It appears as though the Algonquin Township Taxpayers were bank rolling Santa Claus. Reprinted with permission.
Algonquin Township Road District – Public credit used for Christmas gifts
A quick way to confirm that there was no public purpose, in this case, is to see who paid the bill. Although there is a lot of questionable spending on this particular bill, one is clearly in violation of the law and it appears they knew it.
A check for $538.65 was written to American Express by the McHenry County Highway Commissioners Association and the memo section reflects “Xmas Gifts”. The purchase was to Linen Source, an online business that sells bed linen. I wonder if they have sizes to fit prison cell mattresses?
It’s clear, public credit was used, as a purchase was made with that credit, and the bill was sent to the local public body holding that credit card. Two indicators point to there being no public purpose for this credit card purchase. The first being a private non-profit paying the bill, McHenry County Highway Commissioners Association. The second being the fact it was for “Xmas Gifts,” which contrary to popular belief, does not serve a public purpose nor are Christmas gifts authorized by law.
Some may argue that since the actual bill was paid by someone else and not taxpayer funds that makes it OK. No, that is not true! Ask the former Pekin, Illinois Mayor who reimbursed the city for his cash advances on the city credit card. http://caselaw.findlaw.com/il-supreme-court/1001898.html
The Illinois Supreme Court recently affirmed the conviction of the former mayor of Pekin, Illinois. He was convicted of three counts of official misconduct based upon his use of the city credit card to obtain cash advances for gambling purposes. While the specific fact pattern in this is unique, the legal effects of the case are worth learning. This case could have a reverberating impact on the way that municipal officials in the State deal with public money and credit cards.
In this case, someone had access to Bob Millers’ credit card and used it to make a purchase that was not for Road District business. That qualifies as using public credit. Considering it was paid for by a private entity identifying what it was for, Xmas Gifts, that confirms it was not for a public purpose.
Since it was not for a public purpose, you can now add misapplication of funds to the mix, which also is a felony. This criminal statute applies because it too outlines credits of the unit of local government.
(720 ILCS 5/33E-16)
Sec. 33E-16. Misapplication of funds.
(a) An officer, director, agent, or employee of, or affiliated in any capacity with any unit of local government or school district commits misapplication of funds when he or she knowingly misapplies any of the money, funds, or credits of the unit of local government or school district.
(b) Sentence. Misapplication of funds is a Class 3 felony.
We understand criminal investigations take time and we appreciate efforts of those agencies being thorough but at what point is enough enough? In this case, an illegal charge was made to the Township Highway Department credit card and they knew it was improper because they had a private entity pay the charge. That is the use of public credit for a purpose other than a public purpose.
The McHenry County State’s Attorney, in our opinion, has sufficient information to confirm crimes were committed, so what could be the delay in bringing charges? Considering the vast majority of the illegal spending we are seeing was done online, the question becomes, who did it. Was it the card holder? I suspect since Bob Miller has lawyered up he is not talking, so investigators may be trying to determine who actually made the charges, even though the elected official whose name is on the card is ultimately responsible. What is sure to be problematic for Bob Miller is the fact the minutes do not reflect him ever complaining about someone using his public credit card when these bills got submitted for payment.
We will continue to share key records that point to the illegal use of public funds, property, and credit and we assure you, the list is much longer than what we have already exposed.