For some reason, the above scene from the Wizard of Oz came to mind when I read the most recent reply to my most recent Freedom of Information requests the Village of Oakwood Hills.
What was it the Wizard said?
“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” or something like that.
Here is the first reply I received from the Oakwood Hills Freedom of Information officer September 11th when I asked about a peaker plant’s consideration:
“There is no Peaker Plant proposal being considered or looked at by the Village of Oakwood Hills.”
When I asked the Illinois EPA, I hit the mother load, which prompted more FOIA requests.
In Oakwood Hills’ second reply, there were attachments concerning my subsequent request for
“documents concerning payments made from an escrow account set up by Enventure Partners to pay for all staff and consulting expenses associated with the gas-Íìred peaker plant project planned for Oakwood Hills and/or any other purposes.”
Here’s the relevant part of the cover letter:
“The Village of Oakwood Hills does not have any documentation relating to Enventure Partners, Ken Snell, Sargent and Lundy or Conrad Anderson.
“However, the Village can provide you with the Retained Personnel Agreement as well as invoices and payments pertaining to your request for, ‘documents concerning payments made from an escrow account set up by Enventure Partners to pay for all staff and consulting expenses associated with the gas-fìred peaker plant project planned for Oakwood Hills and/or any other purposes.'”
If that is a bit confusing, welcome to the club.
Look at the bottom of page 4 and the top of page 5 of the peaker plant proposal made to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency in June of 2012:
- meeting with Enventure “several times” and
- having hired HR Green to serve as the Village’s Engineer for the Project and ha[ving] staff on retainer to evaluate legal and commercial issues associated with the Project,” which
- “Enventure has funded [from] an escrow account to pay for all staff and consulting expenses associated with the Project,”
the Village “does not have any documentation relating to Enventure Partners…”
Yet, it does have records of the bills “documents concerning payments made from an escrow account set up by Enventure Partners to pay for all staff and consulting expenses associated with the gas-fìred peaker plant project planned for Oakwood Hills and/or any other purposes.”
Thirty documents were provided in Oakwood Hills’ September 23rd response to three more Freedom of Information requests.
The earliest date on a document is May 19, 2011. That was one titled,
“Chapter 17 – Retained Personnel, Exhibit A, Village of Oakwood Hills, Reimbursement of Fees Agreement.”
Others show payments to
- Cowlin, Curran and Coppedge, attorneys of $7,525
- Attorney Sue McCabe, the former Cary Village President, of $5,355
- HR Green, an engineering firm of $15,144
You can read the document I found most interesting below (the image is to the left).
It is dated October 2rd (after the FOIA requests were made and one day before Oakwood Hills’ reply) and is from Timothy J. Hartnett, Vice President/Practice Leader of Governmental Services for HR Green.
RE: Enventure Project – Clarification on Project
HR Green Job No.: 86110188
Dear Ms. Goldman:
I would like to correct our error on our invoices in the project description for the subject project. The reference to a “proposed peaking power plant” should have not been shown on our invoices since that proposal was taken off the table back in the fall of 2012.
We will remove the reference immediately and I apologize for any confusion or inconvenience this may have caused.
The most recent bill from the Cowlin law firm indicates that a “host agreement” was being drafted during the first half of August.
Here’s the billing itemization:
One may reasonably conclude that the peaker plant envisioned by Enventure Partners and the Village mothers and fathers of Oakwood Hills is proceeding apace.