Algonquin’s Hot Road Commissioner Race Mailings

Long-time incumbent Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner Bob Miller is being challenged by McHenry County Board member Andrew Gasser in Tuesday’s Republican Primary Election.

Mailings can be seen below (if I have missed any, please send them to me):

This post card from Gasser contains his record.

Miller had an introduction post card, too.


Gasser followed up with a post card containing a graphic emphasizing the cost of having four members of the Miller family on the Algonquin Township Road District payroll.
Miller countered with endorsements from former State Rep. Mike Tryon and Sheriff Bill Prim.
Arriving Friday was an envelope from Gasser containing two letters and a palm card.
The first letter addresses Gasser’s candidacy for Algonquin Township Road Commissioner.
The second letter (on the back of the first) contains Gasser’s endorsements for other township offices.

Enclosed was a palm card that his volunteers are distributing.

Target Practice, Then Car Demolition at Algonquin Township Road District Property

Andrew Gasser, challenger to incumbent Bob Miller, has posted an eight minute video on his web site of men shooting at a car in front of a pile of gravel and, then, destroying it with what appears to be a township vehicle.

“Who said, ‘Don’t hit the fuel tank?'” one man asked.

Man getting closer to shoot at the car on Algonquin Township property.

Man walking toward the camera.

The eight minute video can be seen below:

“The Highway Department at work,” one man says.

“When nobody’s looking, let’s go throw it on Route 14,” one man can be heard saying.

Reick Outlines Goals for Legislature

A press release from State Rep. Steve Reick:

Rep. Steven Reick Urges House Colleagues to Legislate Without Fear of Losing the Next Election

SPRINGFIELD….. State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) addressed his Springfield colleagues on Thursday and urged them all to start legislating without fear of losing their next election.

Reick, a freshman lawmaker from McHenry County, said he was disappointed by some of the conduct shown on the floor of the House during the first several weeks of the spring session.

He pointed to an instance two weeks ago when an hour was spent railing against the new President’s federal immigration policy, an issue over which Illinois legislators have no authority, and another occasion where the Governor was disrespected by some on the Democrat side of the aisle as he entered the House Chamber to present his budget address.

“That display by a few reflected upon us all, and did nothing but reinforce our reputation as an unserious body which is allowing our state to slouch toward insolvency,” said Reick.

Reick explained that while the 118 House members represent very diverse constituencies, all were sent to Springfield to do three fundamental things:

  1. find a way to fund education so that all children have the best opportunities for success in a manner that relieves the property tax burden
  2. enact constitutionally-sound pension reform and
  3. approve a balanced budget.

“There are 118 of us in this chamber, and if enough of us choose to legislate without the fear of losing the next election, we can make those things happen,” Reick said.

“That is what I choose to do and if you’ll do the same, let’s get started.”

You may watch his floor comments here:

Slots in Lakewood – Part 1

While I was on vacation, the Lakewood Village Board was faced with the question of whether to allow slot machines.

Trustee Paul Serwatka sent our three emails that seem worth sharing, even though they are of mailing historic interest now.

The first one, sent on February 10th, alerted constituents of the issue:

Paul Serwatka

I wanted to give everyone a “heads-up” to an Agenda Item, that I expect will be of particular interest to many residents, which may be voted upon at our village board meeting, next Tuesday, February 14th 7:00pm at Turnberry Country Club.

In November, the board discussed a request from the owners of Turnberry Country Club to consider granting them a video-gaming license. Granting this license would require changing current ordinances which prohibit video gaming within the village.

While granting this license would provide an additional source of revenue for Turnberry Country Club, as well as an additional potential source of revenue for our village, it would also be cause for several obvious concerns as well.

The consensus of our November discussion, as I remember it, was that staff would gather information from surrounding municipalities who allow gaming (such as Lake In The Hills) and the board would then, at a future date, discuss; the provisions of their ordinances, the positives and negatives from their perspectives, any lessons they may have learned, etc..

From there, we would decide on if, and how, we wanted to proceed.

This evening (Friday, Feb 10), I received my board packet for Tuesday’s meeting and on this agenda is an ordinance, already drafted, to permit gaming within the village of Lakewood.

While this ordinance will be discussed, it is on the agenda as such that it is able to be voted on, and put into effect, as well. A copy of this memo and ordinance can be found on page 122 of the board packet at the link below.

If you have any strong feelings on this issue, you may want to attend Tuesday’s meeting to voice them. If you are not able to attend, you can simply reply to this notice and I will be sure your voice is heard.

February 14, 2017 Board Packet (See Page 122)

Your thoughts, questions and concerns are always valued and always welcome.

Discussion of Franks Interfering with Committee Agenda Setting

A Friend of McHenry County Blog listened to the Internal Support and Facilities Committee meeting’s discussion about the trouble that County Board committee chairmen have had putting items on agendas.

A transcript of part of the meeting is below:

INTERNAL SUPPORT AND FACILITIES COMMITTEE MEETING. 2/8/17

http://mchenrycountyil.iqm2.com/Citizens/SplitView.aspx?Mode=Video&MeetingID=4450&Format=Agenda

At 2.23.39

Yvonne Barnes

CHAIRMAN BARNES: …the Temporary Rules Committee (formed by Chairman Franks and consisting of Board Members hand picked by him) met and initially established and sent the County Board Rules to this committee (Internal Support and Facilities) for discussion and update and we have been working to get that on the agenda. As all of the County Board Members are aware there is a new States’ Attorney Opinion that has been received by all of us, and by Mr. Franks and by Mr. Austin, clarifying the role of our committee and our ability to do work, put items on our agenda, and have discussions…

MEMBER WALKUP : …… I would like to inquire of the Administrator, if he intends to abide by the Opinion of our States’Attorney with regard to allowing this committee and other committees to set their own agendas and to post those agendas so that those matters can be considered in conformance with the Open Meetings Act. For the Record, are you going to be allowing this committee to decide it’s own agendas pursuant to the States’ Attorney’s Opinion?

MR. AUSTIN: ….. .(discussion about placing items on today’s agenda) In response to your question Mike, the request was made (for the SA’s Opinion and we will follow it.

MR. WALKUP: And so this committee is going to be able to set it’s own agenda and it’s going to be posted in the future?

MR. AUSTIN: I’m going to continue to consult with all the resources and all the policies that I have and am going to continue to walk this incredibly difficult line that I’m being put in.

MR. WALKUP: There is no line. The State’s Attorney has given us an Opinion, so that’s the side of the line that you are on. OK? So what I would like to know is are you going to follow the State’s Attorney’s Opinion, yes or no?

MR. AUSTIN: I am going to continue to look at each case as….

MR. WALKUP: There’s no “each case”.

Peter Austin

MR. AUSTIN: …. I am going to continue to look at each case, as I have to.

MR. WALKUP : There’s no each case, this is a blanket rule.

MR. AUSTIN: It doesn’t apply necessarily uniformly everywhere.

MR. WALKUP: Yes it does. It applies to all of the standing committees. Now if we have special committees and crazy committees and silly committees that get set up that’s maybe different but insofar as standing committees go this is a clear, bright line rule.

MR. AUSTIN: First, what are committees’ responsibilities? I am going to continue to consult the State’s Attorney’s Opinion and everyone else in terms of how we thread that.

MR. WALKUP: We have a State’s Attorney’s Opinion. So that’s done.

MR. AUSTIN: And I acknowledge that, and I have lived up to that Opinion this time around.

MR. WALKUP: “This time around”?

MR. AUSTIN: If you decide to put on Route 23 and I 90 I would again have to look at Board Rules, where do these issues lie? That’s all I’m saying. I can’t give you all or one answer. I’m going to continue to look at each one.

Mike Walkup

MR. WALKUP: Well, we need to know that we are going to be able to pursue our own agendas on our own committees . We can’t have a maybe, who knows, depends on what the weather is each day.

MR. AUSTIN: I appreciate that you want to take me into a clear box and I’m not going to do that. I am going to continue to look at all of the professional resources and all of the legal opinions that we have.

Mr. WALKUP: We have a legal opinion. The legal opinion that we have is a generic opinion having to do with the ability of standing committees to set their agendas and it is not subject to change based on the individual circumstances.

MR. AUSTIN: I think you state it well when you say ‘generic’. It doesn’t apply necessarily to every
situation . What if you want to talk about Route 23 and I 90? I do have some discretion to work with…

MR.WALKUP: What you are saying is if this committee wants to talk about something that is not within it’s jurisdiction, is that what you are saying?

MR. AUSTIN: It’s my responsibility to decide where things go.

MR. WALKUP: Assuming that it is within the jurisdiction of this committee and the committee wants to discuss it, the committee determines it’s own jurisdiction…

MR. AUSTIN: This is not black and white and I appreciate that you are trying to make it black and white. Please, I want nothing more than for it to be black and white . I want nothing more.

MR. WALKUP: Okay, so getting down now to this situation, are you saying that you are going to make a determination that this committee doesn’t decide Rules of the Board and that therefore if this committee decides it wants to discuss Rules of the Board that you won’t put it on?

Mr. AUSTIN: I’m not ready. I’m trying. I’m trying.

MR. WALKUP: We need to know right now, today, if we are going to be able to consider Rules of the Board.

MR. AUSTIN: (unintelligible).

CHAIRMAN BARNES; (Interrupts and closes the discussion).

Bribers Can Do Business in Chicago, But Not with Illinois State Government

From the Chicago Tribune Thursday morning summary:

Emanuel administration clears bribe-paying red-light camera vendor to bid on city contracts once again.

Chicago is open for business for businesses who have bribed city officials.

That is so different from what Illinois state government’s rules.

Back in the 1970’s when legislators were being charged with accepting bribes from a lobbyist of Material Service, the gravel and concrete company with huge holdings in McHenry County, a Chicago Democrat named Ron Stearney introduced a bill that would prohibit companies from doing business with state government if it or its employees had been convicted of bribing a state employee.

I asked him what he was trying to do and, after learning of the Material Service angle, I pointed out that neither the company nor any of its employees had been convicted of that crime.

They company, however, had admitted to the behavior in a deal engineered by former U.S. Attorney Jim Thompson which gave the company corporate immunity. (At the time I heard that was the first time in U.S. history that a firm had received corporate immunity.)

We changed the bill to include admission of bribery under oath and it sailed out of the House and Senate.

A license plate manufacturer from Arkansas, as I remember the case, sued, but the Illinois Supreme Court upheld the law.

In effect, state law says, “We give you one chance. If you bribe or try to bribe a state officials, you’ll not get a second chance.”

Imagine my surprise when I saw Material Service trucks delivering concrete along the Tri-State Tollway in 1982.

Upon investigation, I found that Attorney General Bill Scott had issued an opinion that incorporated the concept of “material man” to justify allowing Material Service to continue doing business with the state.

Other road building companies just reorganized to continue their state contracts.

But on the last state contract I saw there was a line saying that the signed had not bribed or admitted bribing state officials.

In Chicago, the epicenter of Illinois corruption, however, if you’ve bribed a city official, no problem.

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The comments under the Tribune story are hilarious.

Free Food at CL’s Bethany Lutheran Church Friday Morning

Due to the Nunda Township Republican Primary Election next Tuesday, the First United Methodist Church’s food distribution Friday morning will be at the Bethany Lutheran Church, instead of the Nunda Township Hall.

How to find the Bethany Lutheran Church in Crystal Lake.

The Bethany Lutheran Church is located at the corner of West Crystal Lake Avenue and McHenry Avenue.

Because of the change in location, there will be much more food than people that need it, so if you know friends who could use food, including meat, please tell them of this opportunity.

Food is supplied by Jewel stores in Crystal Lake and Woodstock, plus the Northern Illinois Food Bank.

Mark Shepherd Endorses Mark Morgan for Hebron Village President

The Hebron Village Board. From left to right, Fred Canfield, Andrew Georgi, Mark Morgan, Steve Vole, Clerk Rose Smith-Miller, John Jacobson, Susan Ritzert and Mark Shepherd.

From Hebron Village Trustee Mark Shepherd:

“I officially withdrew from the Village of Hebron President race back in January.

“I felt I did  not have enough time to do the job right, right now.

“I have decided to endorse Mark Mogan.

“He has been on the Village board for 10 years,

“A police officer for the Lake in the Hills for 23 years, a hard working family man that has done a great job as trustee for the Village.”

<Melissa Fischer for Algonquin Township Clerk

Franks County Board Liaison Picks Include Non-County Board Members

Former County Board member Ersel Schuster shares her opinion on the consistency show by County Board members in following its rules.

County Board Picks & Chooses Rules They’ll Apply

For those of you who took the time to attended or listened to the 2/21/17 McHenry County Board Meeting, I commend.

Whether you support what is occurring at the county; or if you are horrified over the actions of your county chair and board members; your County Board members are caving like an avalanche.

They, our county board members were elected to be independent thinkers, not sheep.

They are allowing themselves to be used for another’s personal agenda and gain as they allow their responsibilities and rights to be undermined.

For decades of having observed, as well as having served on this county board, the issue of Board members who were slackers’ and/or sheep is well known.

And, mind you, it is not unique to McHenry County but it does underline why half the country is so upset with their public officials.

In defining the “slackers’ and/or sheep” statement, I refer to those members who simply did not bother doing the homework.

They vote as “someone” suggest they vote, but more often than not, it is easier and nicer to be on the “winning” side.

They become “suck-ups” and vulnerable to a power base.

To this particular 2/21/17 meeting, while there are several issues that could/should be addressed, for purposes of this article, the issue of County Board Rules will again be the target.

It is simply one more aggravating example of board members clearly not understanding the purpose of their position and are willing to shame themselves by flip-flopping when they should be standing strong on our behalf.

Agenda item: 14.2 Resolution Recommending Appointment to Liaison Members and Related Committee is a clear example of this.

Section 2 Appointments:

2.1 County Board Member Liaison Positions

“County Board Member liaison positions shall be recommended for appointment by the Chairman within 60 days of the organizational meeting.

“The County Board Chairman may remove a County Board member from an appointed liaison position and name a replacement subject to approval of a majority of all County Board members.”

This certainly appears crystal clear.

Here are the appointments proposed by County Board Jack Franks in a searchable format:

  • ACE – Michele Aavang
  • Board of Health – Mary McCann
  • CMAP – Carolyn Schofield
  • EMA Coordinating Council – Steve Reick
  • Local Emergency Planning – Steve Reick
  • Ethics Commission – Michele Aavang
  • Fox Waterway – Joseph Remke
  • Gravel Advisory – Bob Paddock
  • Housing Authority – Sue Miller
  • McHenry County Conservation District – Robert Nowak
  • MCEDC- Michael Skala
  • Mental Health (708) – Paula Yensen
  • Northwest Water Planning Alliance – Larry Smith
  • Veterans Assistance – Tom Wilbeck
  • Valley Hi Cemetery Board – Jim Heisler
  • Valley Hi Operating Board – Chris Christensen
  • Valley Hi Operating Board – Craig Wilcox
  • Visit McHenry County – John Jung
  • Workforce Network Board – Kay Bates
  • Community Development & Housing Grant Youth Council – Kay Bates
  • Youth Council – Larry Smith
  • Stormwater Management Commission – James Kearns, Donald Kopsell,  Yvonne Barnes, Jeffrey Thorsen, John Hammerand,  Michael Rein
  •  Senior Services Grant Commission (SSGC)  – Paula Yensen (Chair)

Mike Walkup

Member Mike Walkup called this Rule to the board’s attention stating that…

“it was implicit in the Rules that these liaison appointments would be filled with county board members.”

As discussion gathered momentum, your chairman, as has become normal practice; interrupted the speaker to lobby, argue, spin, and to twist Rule, Section 2.2.1, for his desired outcome.

Jack Franks

While speaking to the issue, Walkup again raised the chairman’s ire to the point he was cut off and loudly dressed down.

Chairman Jack Franks, among other things, stated,

 “…and this from the man who ran against me?”

From all indications, politics was not the issue at hand… but the chair obviously felt it necessary to ridicule his political rival!

That outburst did generate an, after the fact, apology.

Following that altercation, member Donna Kurtz properly amended the resolution to eliminate the problem by removing the “non-county board member” appointments.

That motion failed 9 to 15.

After more discussion, the final vote on the resolution was 23 to 1 to approve all recommended appointments.

Those external committees under discussion for appointments are made up of non-elected officials, all of whom are County Board appointments.

Since actions of these committees are of importance to us as taxpayers; it only makes sense that those we elect to office should have a seat at the table and is consistent with the Rule.

It provides the connection and accountability between government and those agencies.

It is strange how those very folks, our legislator, who write rules and laws that you and I must adhere to, are the same people who believe it is their right to pick and choose which rules they will use and which they will ignore.

Negative Sign in Nunda Township Road Commissioner’s Contest

Rarely does not see a sign attacking a candidate.

Don’t know who paid for the one you see below, but the person definitely does not want Iron Mike Lesperance re-elected Nunda Township Road Commissioner.

A sign opposing the re-election of Iron Mike Lesperance. He is opposed by Erik Dowd.


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If you see new or interesting campaign signs, please send McHenry County Blog a photo.

State Workers Vote to Strike

A press release from Governor Bruce Rauner:

Statement on AFSCME’s Strike Authorization Vote

SPRINGFIELD – The Rauner Administration released the following statement in response to AFSCME’s strike authorization vote.

The following is attributable to General Counsel Dennis Murashko:

The vote to authorize a strike is an attack on our state’s hardworking taxpayers and all those who rely on critical services provided everyday. It is a direct result of AFSCME leadership’s ongoing misinformation campaign about our proposal.

AFSCME leaders would rather strike than work 40 hours a week before earning overtime. They want to earn overtime after working just 37.5 hours per week.

AFSCME Union Steward Carlos Acosta spoke to the Woodstock Square rally.

AFSCME leaders would rather strike than allow volunteers like Boy Scout troops to lend a helping hand inside government. They want to ban the use of volunteers.

AFSCME leaders would rather strike than allow state employees to be paid based on merit. They want to stick to paying people based on seniority, regardless of whether they’re doing a good job.

And while hard working families across the state face skyrocketing health insurance premiums, AFSCME leaders want to strike to force higher taxes to subsidize their health care plans that are far more generous than taxpayers have.

Put simply, AFSCME leaders will do or say anything to avoid implementing a contract that is fair to both taxpayers and state employees alike.

If AFSCME chooses to strike, we will use every resource to ensure services continue to be available to the people of Illinois. We continue to encourage AFSCME to work with us in implementing a contract that is similar to those ratified by 20 other unions.

 

Algonquin Township Road Commissioner Candidates Receiving Big Contributions

The hottest race in the Algonquin Township Republican Primary is that for Algonquin Township Road Commissioner.

Bob Miller

Andrew Gasser

McHenry County Blog has previously published campaign disclosure data.  It showed incumbent Road Commissioner Bob Miller with way more money than challenger McHenry County Board member Andrew Gasser.

Miller had almost $49,000 starting out 2017, while Gasser had $5,600.

Since January 1st, contributions of $1,000 or more to Miller have come from

Contributions to Gasser that are $1,000 or more follow:

  • $4,125 – Doggone Clean Lawn, Crystal Lake
  • $4,000 – DemetriosTsilimingras, Cary
  • $3,000 – Citizens for Lou Bianchi
  • $2,000 – Peter Kunz, Fox River Grove
  • $1,000 – Steven Willson, Lakewood
  • $1,000 – Robert Hanlon, Woodstock
  • $1,000 – Loretta Rosenmayer, Lake in the Hills
  • $500 – Illinois Tea Party, Inc., Lisle

Rep. Peter Breen’s Budget Suggestions

State Rep. Peter Breen’s take on the budget standoff:

“High Stakes Poker”

Last week brought the governor’s annual budget address.

As well, the Illinois Senate continued negotiating its “grand compromise,” which would tie together spending, reforms, and revenue into one package.

Peter Breen

Every day at the Capitol, new rumors spread about the contours of possible solutions to the state budget crisis.

Folks are glad that the senators are talking and trying to work together, but the word on the House floor is that Speaker Mike Madigan has made it clear that, no matter what the Senate does, any agreement is dead-on-arrival in Madigan’s House.

You see, the big fight is still Governor Bruce Rauner vs. House Speaker Michael Madigan, and the belief in the Madigan camp is that any budget compromise will be seen as a “win” for the governor.

On the policy level, Rauner has said he won’t agree to tax increases without major government and business reforms, while Madigan has made it clear he wants tax and spending increases with no preconditions.

The other complicating factor is that the roughly 80 court orders and consent decrees keeping the state government operating are forcing us to spend billions of dollars more than we take in.

That overspending is adding to the pile of unpaid bills being racked up every month.

And just a few weeks ago, Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a motion to reverse and eliminate the court order continuing wage payments to Illinois government workers.

State workers have been paid under that court order for over a year and a half, but Attorney General Madigan stated she filed the motion just now to give the budget negotiations some “momentum.” The circuit court denied her effort, but she has indicated that she will pursue the matter on appeal.

Now, one could applaud an action like this as “fiscally responsible,” and one would also typically believe in the purity of the motives of a state’s chief legal officer.

The problem is, instead of filing this motion in each of the 80 courtrooms where these various court orders and consent decrees are pending—whether to end the orders or at least reduce the required payments to an affordable level—Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed in just 1 courtroom, leaving the other 79 orders and consent decrees in place. It doesn’t make sense as a financial or legal matter.

I’ve not seen any other media sources opine on this issue, but the reasoning seems simple enough to me: most state workers live in downstate districts, now represented by Republicans.

Lisa Madigan’s actions make perfect political sense in that they increase pressure solely on Republican legislators, in hopes of weakening Governor Rauner’s ability to obtain reforms, while strengthening the ability of her father, Mike Madigan, to force tax and spending increases.

This is a high-stakes game of poker.

The Madigan family has millions of dollars in campaign contributions at stake, from special interests and their lobbyists.

Every one of those taxes, fees, and spending items being pushed by Mike Madigan has lobbyists dedicated to increasing them.

However, for Illinois taxpayers trying to eke out a living—and small businesses struggling to survive and grow—their elected members of the General Assembly are often the only defense to hold taxes and spending in line.

From my end, I’m advocating for two key items.

  • First, we should immediately pay off our $11 billion in unpaid bills. By law, we’re forced to pay 12% interest on those bills—that means we’re flushing roughly $500 million down the toilet in short-term interest every year. There are plenty of ways to generate the necessary funds to pay down those bills, from issuing bonds to selling state assets.
  • Second, we should immediately approve spending at the level of the amount of money we have coming in, so that we stop all, or almost all, of the court orders and consent decrees which are causing our pile of bills to grow. Based on our best estimates, we are bringing in roughly $33 billion per year. By at least approving spending at that level, we can ensure that our social service providers and community colleges get immediate payment, of at least most of the funds they need, instead of continuing to suffer massive cuts and lengthy payment delays.

With a spending backstop in place, the legislature and governor could then take the time they need, from now to the end of May, to negotiate a full package of appropriate reforms, spending reductions, and revenues to move our state government and economy forward for the longer term.

And, we will avoid the kind of gotcha games that are going on now, where state workers or other disfavored groups or programs get targeted in court, while unpaid bills pile up and residents and businesses are harmed even more deeply.

Oakwood Hills Downloading Child Porn Arrest

A press release from the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office:

Oakwood Hills Man Arrested for Child Pornography

Robert Rade

Robert T. Rado III, 50, formerly of McHenry County, was arrested Sunday after a warrant for his arrest was obtained for ten counts of Child Pornography.

In 2015, members of the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office became aware that an individual was downloading child pornography from 5810 Greenview Rd., Oakwood Hills, Illinois.

An investigation began and a search warrant was executed at that residence, which produced information that led to Robert being a suspect.

Electronics were seized during the course of that search warrant and child pornography was found on Rado’s computer.

Rado was interviewed after his computers were forensically examined.

Rado implicated himself by stating that he downloaded numerous files containing child pornography.

A warrant was obtained for Rado’s arrest in which bond was set at $50,000.

On Sunday, Rado was subsequently arrested at an apartment complex in Rochelle, Illinois.

Rado was taken into custody and is currently housed at the McHenry County Correctional Facility.

EB-5 “Buy a Visa” Fraud Gets Three Years

This press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office might be of interest because the Village of Lakewood is part of the Woodstock EB-5 district. A Tax Increment Financing District was also used to promote the fake project. Lakewood has a real TIF District covering the area where a SportsPlex was pitched.

Hotel Developer Sentenced to Three Years in Prison for Exploiting U.S. Visa Program

CHICAGO — A Chicago hotel developer was sentenced today to three years in prison for exploiting a federal visa program to fraudulently raise capital from Chinese nationals who were seeking residency in the United States.

ANSHOO SETHI, the founder of A Chicago Convention Center LLC, purported in 2011 to build a hotel and convention center near O’Hare International Airport in Chicago.  Sethi solicited Chinese nationals to invest $500,000 apiece in the project, plus $41,500 in administrative fees to Sethi’s company.

Each Chinese national who participated in the project also applied for an EB-5 visa, which allows foreign investors to obtain a temporary two-year visa that could later be converted to a permanent visa upon success of an employment-generating investment.

While soliciting investors Sethi made several false statements, including lies about funding and tax credits from the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago, none of which materialized.

The $900 million project never got off the ground, and no EB-5 visas were ever granted to investors.

Sethi, 32, of Chicago, pleaded guilty last year to one count of wire fraud.  In addition to the 36-month prison term, U.S. District Judge John Z. Lee also ordered Sethi to pay $8.85 million in restitution to the victim investors.

Zachary Fardon

The prosecution represents the largest EB-5 criminal fraud case in the United States to date.

The sentencing was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Michael J. Anderson, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“Defendant Anshoo Sethi abused the EB-5 visa program and blatantly lied to investors and the United States government on a massive scale,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Sunil Harjani argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum.

“Overseas investors spent much time and energy making the difficult decision to invest in the Sethi project, and processing their visa applications – not knowing that the project was built on a bed of lies and forged documents.”

According to his plea agreement, Sethi’s fraud scheme began in the summer of 2011 and continued until February 2013.

Sethi told investors that he planned to build the hotel and convention center on a three-acre parcel of land in the 8200 block of West Higgins Road in Chicago, just east of O’Hare.

Sethi falsely told investors that his company maintained relationships with large hotel chains that purportedly were interested in the project, including Hyatt, Starwood and Intercontinental Hotel Group.

To bolster an additional false statement regarding City of Chicago funding, Sethi signed a “Redevelopment Agreement TIF” document that purported to convey a relationship between the city and Sethi’s company.

The document, which contained a bogus city ordinance implying that the project had been approved for TIF funding, was provided to third party brokers who used it to solicit investors.

In all, Sethi raised approximately $158 million from more than 290 investors.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission brought a civil lawsuit against Sethi and was able to restore approximately $147 million to Chinese investors.

The government is represented in the criminal prosecution by Mr. Harjani.

McHenry County Chairman v McHenry County Board

Guest Article:  Ersel Schuster

Here we go again…

Tonight, 2/21/17; the County Board Chairman will once again ram through more changes to the McHenry County Board’s Rules.

Since December 1, 2017, the Chairman has interpreted these Rules, and his ability to organize “ad hoc” committees to circumvent standing committee work on the Rules, as his right.  He deliberately mis-states the Rules to justify his ability to ram through changes for his personal benefit.

Under the Rules: Section 3 – 3.7:  Internal Support and Facilities Committee:  This committee is charged with: “Stewardship / liaison for matters pertaining to the… Administration; …”

Not only does the update to Board Rules fall under “Administration;” precedence clearly shows this committee (formerly, Management Services), for decades, has been responsible for this process.

Section 4 – Ad Hoc Committee: “The Chairman of the County Board shall have the power to establish ad hoc committees for special projects.  Such committees exist for the life of the project.”

Board Rules do give a chairman the authority to call for a “special project,” ad hoc committee.  This means that such committee is only created for the purpose of discussion and action on a “project” not covered by a regular standing committee.

At the February 2nd “Ad Hoc” Committee Meeting, once again, he is amending the Rules.

His interpretation and actions fail on both counts.  These are the “County Board’s” Rules.

Also of concern is that this person gave himself voting rights in the committee!

An ad hoc committee is a committee of “county board members.”  The county board chairman is not a county board member.  The only voting rights of a chairman elected at large, per statute; are for breaking a tie vote of the County Board Assembly.

At this last Ad Hoc Committee Meeting, in the chairman’s crafted rules changes, he conveniently omitted the fact that the at large elected chair only has the ability to break a tie vote of the Board.  Thanks to Member Nowak, at least he had the good sense to amend this section to specifically address the point.  This meeting took 12.5 minutes.

Interesting also was the makeup of this ad hoc committee.  Nowhere in the Agenda or following information are the committee members listed.  From past experience however, these Ad Hoc committee members are chosen to assured the chair a positive vote for his desired actions.

But then; that is how politicians with ulterior motives get what they want.

Wake up County Board Members… if you allow this foolishness to continue… the checks and balances you were elected to provide the taxpayers of McHenry County are being rendered useless.

Residents/taxpayers, reach out to your County Board Members.  You can reach them by typing in: www.co.mchenry.il.us:   Then select the “County Government” drop down box; select “Departments A-I;” then select “County Board.”