Getting rid of the deals that went down to build a new town hall on Haligus Road without a referendum was the primary campaign promise that propelled challenger Linda Moore to a 30-vote Republican primary victory over Grafton Township Supervisor John Rossi.
The message was
“What is someone put a second mortgage on your home…without asking your permission?
“Your Grafton Township Supervisor and his township trustees have done something very close to that.
“Borrowing $3.5 million to build a new township hall without voter approval…in the middle of a recession…while spending less than $17,000 last year helping people in need with General Assistance…is bad government.
“You will have to pay that $3.5 million – PLUS interest – back with your property taxes.
“If you want an elected official who will ask your opinion before you are put into debt
“Vote for Linda Moore for Grafton Township Supervisor”
Put on a yard sign, the message was
NO TAXATION WITHOUT REFERENDUM
A court case led by Dan Ziller, Jr., in which Moore was a co-plaintiff forced to repayment of a $3.5 million township loan intended to pay for most of that building. Judge Michael Caldwell made the decision.
(Ziller ran an unsuccessful write-in campaign for township trustee in which he emphasized the $3.5 million loan on his yard signs.)
It also forced a voter referendum on whether to borrow $3.5 million to build a new township hall.
Another $611,000 was raised by selling the current town hall to the to the Township Road District. Moore said last night that transaction did not end up in the minutes.
(Two different legal entities were created by the General Assembly resulting from township road commissioners wanting less oversight from township boards.)
In any event, the township hall is now controlled by the Road Commissioner Jack Freund. He has to be repaid over $611,000. He was planning to do so by charging the Town Fund rent, plus kicking in the difference from Road Fund taxes. The township board even paid a $66,000 commission on the transaction to McHenry County Board member Marc Munaretto.
When I left the Grafton Township meeting last night, the board was hiding behind closed doors so the public could not hear what its members were saying or what the two lawyers present were advising.
Newly-elected Township Supervisor Linda Moore had not fared well earlier, as she had been advised that her 7 PM meeting had been improperly posted and the 7:30 meeting, which has also been improperly, but not fatally wrongly posted, had gone according to the majority bloc of four trustees plans.
But when the doors at the Huntley Park District opened, the board took action to “unwind” the loan Grafton Township took out to buy its own township hall (after taxpayers had already paid for it once).
When the vote was taken, Moore wasn’t the lonely girl that she was before going in
So, what happened?
“We were informed by the township attorney that the way things were done were not in accordance with the law,” Moore told me, “and it left the township open to suit.“In order to avoid further legal expenses, four of the five members of the board voted in favor of Barb Murphy’s motion to unwind the selling of the township property to the Road District.”
At the October board meeting Trustee Barbara Murphy signaled her desire to undo the Town Hall loan:
“My own opinion—I say we do the unwind. Put it all back to where it was and start from scratch.“Frankly, in my own opinion, I’m tired of this garbage.“I’m tired of it.
“I’m tired of it. (I want it done.)”