Nunda Township Loses Freedom of Information Appeal on Senior Bus Audit

Labaj, John being consultated by Peter Austin, Adam Lehmann in backgrouind

John Labaj being consulted by County Administrator Peter Austin. Adam Lehmann. Labaj has retired; Lehmann is now Lake County Deputy Administrator.

At the request of Deputy County Administrator John Labjai (now retired), McHenry County Auditor Pam Palmer performed an audit on Nunda Township’s senior bus program.

It was financed with a grant administered by McHenry County.  Federal and state money was involved.

I filed a Freedom of Information request on April 23rd of this year.

A denial came llickety split from the Nunda Township Road Commissioner on April 25th a two day turnaround.

I appealed the refusal of newly-elected Nunda Township Road Commissioner Mike Lesperance to the Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Division.

On August 20th, Assistant Attorney General Dushyanth Reddivari rendered a decision in my favor.

The Assistant Attorney General quotes Section 7(1)(m) of the Freedom of Information Act, the part that Nunda Township used to seek exemption from disclosure:

Communications between a public body and an attorney or auditor representing the public body that would not be subject to discover in litigation, and materials prepared or compiled by or for a public body in anticipation of a criminal, civil or administrative proceeding upon the request of an attorney advising the public body, and materials prepared or compiled with respect to internal audits of public bodies.  (Emphasis added.)

The opinion continues:

“The district is not a part of McHenry County, and it has not asserted it is represented by the County’s auditor.

“Moreover, an ‘internal audit’ is defined as “[a]n audit performed by an organization’s personnel to ensure that internal procedures, operations, and accounting practices are in proper order[.]  Black’s Law Dictionary (9th ed.)…(Emphasis added.)

“The requested audit was conducted by an auditor for McHenry County for the purpose of determining whether the District’s program meets the requirements for receipt of senior services grant funding.

“Therefore it does not constitute an ‘internal audit.”

“Accordingly, we conclude the Districts has not sustained it burden of proving that the audit is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 7(1)(m).”

Defense Department Transfers to Sheriff’s Department

With comments about the militarization of the Ferguson, Missouri, police, it seemed appropriate to ask the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office for information about what it has gotten from the Department of Defense.

An article from the Chicago Tribune's Sunday edition entitled, "Obama orders study of police militarization."

An article from the Chicago Tribune’s Sunday edition entitled, “Obama orders study of police militarization.”


I asked for photos and below are most of what was sent me.

This looks like an old Humvee.

This looks like a Humvee.

Not the same color, so I assume it is a different Humbee.

Not the same color, so I assume it is a different Humbee.

A blue van

A blue van

A white van

A white van

Are these magazines for assault rifles?

Are these magazines for assault rifles?

Is this a spotter kit used by snipers in a war zone?

Is this a spotter kit used by snipers in a war zone?

"Gun spring ext" is what the label says.

“Gun spring ext” is what the label says.

Binoculars,  one of many.

Binoculars, one of many.

A mini-flash light.

A mini-flash light.

Backpacks.

Backpacks.

Backpack attachment.

Backpack attachment.

There were also items of clothing that appear in include sweatpants and sweatshirts, jackets, etc.

Sweatpants

Sweatpants

Jacket

Jacket

Three Apply for Ethics Commission Appointment

The McHenry County Ethics Commission prior to two resignations.

The McHenry County Ethics Commission prior to two resignations.

Scott Hartman resigned as a member of the McHenry County Ethics Commission upon accepting appointment as Deputy County Administrator.

Melissa Hernandez listens to Scott Hartman make a point.

Melissa Hernandez listens to Scott Hartman make a point.  Both have recently resigned.

Three people have applied to fill the vacancy created:

  • Lloyd R. Everard – Crystal Lake
  • Michael Stanard – Woodstock
  • Joseph Algers – Crystal Lake

Attorney General Advises Oakwood Hills to Open Office

In a letter dated Friday, the Office of the Illinois Attorney General advised the Village of Oakwood Hills to open for business “as soon as possible.”

The involvement of Lisa Madigan‘s Office was urged by State Rep. David McSweeney and State Senator Dan Duffy.

OH AG Letter  8-22-14 open

In a letter dated August 22, 2014, Assistant Attorney General Brent Stratton advises that the office of Oakwood Hills be opened “as soon as possible.”


While the letter says that Village officials plan to open up on September 2nd, McSweeney thinks the office should be staffed “as soon as possible.”

Oakwood Hills Gets Let Off Hook for Late FOI Reply

OH Plant 2 color with grass covered buld in bottom rightShortly before the officials of Oakwood Hills decided to shut down the village, I filed a Freedom of Information request.

The Village’s Freedom of Information Officer has been quite good at relying to my requests, but, fearing that the office closure might be interfering with compliance with the requirements of the FOI Act, I filed a complaint when the answer did not arrive in a timely fashion.

The next day, I got an envelope in the mail with the answer.

Before that they have come by email.

Paula Yensen Handout

Paula Yensen has a piece of literature which appears to be one intended to be handed out door-to-door.

How do I reach that conclusion?

The white circle in Yensen’s head is probably there so that a rubber band can be inserted for hanging it on a door handle.

Yensen lit 2014 walk piece front

The front of Paula Yensen’s palm card touts the amount of door-to-door campaigning she has done to (barely) stay in office, plus undated endorsements from one or more past campaigns.

Here is the back of the palm card:

Yensen lit 2014 walk piece back

While the front of Paula Yensen’s literature stresses the campaign effort she has made (while telling newcomer Republican Michael Rein that he must knock on well over 5,000 doors), the back makes her part in “honest, open government,” keeping property taxes constant and cutting waste.

McHenry County government has received a dismal report card on transparency from the Illinois Policy Institute. (56.4% versus 100% in Kane County).

Yensen is Vice Chairwoman of the Transportation Committee and Chairman of the Management Services Committee.

Both the committee for which she is Vice Chairwoman and the one she chairs refused to share with the public that the Eisenman building on Virginia Street Road was under consideration for purchase for salt storage (reported only on McHenry County Blog and verified here.)

If selected, that would have cut Crystal Lake school and other governmental units’ tax take by about $100,000 a year.  The intended replacement, of course, would have paid no taxes.

Now the Transportation Committee is allowing a secret meeting with “stakeholders” next week on the final suggestions (a summary of which you can only read here) for what to do with the intersection of Randall and Algonquin Roads.

Reick to Meet with Residents

A press release from Republican State Rep. candidate Steve Reick:

Steve Reick Announces Town Hall Listening Tour

IL House Republican Candidate Solicits Voter Input

After his speech State Rep. candidate Steve Reick was seen talking to Brian Kelly.

After his speech State Rep. candidate Steve Reick was seen talking to Brian Kelly.

Steve Reick, Republican candidate for the 63rd House District, has announced an “I’ll Shut Up and Listen” town hall tour throughout the District, beginning August 27 in Harvard.

“McHenry County has taken quite a few hits in the past year, losing over 8% in wages in 2013,” said Reick.

“This is one of the largest wage losses in the country.

“Property values remain flat, and real estate taxes continue to increase.”

The tour will begin on Wednesday, August 27 at the Harvard Public Library’s Burbank Room from 6:30 – 7:30 P.M. The library is located at 900 E. McKinley Street in Harvard. The tour will then move on to the other venues in the District, with the schedule and locations to be announced.

“We can’t afford another 2 years of what we have now. The Madigan/Franks approach to governing has driven Illinois into the ground,” said the Republican challenger. \

“I want to give the people of McHenry County the chance to make their concerns known, and discuss with them new ideas and approaches to return this State and this District back to prosperity. It has to begin here.”

21 Years for Predatory Criminal Assault of a Child

A press release from the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office:

THOMAS REED SENTENCED TO 25 YEARS IN THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS FOR THE OFFENSES OF PREDATORY CRIMINAL SEXUAL ASSAULT OF A CHILD AND AGGRAVATED CRIMINAL SEXUAL ABUSE

Louis A. Bianchi, McHenry County State’s Attorney, announces that Thomas Reed, 53, of McHenry, was sentenced to 25 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections for the offenses of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child and aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

Judge Gordon Graham sentenced the defendant to 21 years for the offense of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child and a consecutive four year sentence on the offense of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

This case was investigated by the McHenry Police Department.

The defendant was found guilty by a jury on June 25, 2014.

This case was prosecuted by Kate Lenhard and Patrick Kenneally of the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office.

The defendant will be required to serve 85% of the sentencing term on the offense of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child pursuant to truth in sentencing provisions.

= = = = =
This is the same charge that former Sheriff’s Sergeant Greg Pyle faces, but he faces ten such charges, consecutively, according to the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Arrests for Organ Donor Network Scheme

A press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office:

THREE SOUTHWEST SUBURBAN DEFENDANTS INDICTED IN ALLEGED SCHEME TO DEFRAUD ORGAN AND TISSUE DONOR NETWORK

CHICAGO ― Three southwest suburban defendants were indicted on federal fraud charges for allegedly scheming to swindle hundreds of thousands of dollars from a not-for-profit network that coordinated organ and tissue donations in Illinois and northwest Indiana, federal law enforcement officials announced today.

The indictment seeks forfeiture of $652,298 in alleged proceeds of the fraud scheme.

One defendant, SHARI L. HANSEN, 41, of Bolingbrook, was the auditing coordinator for the organization and was responsible for reviewing and approving invoices from physicians who contracted to engage in organ and tissue procurement. Co-defendants, ERIC V. MURFF, 37, of Plainfield, and DEBRA A. SCHULTZ, 43, of Lockport, allegedly received the proceeds of false invoices and shared the funds with Hansen.

All three defendants will be arraigned on a date yet to be determined in U.S. District Court. Hansen was charged with six counts of wire fraud, and Murff and Schultz were each charged with three counts of wire fraud, in a six-count indictment that was returned yesterday by a federal grand jury.

According to the indictment, between March 2008 and April 2010, the defendants allegedly schemed to submit false invoices to the donor network, identified as Organization A, seeking payment to physicians for organ and tissue procurement work that they knew was not performed. Each false invoice claimed that either Murff or Individual A, both of whom were not physicians, purportedly performed the organ or tissue procurement specified. Hansen allegedly authorized the fraudulent payments to be made.

Murff and Schultz deposited checks from Organization A, which were payable to Murff and Individual A, into accounts they controlled and then transferred a portion of the funds to Hansen, the charges allege.

Zachary Fardon

Zachary Fardon

The indictment was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Tony Gómez, Inspector-in-Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Chicago. The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Tzur.

Wire fraud carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine or an alternate fine of twice the loss or twice the gain, whichever is greater. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.

The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.