public seeks records, it is the public officials who are responsible for providing them or properly denying them.

In the case of Clerk Lukasik, she has defaulted to the former Highway Commissioner for guidance.

“However, these records begin in January 1, 2016, so I will need to contact the prior highway commissioner to determine if the request must be redacted.”

The previous Highway Commissioner has no say in what may or may not be redacted on the public records of a public body he is no longer a part of.

The FOIA officer is responsible for making the determination, not an unelected citizen in the community.

The appearance of an attempt to protect or provide cover for the former Highway Commissioner is found in her response.

“If in fact this account belonged to the Road District, I will need to find out if these records contain personal information which would warrant an unnecessary invasion of privacy for the records from January 1, 2016 – May 15, 2017.”

If in fact, the account belonged to the Road District? 

I provided a copy of the bill that included the account number as well as the name on the account, which was Algonquin Township Road District.

To question the ownership of the account was the first red flag as she knows it belongs to the Road District.

The second red flag, and I contend direct evidence of ulterior motive by this clerk is the claim in the second part of the response:

“I will need to find out if these records contain personal information which would warrant an unnecessary invasion of privacy for the records from January 1, 2016 – May 15, 2017.”

The request was from January 1, 2016, through the date of the request, November 13th, 2017.

Let’s assume the records do contain information that qualifies as an exemption.  Why would that exemption only apply through May 15, 2017?

Why would it not apply to the timeframe between May 15th, 2017 and November 13th, 2017?

Is it because former Highway Commissioner Bob Miller left office May 15th, 2017?

No matter what the reason, applicable exemptions should be applied to the entire time frame of the request, not just the time from when Bob Miller was the Highway Commissioner.

As noted above, the request was made November 13, 2017.

Here we are almost an entire month later and we still do not have a proper response from the Clerk.

The one person who is the custodian of all records and actually sued to drive that message home, yet she still has not provide a response to this FOIA.

More on all the other FOIA failures of this Clerk to come!
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John Reinert’s State Senate Petitions Challenged By Steve Verr

No details yet, but the Illinois State Board of Elections reports that a challenge to the State Senate petitions of McHenry County Board member John Reinert has been filed by McHenry Township Republican Party Chairman Steven Robert Verr.

Craig Wilcox and John Reinert at State Rep. Allen Skillicorn’s petition party.

Reinert is running against fellow County Board member Craig Wilcox.

Both are seeking to replace Pam Althoff in the State Senate.

Those who joined John Reinert when he announced his candidacy to succeed Pam Althoff.

Althoff has endorsed Reinert.

It occurs to me that by filing on the last day possible, Reinert gave opponents the lease amount of time to examine his petition signatures.

Skillicorn Asks LITH Municipal League Attendees to Reimburse Village

A press release from State Rep. Allen Skillicorn:

SKILLICORN ASKS LITH OFFICIALS TO REIMBURSE VILLAGE FOR OUTRAGEOUS RETREAT EXPENSES

Lake In The Hills, IL—Representative Allen Skillicorn (R-East Dundee) is calling for Lake In The Hills officials who stayed overnight in the Hilton Chicago Hotel to reimburse the village for hotel expenses.

Two employees and seven elected official attended the Illinois Municipal League retreat and annual banquet September 21-23 2017.

The Illinois Municipal League is a registered lobby firm with the Illinois Secretary of State.

Attending a municipal conference is not unusual for the village administrator, but sending nine people at a cost of 11,071.50 certainly is unusual and excessive.

For perspective

  • Cary spent $925.25,
  • Algonquin spent $330.00, and
  • Barrington Hills spent only $227.73

on the same conference.

By far the largest expense by Lake In The Hills were hotel rooms at the Hilton Chicago Hotel and valet parking.

Both Village President Russ Ruzanski and Trustee David McPhee both charged $1052.10 each for three nights in the Hilton Hotel and valet parking.

A few seconds on Airbnb can find many rooms within a few blocks for less than $100 per night, some as low as $63 a night.

Lake In The Hills is only 50 miles away with regular Metra train service.

“These are tight times for all taxpayers and residents of Lake In The Hills need elected officials who honor the frugal and hard working ethics of the village.

“I find it outrageous to spend over $11,000 sending village officials to a retreat and banquet at a luxury hotel.

“Sending nine officials to the downtown Chicago the epicenter of corruption, waste, fraud, and abuse to hear from Springfield lobbyists is the Chicago way, not the Lake In The Hills way.”

All Lake In The Hills residents should attend the Tuesday committee meeting or the Thursday village meeting both at the village hall, 7:30 pm, and remind the village board where they stand on these issues. Representative Skillicorn plans on attending the Tuesday committee meeting to address the board

Illinois Leaks Focuses on Bob Miller’s Illinois Railroad Museum “Salt Gate”

Reprinted with permission from Illinois Leaks:

Algonquin Township -“Salt Gate” – Motor Fuel Tax laws violated

BY  ON   LEAVE A COMMENT )

McHenry Co. (ECWd) –When the government takes your money in the form of taxes, use of that money is bound to specific laws.

Spend it outside those restrictions and it is considered a violation of the law.

Algonquin Township receives Motor Fule Tax (MFT) based on the road miles in the Township.  Although the road miles stay the same, MFT continues to drop as it is based on gallons of fuel purchased and with vehicles getting better and better mileage, the amount the Townships receive has steadily declined over the years.

You can read the law regarding how MFT is collected by the Department of Revenue at this link.

We have confirmed that MFT funds were used for the purchase of Salt in Algonquin Township.

We have also confirmed, at least two truckloads (10 cubic yards) of salt was given away during former Highway Commissioner Rob Miller’s time in office.

Illinois Railroad Museum

With MFT funds on a steady decline, it is more important than ever to ensure every penny is used for it’s intended purpose as outlined in the law. 

The law is clear, Motor fuel tax funds are allocated for use in road districts and it does not take a rocket scientist to see that the Illinois Railway Museum is not in the Algonquin Township Road District.

Even if it was, they don’t have any roads!

You may note after reading the MFT law, there is no provision where a Road District is permitted to give away anything, let alone two truckloads of salt.

Algonquin Township Road District salt dome.

And for those who are going to claim it was not MFT funds used to buy the salt as a form of disputing our findings, let’s assume for the sake of argument you’re correct.

What funds were the salt purchased with?

The fact remains, no matter what funds were used to purchase salt, it was taxpayer funds and nowhere in the law does it permit taxpayer funds to be used to make purchases and give those items away.

In this case, it was salt!

Once again we call on the citizens of Algonquin Township to file a formal criminal complaint with the Local Police Department, McHenry County Sheriff, and the State Police so that a proper criminal investigation can be conducted on public property being given away in violation of the law.

If any of those three refuse to take your complaint, please contact us ASAP!

Even more disturbing in this matter is the confirmed fact the person who received the salt knows such a practice is not allowed by law.

He is the Highway Commissioner for Riley Township. (Riley Township website).

Considering Bob Miller was the former Township Officials of Illinois President, is this yet another example of the failed leadership for Townships across this state?

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Pro-Life Group Puts Unwanted Pregnancy in Perspetive

McHenry County Citizens for Choice held a demonstration in Crystal Lake last week against State Rep. Allen Skillicorn because he did not vote for the bill that would enshrine in Illinois law the right for a woman to have an abortion up until the day of birth.

It also mandated taxpayer-finance abortions to those on Medicaid.

On the other side of the issue is Informed Choices, a Pro-Life organization who counsels young women and men when a pregnancy is unexpected.

My wife and I contribute to the organization and my wife was on the committee that brought the organization to Crystal Lake.

Informed Choices, operating out of Crystal Lake and Grayslake, sent the following fundraising email that tells of one of its clients:

Rachel is a single Mom with a 7 year old daughter who was happy to be able to take a vacation with her boyfriend.

A few weeks later, however, she was facing the possibility of pregnancy.

When she shared this news with her boyfriend, he said he did not want a child and instructed her to get an abortion.

Afraid to tell her mother and her friends about the situation, Rachel called Informed Choices looking for information about abortion procedures.

Our advocate talked with her to learn about her situation and explained all her options.

Then our nurse offered her a free ultrasound.

Informed volunteer nurse shows a client her baby on one of the organization’s ultrasound machines.

Rachel was very quiet as the nurse began her scan and explained what she was seeing as Rachel watched on the monitor.

When our nurse showed Rachel her baby’s heartbeat, she said “that’s my little peanut”.

Seeing the image of her baby provided the connection this mother needed to make the choice for life!

Thank you for your generously supporting our ministry in 2017 and making so many stories like this possible!

Gratefully,

Sarah

Sarah Van Der Lip
Executive Director
Informed Choices

Serwatka Proposes 10% Property Tax Cut in Lakewood

A press release from Lakewood Village President Paul Serwatka:

Lakewood Proposes 10% Cut in Property Tax Levy

Village Board to Vote This Tuesday, December 12th at 7:00pm.

This Tuesday, December 12th 2017, at Turnberry Country Club Meeting Room, staff and I will propose, and the board will be voting on, Lakewood’s property tax levy for the year 2017 (payable in 2018) which reflects a 10% reduction in the amount of property taxes collected in the previous year.

The levy as proposed is a clean, straight forward, legitimate 10% cut/reduction in the amount of property taxes to be levied by our village and paid by Lakewood residents!

NO abatements, NO “shell-games”, NO “smoke and mirrors”.  [County government abated taxes.  Abated taxes may be re-imposed in the future. The Algonquin Township Road Distrit levy was cut 5%, not abated.]

The entire 10% property tax levy reduction being proposed has been achieved through

  • the restructuring of our village administration
  • eliminating redundancies and creating efficiencies, including the consolidation of the previous positions of Village Manager and Finance Director into the singular “Chief Administrative Officer position, as well as
  • the elimination of the position of Deputy Manager.

Also noteworthy, this 10% reduction in our property tax levy is being proposed with NO SERVICES BEING CUT OR REDUCED – in fact, we have actually increased our police officers, police supervisory roles and police officer training and now have a greater police presence in our village with better trained officers.

You can learn more about the re-structuring of our police dept and the transformation of our village administration, by simply clicking HERE.

The Reduced Levy Being Proposed

Illinois State Statute requires all taxing bodies to request specific property tax amounts and not set tax rates.

This legislation is based on the state’s belief that local governments should only ask for what is needed to finance their operations and should not gain unnecessarily from significant increases in property values.

Specific to the levy being proposed, staff has determined that a levy amount of $1,586,509 representing a 10% decrease in the prior year levy amount of $1,762,788 is sufficient to cover expenditures for the next fiscal year.

The justification for reducing the levy by 10%, or $176,278 savings is as follows:

  • Consolidation of Village Manager and Finance Director position ($76, 100);
  • Reduction of Police Chief salary ($24,405 – adjusted for COLA);
  • IMRF savings for these positions ($10,654);
  • Fire Equipment Loan paid in full ($41,000) and
  • Part Time Building Inspector position contracted out ($25,720)

totaling a cost savings to the Village of $177,879.

The Village is committed to a balanced budget for the upcoming fiscal year, excluding planned capital improvement projects, while maintaining a healthy General Fund reserve.

The 2017 Audit of the General Fund revealed a fiscal year fund balance increase of $213,516 over expenditures and a total fund balance reserve of $1,378,455 representing 52% of annual expenditures.

Our Auditor typically recommends a fund balance between 30%-50%.

Therefore, a levy decrease for this year is justified.

All Lakewood residents are encouraged to attend this meeting on Tuesday, December 12th at 7:00pm.

Come show your support for this property tax cut and encourage village board members to vote YES!

The meeting will be held at Turnberry Country Club Meeting Room located at 9600 Turnberry Trail in Lakewood.

PLEASE SHARE this with Lakewood neighbors – and Please Make an Effort to come and voice your support!

I really hope to see you there!

I will also be following up with an important newsletter, tomorrow, regarding two important items from this Tuesday’s meeting, that you should really be aware of. Please look for this follow-up newsletter.

Petition Challenging Phase of Campaign Starts Monday

Campaigns have various phases.

First comes the time when candidates try to intimidate potential opponents.

Next comes the petition passing.

Filing of petitions is only a week long.

And Monday is the end of another week long time when opponents can file objections to petitions that have been filed.

Sometimes the challenge period extends almost to the election, if the issue goes to court.

The final phase, of course, is the campaign itself.

That usually starts after filing, but some candidates, especially those with deep pockets, start far ahead of then.

Franks Continues to Re-Frame the Debate on Cut 10

During the 2016 election Jack Franks was promising to cut taxes by 10T%.

Just look at the symbol he used:

Here’s the Cut 10 logo being used in Jack Franks’ campaign. It’s carries a promise that Lying Jack Franks has not begun to deliver.

Of course enlightened voters knew that was a fraudulent claim.

McHenry County’s tax levy is only about 10% of the total, so the only way Franks could cut one’s tax bill by 10% would be by abolishing county government.

So, Franks and the County Board cut the county levy by 11.2%.

That’s a little over a 1% tax cut in next year’s bills.

But when High School District 155, for instance, decided to hike its levy, despite fewer students, did Franks do anything?

Lying Jack Franks Cut 10 campaign promise is a bait and switch.

No.

Now, someone has come up with the idea of an advisory referendum asking school districts to cut their tax takes by 10%.

Not next year, but the year after, when Franks will be on the ballot again.

The referendum, of course, will pass overwhelmingly.

So why hold a referendum?

To put pressure on school board members.

And, help voters forget that Franks promised to cut their real estate tax bills 10%.

Law Says Milkweed Can’t Be Noxious Weed

Governor Bruce Rauner has signed a bill making milkweed exempt from noxious or exotic weed designations.

This monarch butterfly was attracted to my front yard’s milkweed.

Milkeweed is needed by monarch butterflies.

The bill passed the Illinois House 114-2 with GOP gubernatorial hopeful Jeannie Ives voting in the negative.

In the Senate, the vote was 41-6-1 with State Senator Dan McConchie voting, “No.”

The monarch butterfly was voted the state insect in a bill sponsored by Weber Borchers, a World War I Veteran and the first Chief Illinowek.

I think it would be accurate to characterize him as a right winger.

So, when he got up on the House floor to make his pitch for this fairly frivolous bill, he got the full attention of members.

He told of being invited to a grade school in Decatur.

There the kids, probably in the 4rh of 5th grade, gave a presentation of why the monarch butterfly should be designated the state insect.

“What was I going to do?” Borchers asked his colleagues.

“There were three hundred beady eyes looking at me,” he said, explaining his sponsorship of the bill.

Previous to the vote, the Decatur school kids had visited each State Representative’s office to present a colored monarch butterfly on a cottage cheese container top with yard that would allow the reps. to wear it around their necks.

And the students were in the gallery during the vote.

What could House members do except vote for the bill.

Al Franken on Dr. No

Looking up former U.S. Senator Tom Colburn, I found the following on the search engine:

Al Franken tells Stephen Colbert which senators have a sense of …

https://www.salon.com/…/al-franken-tells-stephen-colbert-which-senators-have-a-sens…

Aug 2, 2017 – Surprisingly, there are some senators that aren’t particularly funny, Franken revealed. Sen.Tom Coburn from Oklahoma — known as “Dr. No” partly because he was a physician in his old life, but mostly because he says no to any kind of federal funding — was the first senator to come to Franken’s mind.

Me thinks Senator Franken should have emulated Senator Colburn.

Franken wrote a book entitled, “Al Franken: Giant of the Senate.”

Tift Over Use of Tax on Aviation Fuel

A press release from Governor Bruce Rauner:

IDOR urges legislation to avert $129 million in potential FAA sanctions

CHICAGO (Dec. 8, 2017) — The Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) said today that the General Assembly must enact legislation to ensure compliance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations requiring that all revenue from State and local taxes on aviation fuel be spent on airports or airport systems.

The FAA’s spending restrictions apply to the 20-percent portion of the State sales tax — or 1.25 percentage points — that the State collects on aviation fuel sales and apportions to local governments, in addition to any local add-on sales taxes.

The General Assembly has been unable to agree on legislation that would either exempt aviation fuel from the affected taxes, or create a system to track tax revenue generated from aviation fuel sales for spending on airports.

Failure to comply could cost the state as much as $129 million in federal sanctions in 2018 alone, and make the state ineligible for more than $67 million in federal assistance block grants under the Airport Improvement Program (AIP).

Today marks the deadline for compliance, but State revenue officials hope Illinois can avoid sanctions if the legislature passes legislation to bring the State into compliance as soon as possible.

In the meantime, IDOR has created a new tax form specifically for aviation fuel sales so that the State can begin tracking this revenue.

IDOR estimates that the State’s taxes subject to the FAA’s spending restrictions produce $43 million in annual revenue.

Without legislative action to address the federal requirement, the FAA may impose sanctions amounting to three times the total amount of diverted revenue, i.e. aviation fuel sales tax revenue that is not spent on airports or airport systems.

If the General Assembly votes to exempt aviation fuel from taxes subject to the FAA spending restrictions, Illinois averts the risk of sanctions because there will be no tax revenue to divert.

If the legislature votes to continue collecting these taxes, then the FAA requires the revenue be spent exclusively on airports or airport systems.

The State has no mechanism to enforce how local governments spend State-administered, locally imposed tax revenue.

“The FAA issued this regulation in 2014 with today’s deadline for compliance,” said Hans Zigmund, director of economic policy for Gov. Bruce Rauner. “HB 1129 was introduced this year to address the issue and the framework of the bill is largely workable. The General Assembly should come together as soon as possible to finalize the details. It would be a violation of our public trust to risk spending taxpayer dollars on avoidable penalties.”

Illinois Leaks Calls on Law Enforcement to Investigate Delayed Sick Pay to Bob Miller of $47,000

Illinois Leaks continues putting a spotlight on former Algonquin Township Road Commissioner Bob Miller.

Algonquin Township – Conflict with Sick pay documents -Time for Law Enforcement to investigate!

McHenry Co. (ECWd) –A letter used to support a substantial departing payment to outgoing Highway Commissioner Robert Miller was dated February of 1997 and presented at the April 12th, 2017 meeting. (See the previous article on 1997 document here)Dates are significant.

When documents conflict it is only proper to raise the flag and demand answers.

In the case of Algonquin Township and the former Highway Commissioner’s claim of being owed for 263 sick days, a more recent document says otherwise!

What was reported to the Auditors of the Township as it relates to these accumulated unpaid absences?

According to Bookkeeper Judy Kreklow, the accumulated unpaid absences for the Road District Office was ZERO as of March 31, 2017.

So how is it that the bookkeeper creates a letter to the auditors informing them there are no liabilities regarding pay for the Road District as of March 31st, 2017 and then just 12 days later, Miller walks out with a check for accumulated sick days for $47,381.84, all based on a document dated from 20 years prior, of which there are two versions of them?

The reason this is significant is that this is a bookkeeper that is doing the books during the past administration, which minimizes claims of this being political.

The document we have obtained through an FOIA request is from the Algonquin Township and upon receipt, we confirmed the metadata regarding its creation and it reflects it was last modified May 4th, 2017, the same date on the letter.

Metadata points to a Judy Kreklow as the name of the person who made the last modification, however, we have no way of knowing if she actually created this document or someone using her computer.

We suggest law enforcement investigate what appears to be a fraud on the Township regarding claims of accumulated sick pay.

It is clear, the bookkeeper, prior to the change in personnel, informs the auditor there are no liabilities as it relates to accumulated unpaid absences for the Road District.

The Bookkeeper’s letter appears to be in direct conflict with Miller’s claim he is owed for 263 sick days worth $47,381.84. 

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= = = = =
The two documents to which Kirk Allen refers follow:

Rep. Steve Reick Tells of Christmas Activities

From State Rep. Steve Reick:

With the Christmas season in full swing, there are many opportunities for families to gather for fun at local events in and around the 63rd District. To help you navigate all that northern McHenry County has to offer, I have compiled a list of some events that will take place between now and the end of the year. And if you haven’t yet gotten your Christmas Tree and plan to visit a cut-your-own tree farm, I’ve also included a list of many places that offer a beautiful assortment of trees, wreaths and other holiday items.

Crystal Lake
Sing-Along Messiah with Voices in Harmony: Sunday, December 10 at 4:00 pm. Handel’s “Messiah” performed by Voices in Harmony. Raue Center For The Arts, 26 N. Williams Street, Crystal Lake.

Christmas Bedtime StoriesTuesday, December 12, from 6:00 to 7:00 pm and Friday, December 15 from 6:00 to 7:00 pm and 7:15 to 8:15 pm. Come join Mrs. Claus for an evening of activities, stories and treats! We’ll hear about the North Pole, sing songs and maybe even get a special visitor to stop by! Come dressed in your PJ’s and bring your favorite blanket and stuffed animal for a cozy night. Please register all siblings. Rotary Building, 431 N. Walkup, Crystal Lake.

The Nutcracker Ballet: Performances Saturday, December 16 at 1:00 pm and 5:00 pm and Sunday, December 17 at 1:00 pm. Audience members will hear Tchaikovsky’s unforgettable music, witness emotional dancing and view lavish costumes when the incredible Nutcracker Ballet returns to Raue Center’s stage. Raue Center For The Arts, 26 N. Williams Street, Crystal Lake.

Home for the Holidays: Performances December 22, 23, 29, 30 at 8:00 pm and December 23 at 3:00 pm. Bring the whole family and celebrate the holidays with Raue Center and WSRep with their fun, family-friendly and festive show. Reminisce with WSRep Ensemble members, the WSRep Comedy troupe and other local favorites in this homegrown holiday special. Raue Center For The Arts, 26 N. Williams Street, Crystal Lake.

A Rockin’ New Year’s Eve with Jimmy Nick and Don’t Tell MamaSunday, December 31 from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm. Join us as we welcome in the New Year with an amazing evening of Rock and Roll. Your musical host for the Evening is Jimmy Nick and he’ll be joined on stage by his band Don’t Tell Mama. Jimmy Nick combines his massive talent and stage theatrics with high-energy blues and rock and roll for one of the best live shows around. Raue Center For The Arts, 26 N. Williams Street, Crystal Lake.

Ringwood
Historic Holidays Open House: Saturday, December 16 Drop-in Noon–4:00 p.m. Experience holiday preparations from days of old. Step back in time to visit the 1854 restored Greek Revival, Powers-Walker House and watch volunteers in historical attire preparing for winter and the holidays in the mid-19th century. Glacial Park, Powers-Walker House, Rt. 31 & Harts Road, Ringwood.

Woodstock
Holiday Cookie Workshop: Saturday, December 16 from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. Holiday Time! Time to prepare the holiday cookies for giving and enjoying throughout the season. Loyola Univeristy Chicago Retreat and Ecology Campus, 2710 S. Country Club Road, Woodstock.

The Nutcracker Ballet: December 9 through December 17. Performances at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm. Come enjoy the magic of the holiday season as the Judith Svalander Dance Theatre transforms the Opera House stage into a realm of fantasy. Woodstock Opera House, 121 Van Buren Street, Woodstock.

McHenry County Made: Saturday, December 9 from 10 am to 7:00 pm. Shopping local this holiday season? This is the area’s premiere holiday fair celebrating handcraft, food, beverages and art made here, from the ground up, by hand and from the heart. Mixin Mingle, Cass Street on the Historic Woodstock Square.

Hooved Animal Humane Society Holiday Party and Craft FairSaturday, December 9 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. The Hooved Animal Humane Society is hosting their annual Holiday Party and Craft fair. Admission is free! Hooved Animal Human Society, 10804 McConnell Road, Woodstock.

Spring Grove
New Year’s Eve PartySunday, December 31 from 8 pm to 1:00 am. Are you looking to countdown the New Year in style? Ring in 2018 at The Shores of Turtle Creek, and dance the night away. The Shores of Turtle Creek, 7908 Winn Road, Spring Grove.

Christmas Tree Farms in McHenry County
Share the magic of cutting your own tree. Did you know McHenry Countyharvests more fresh Christmas trees than anywhere else in the state? Most locations open the day after Thanksgiving and are open through Christmas Eve. All provide saws and offer assistance if needed. Some locations also have pre-cut trees. They’ll shake and bale your tree and help you secure it to your car for the ride home. Time to plan your trip to a McHenry County tree farm!

  • Ben’s Christmas Tree Farm – Nine varieties of organically-grown, pesticide-free trees from 6-15 feet: Fir, spruce and pine. Handmade wreaths and garlands, available at the farm, may also be ordered online for delivery anywhere in the continental United States. Horse-drawn wagon rides, gift shop, Santa Claus, farm animals, free cocoa and coffee.
  • Bill’s Friendly Evergreen Tree Farm – Six varieties of pine, spruce and fir. Family owned and operated for 20 years, this farm offers a backwoods feel where Christmas trees and customer service are the main focus.
  • Cal & Shan’s Christmas Tree Farm, – 10 varieties of spruce, fir and pine and rooted live trees for planting after Christmas. Gift shop.
  • Conifera Christmas Tree Farm – Four varieties of large choose-and-cut spruce and pre-cut premium grade Fraser and Balsam Fir, as well as live potted trees, wreaths and garland.
  • Grandpa’s Christmas Tree Farm –Dozens of varieties of trees in every shape and size. Open the FridaySunday after Thanksgiving only. Free cocoa and coffee, and tractor-drawn wagon rides.
  • Holly Jolly Tree Farm – U-cut Scotch pine, plus pre-cut Frasier fir. Petting zoo, wagon rides, gift shop and free cocoa. Contact: 815.385.9627.
  • M & M Christmas Tree Farm – You choose and cut or you choose and they cut from seven varieties of spruce, fir and pine trees. Contact: 847.275.8720.
  • Moehling Christmas Tree Farm – Choose from 8,000 spruce, fir and pine trees. Visit Santa’s workshop and craft vendors selling homemade gifts in the warming barn.
  • Oney’s Tree Farm – The oldest and largest tree farm in Northern Illinois, with more more than 60,000 trees on 60 acres. U-cut, pre-cut or rooted-for-later-planting in nine varieties of fir, pine and spruce. Weekend horse-drawn wagon rides, bakery, lunch, cocoa, Mrs. Claus in her North Pole house, wreaths, garlands, decorations and gifts.
  • Pine-Apple Tree Farm – Ten acres of you-cut spruce, pine and fir, plus pre-cut Wisconsin Frazier Fir.
  • Pioneer Tree Farm – Organically-grown pine, juniper, spruce and fir. Tractor-drawn wagon rides, free cocoa and coffee in the warming house and handmade decorations.
  • Richardson’s Tree Farm – More than 50,000 trees with seven varieties of spruce, pine and fir on 75 acres. Fresh donuts and kettle corn, free cocoa and coffee in the heated barn with indoor restrooms, wreaths, garlands and decorations. Tractor-drawn wagon rides on weekends.
  • Triple K Pines – You choose and cut from five varieties of spruce and pine. Also Christmas wreaths, garlands, holiday decorations, free hot cider, gift shop.

I hope you are able to enjoy time with family, friends and loved ones during this blessed time of year. It is an honor to serve as your State Representative, and I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas!

An Illinois Leaks Revelation about Previous Algonquin Township Road Commissioner Bob Miller’s Sick Time

The following is reprinted with permission from Illinois Leaks:

Algonquin Township – Why are two documents that are supposed to be the same, not?

McHenry Co. (ECWd) –To get a real feel for what this article is exposing, it is going to require a printer and the printing of the two documents found here.We posted them below but it is not as clear to see the problems as it will be if they are printed and you use the old school investigative research tool of placing one over the other and then hold them up to the light.

The differences are telling!

We will list the distinct differences in those two documents below that we found.

Let us know in the comments if you find something we missed!

We will call this one, Interactive Media!

We understand that one appears to be tilted but that is probably from whoever scanned the document.

Focus on lining up words, not the paper, and identify the differences.

  • When you overlap the word “Algonquin”, note that the end letters of the word DO NOT overlap the last letters.  Shift it to line up the last letter and you see the “A” no longer lines up.
  • When you overlap the word Township, note that the end letters of the word DO NOT overlap the last letters.  Shift it to line up the last letter and you see the “T” no longer lines up. 
  • Line up the word “Memorandum”. Just as outlined above, the same problem. When the first letter is aligned, ending letters are slightly off.  Line up the last letters and sure enough, the first letter is no longer aligned. 
  • Overlap the address by perfectly overlapping the “3702” number and note how the rest of the address is slightly off and does not align.  
  • Overlap the right-hand list of public officials.  Similar discrepancies.  
  • Overlap the Date, To, From, and Subject lines………similar discrepancies!  Things don’t line up! 
  • Overlap the two paragraphs, same issue, things don’t line up. 

And now for the best part of it all, note the signature.

The memorandum claims it was “From” Tom Schober.

We have been told that Mr. Schober is no longer alive so there is no way to confirm he signed this short of a forensic handwriting expert.

All that aside, note the location of the signature in relation to the last paragraph.

You don’t have to be an expert to see they are not the same.

And about now, someone is saying they just printed two copies and he signed it at a different spot on the paper.

Now that sounds good but if it was two pages printed why does the printing not line up when you overlap the words?

Why does any of this matter?

It appears this particular document is what was used by Robert Miller, the past Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner, to obtain a cash payout of claimed sick days.

As we understand it, that payout was for $47,381.84.

Our question is simple:  Is this document a forged document that was created to support a payout that may not have been legal?

We say “may not have been legal” because elected officials only get compensated based on the compensation setting resolution and we have yet to have our FOIA request fulfilled for that resolution and we have reason to believe, no sick days are part of an elected officials compensation.

We also understand there has been an insinuation or claim made that these sick days were accumulated from when Miller was an employee.

Anyone want to take any bets on whether or not we can prove it was not accumulated during that time?

The letter indicates an audit was taken of Miller’s past employment.

We have filed an FOIA request for a copy of that audit.

It will be interesting to see what that audit says, if it even exists, compared to other records.

For those not familiar with what it means to make a false document or alter any documents and use it to obtain benefits, look no further than our Illinois State Statute on Forgery.

(720 ILCS 5/17-3) (from Ch. 38, par. 17-3)
Sec. 17-3. Forgery.
(a) A person commits forgery when, with intent to defraud, he or she knowingly:
(1) makes a false document or alters any document to make it false and that document is apparently capable of defrauding another; or
(2) issues or delivers such document knowing it to have been thus made or altered; or
(3) possesses, with intent to issue or deliver, any such document knowing it to have been thus made or altered; or
(4) unlawfully uses the digital signature, as defined in the Financial Institutions Electronic Documents and Digital Signature Act, of another; or
(5) unlawfully uses the signature device of another to create an electronic signature of that other person, as those terms are defined in the Electronic Commerce Security Act.
(b) (Blank).
(c) A document apparently capable of defrauding another includes, but is not limited to, one by which any right, obligation or power with reference to any person or property may be created, transferred, altered or terminated. A document includes any record or electronic record as those terms are defined in the Electronic Commerce Security Act. For purposes of this Section, a document also includes a Universal Price Code Label or coin.
(c-5) For purposes of this Section, “false document” or “document that is false” includes, but is not limited to, a document whose contents are false in some material way, or that purports to have been made by another or at another time, or with different provisions, or by authority of one who did not give such authority.
(d) Sentence.
(1) Except as provided in paragraphs (2) and (3), forgery is a Class 3 felony.
(2) Forgery is a Class 4 felony when only one Universal Price Code Label is forged.
(3) Forgery is a Class A misdemeanor when an academic degree or coin is forged.
(e) It is not a violation of this Section if a false academic degree explicitly states “for novelty purposes only”.

Update to follow when our FOIA requests are complied with.

[Here are the two versions published in Illinois Leaks:

= = = = =
Compare the two versions on Illinois Leaks here.

Donations may be made to Illinois Leaks:

Attorney Robert Hanlon Reveals He Bills Algonquin Township Only for Local 150 Union Case

Robert Hanlon, attorney for Algonquin Township Road Commissioner Andrew Gasser, has written a letter to Gasser explaining that he has not billed for work in the case of Gasser v. Lukasik, Miller and Miller.

He is billing for the challenge to the Operating Engineers’ and former Algonquin Township Road Commissiener Bob Miller’s have signed a contract that runs from just before the term of Gasser began to just after it ends.

Letter revealing pro bono nature of his representation of Andrew Gasser in records suit.

The end of the letter says, “Please remit Payment in the amount of $0.00 for the matter of Gasser v. Lukasik.”

Illinois Leaks Focuses on Bob Miller’s Selling Township Trucks Right Before Leaving Office Without Electors’ Approval

Another finding from Illinois Leaks about the Algonquin Township Road District:

Algonquin Township – The simplest of laws all ignored

McHenry Co. (ECWd) –In an effort to keep things as simple as possible to minimize claims the former Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner did nothing wrong, we ask a simple question:

Bob Miller defending township government.

How can a Highway Commissioner sell Township property?

The short answer, in compliance with the law.

In the case of Robert Miller’s sale of Township Trucks prior to leaving office, all indications are the law was not followed.

[See these McHenry County Blog articles:

Bob Miller Selling Off Pickup Trucks Before Leaving Office

and

Algonquin Township Road District’s Two Pickups and a Trailer Bring $68,833 in Bids“]

605 ILCS 5/6-201.17 – …..In single township road districts, sale of road district property including, but not limited to, machinery and equipment shall be subject to elector approval as provided in Section 30-50 of the Township Code.

So for starters, the Highway Code that Miller was bound by outlines the sale of district property “shall be subject to elector approval” as provided in Section 30-50 of the Town Code.

That section points to two types of property, real and personal.

Real property is commonly known as real estate, such as land, buildings etc.

Personal property is understood to be things such as pickup trucks, machinery etc.

(a) The electors may make all orders for the purchase, sale, conveyance, regulation, or use of the township’s corporate property (including the direct sale or lease of single township road district property)…..”

The annual meeting agenda from 2017 does not reflect any agenda item for the Electors to approve the sale of any equipment.

Section 30-50 goes on to provide other options for the sale of equipment.

Anytime during the year, the township or township road district may lease or sell personal property by a vote of the township board or request of the township highway commissioner.

The minutes from a year prior to the sale make no mention of the Township Highway Commissioner requesting the sale of property, nor do they contain any vote of the Township Board.

Near the bottom of section 30-50, it provides the power for the highway commissioner to authorize the sale of personal property, which would be things like pick-up trucks.  How are they to be sold?

By public auction!

“The township board or the highway commissioner may authorize the sale of personal property by public auction conducted by an auctioneer licensed under the Auction License Act or through an approved Internet auction service.”

There was no public auction of the property!

At this point in the reading, Miller supporters are going to brag about the fact those trucks were put out for bid.

Yes, they were put out for bid.

Let’s point out the violations of that process as well and never mind the fact that is not how they were to be sold by law.

Publication requirements:

“The following information shall be published or posted with the resolution or personal property sale notice:

(i) the date by which all bids must be received by the township or road district, which shall not be less than 30 days after the date of publication or posting, and

(ii) the place, time, and date at which bids shall be opened, which shall be at a regular meeting of the township board.”

According to the records found here and here, the bid publication date versus the bid received deadline was less than 30 days which is a violation of the law.

In addition, the bids were not opened at a regular meeting of the township board, another violation of the law.

The publication was March 27th, 2017 with bid opening on April 21, 2017, which clearly is less than 30 days, thus a violation of the law.

An ad from the Alqonqquin Township Highway Commissioner for the sale of three pieces of equipment.

Who determines the winning bid when things are put out for bid, which was an option had the procedures been followed outlined in the law?

According to the bid publication, it states:

“The Commissioner reserves the right to reject any or all bids and to waive technicalities”

What does the law say? 

“With respect to township personal property, the township board may accept the high bid or any other bid determined to be in the best interests of the township by a majority vote of the board.”

Not that it is going to matter much at this point, we also find that Shaw Media cited a statute regarding publication that is not even a state law.

There is no 5 ILCS 5/2.1 in our Illinois Compiled Statutes so how is it that the publication was posted, as they claim, in accordance with a law that does not exist?

In light of all the violations of law exposed just with the sale of two trucks we can only imagine how many other violations of law will be found.

Rest assured we have several more articles to go as this truck sale has grown legs.

Considering Miller was the past President of Township Officials of Illinois we are now starting to understand a little more as it relates to all the problems we see statewide with how Townships do business.

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