Open Meeting Act Violation by Algonquin Township Board

Here is what Illinois Leaks found by reading the Algonquin Township agenda for its last meeting and then listening to what the Board members did.  It is reprinted by permission.

Algonquin Township unanimously violates law

Algonquin Township, IL. (ECWd) –Apparently, this township finds it difficult to follow the most basic point of the open meetings law, that an item must be listed on the published agenda for action before it can be voted on. Listing it as a discussion item does not inform the public they are going to vote to take action on it – but that is precisely what happened.During the November 14, 2018, Algonquin Township Board of Trustees meeting, the board, among other things, violated the Open Meetings Act by voting on an item not listed on the Agenda as an actionable item.There was short discussion under the item “Discussion to participate collaborative community solar for public facilities” – which was on the agenda for discussion, not for action.The Board voted unanimously to participate.

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Purse Thefts in Harvard

The Harvard Police report the following:


On 11-30-18 at 1644 hrs a Harvard Resident (f-30 yoa), reported that an unknown person(s) had removed a purse from a vehicle located in the 2000 blk of Hillsboro Ln the night prior.


On 12-02-18 at 1150 hrs a Harvard Resident (f-56 yoa), reported that an unknown person(s) had taken her purse while shopping at Walmart, 21101 McGuire Rd earlier in the day.

It was later discovered the purse was subsequently returned minus an undermined amount of United States Currency.

Under Investigation.

Bond Retirement Allows Fox River Grove to Cut Real Estate Taxes, Partially Offset by Hike to Fund Police Pensions

A press release from the Village of Fox River Grove:

Village Property Taxes Will Reduce 7%

Fox River Grove property owners will pay less in taxes to the Village during calendar year 2019.

The Village Board adopted an $18,882 (2.1%) increase to the amount of property taxes collected for the Village portion of the property tax bill.

This will be offset by a $97,558 reduction in taxes due to the retirement of the Village’s outstanding General Obligation bond.

Robert Nunamaker

The net result is a reduction of property taxes by $73,185 (7.3%) for 2019. Village President Robert J. Nunamaker stated,

“Two years ago the Village Board committed to finding a way for the Village property tax to remain flat or be reduced for a three year period.

“This latest tax levy approval delivers on that commitment even though many costs dictated by state statute and out of the Village’s control continue to rise.”

The Village’s police pension expense alone continues to rise faster than the allowed adjustment available to the Village under the property tax cap law.

This year’s projected consumer price index (CPI) increase in the Village’s base property tax dollars is $18,882, which is more than consumed by the $27,400 of increase in the Village’s required contribution toward its police pension fund ($462,600 to $490,000).

Comments on Township Abolition by Referendum Legislation – Part 3

The comments on State Rep. David McSwee

“again” says:

I believe that Wilcox and Reich are on the right with this one.

This bill is poorly written and will ultimately give Franks or anyone else in that position more power with less oversite.

Lets try and look at this logically. Lets say Algonquin Township dissolves next year.

The County mostly will take over its roads.

Now the County will now have to plow, maintain, or redo those roads.

County Roads have different standards then Township Roads.

They deal with drainage, easements etc.

Township Roads in General are cheaper to redo and maintain.

If roads need to be redone now by the County they must go out to bid and pay prevailing wage unlike the townships doing the roads themselves.

You also have to take into consideration the MFT.

How does it get distributed?

Supervisor duties now could become another headache but feel that these could be taken care of by local governing bodies if the designated monies that went to the townships would go to the County or local governing bodies.

You are still going to need someone as Assessor in Algonquin because Woodstock is to far away for people to deal with property tax issues there.

Now the County has to mostly take over the services.

Do they use the Algonquin Township building to store plow trucks or is it over at DOT and they have to drive to Algonquin Township to take care of roads which is a lot of time and money.

Now 2 yrs go by and McHenry Township dissolves.

Now the County and other entities must come up with a plan for them.

Doing hodpodge elimination will become a huge burden over time and will end up costing taxpayers more.

I am for consolidation but this is the wrong way to go about it.

And if anyone really read what happened about this bill the leaders did not allow any amendments to this bill to be discussed and voted on!

Wilcox was right for not voting for this when they say we can put tail amendments later!

That is a bunch of crap and can bet it wont happen until McHenry Taxpayers fork out tons of extra money for this.

But Jacko gets to say McHenry County consolidated government! Jacko the sound bite!

Skillicorn Talks Taxes

A press release from State Rep. Allen Skillicorn:

Skillicorn Talks Illinois Taxes

East Dundee, IL –Representative Skillicorn addressed about 30 people gathered at a non-partisan forum, “Talking Illinois Taxes,” organized by Gurnee Village Trustee Don J. Wilson last evening.

Skillicorn discussed Illinois spending, pension and Medicaid challenges.

“Illinois has one of the highest overall tax burdens in the country and it’s breaking the backs of taxpayers.

“Thousands flee every year to low tax states taking their businesses with them.

“Illinois’ unfunded pension liability is estimated to be anywhere from $150 billion to $250 billion, as rating agencies continue to warn of downgrades to our credit which is barely above junk status.

“We must implement reforms now,” stated Skillicorn.

Trustee Wilson concluded the evening, “I want to thank Warren Township Assessor Charlie Mullen, Attorney Rod Drobinski and State Representative Allen Skillicorn for making tonight’s event educational and a great starting point for understanding the challenges we face together in Illinois.”

A copy of the presentation is available at

Jack Franks’ Smear Mailing Ally Uses Court Order Appeal to Further Delay Identity Revelation

During the March 2018 primary slanderous and defamatory fliers were mailed to thousands of households in McHenry County.

Joe Tirio’s enemy photo shopped him as a robber with rubber gloves (so he would not leave finger prints).

The mailings were done by an organization that called itself the Illinois Integrity Fund.

The cost for the three mailings was in the tens of thousands of dollars.

The Illinois Integrity Fund never registered with the Illinois State Board of Elections as required by law.

The target of the mailers was Joe Tirio, a Republican candidate for County Clerk, who was sworn in to the office last Monday.

For himself and for future officeholders, on April 25, 2018, Tirio filed a preliminary lawsuit against the printer of the flyers to learn the identity of the person or persons behind the Illinois Integrity Fund – the entity responsible for the flyers a McHenry County judge has ruled were defamatory.

Tirio’s lawyer, Philip Prossnitz, said,

“Joe entered public service to rid the political arena of wasteful spending and encourage like-minded, practical, reasonable citizens to become public servants to work efficiently and effectively for the taxpayer.

“No one would ever think of running for political office if they thought their good name could be defamed without any consequence.

“This preliminary lawsuit just to unmask the Illinois Integrity Fund has gone on for over 7-long months of lengthy, expensive, protracted litigation.

“It’s time to have a jury of 12-citizens rule.”

“The Respondents Janice Dalton and Breaker Press,” Prossnitz continued, “have mounted a legal defense to protect the identity of the Illinois Integrity Fund.

“That defense has run into the tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees on a motion to dismiss, a renewed motion to dismiss, a motion to reconsider the denial of their motion to dismiss, and now an appeal.

“Joe wants the Illinois Integrity Fund to face him in a court of law and answer his complaint that they defamed him; a charge by the way that Judge Kevin Costello has ruled after extensive, exhaustive and thorough briefing and argument should not be dismissed.”

The matter is set for status in front of Judge Costello on December 11, 2018 at 9:00 am.

Carlos Acosta on ICE Detention: Before and After His Election

Yesterday McHenry County Blog pointed readers to the Chicago Sun-Times article about the money received from the Federal government for housing illegal aliens.

The entrance to the McHenry County Jail.

In it, newly-elected McHenry County Board member Carlos Acosta is indirectly quoted as saying, “asked whether the contract is worth the money it brings in..”

Then, in a direct quote, Acosta asks, “It’s been a divisive issue because it raises the question, is there a profit motive when the county sheriff is making traffic stops?”

And, “Over the last two years, ICE has really been weaponized. Do we really want to be part of that weaponized system?”

The rest of the article cites the cost if running the operation and opinions of those who seem to think ICE detention centers should not exist.

The rest of the article referring to Acosta follows:

“Immigration policy is now county policy and county policy is now immigration policy,” Acosta said.

Acosta recognizes the county is reliant on the income from ICE, but said there should be greater oversight.

“I have to be cognizant of the fiscal impact of terminating any program, but again, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with at least asking those questions and getting data on that,” he said.

“I’ve had the opportunity to visit other detention centers around Illinois and the conditions were pretty poor. … That’s the other side of the argument, if we close the facility and we continue down this road to indefinite detention, are we going to put these immigrants in a worse situation?”

At the League of Women Voters forum this is what Acosta said when asked whether candidates supported the used of the Jail as an ICE detention center.

Carlos Acosta

Acosta answered first.

He said it had been “controversial for the last twenty years.”

Continuing, Acosta said, “I don’t know enough about it to know whether to support or not.

“If treated respectfully I’d like to have it remain here.”

He told of visiting detention centers where those behind bars were not treated well.

First Woodstock Tax Increment Financing District Analyzed

From Seneca Township and School District 200 resident Susan Handelsman:

1997 Woodstock TIF 1 Data about Diecast Site

By historical records available, it seems that:

  1. By 1998, the Diecast site was cleaned up at Allied Signal’s expense, and the clean +-14-acre parcel was owned by taxpayers of Woodstock.
  2. Woodstock deeded the property (a valuable asset) to a developer for $500,000, but paid (Hummel Group) in excess of $500,000 in cash payments in addition to $2.5 million borrowed 2002 for Diecast site remediation, land obtainment, et cetera.
  3. Woodstock borrowed over $2.5 million to spend building out that site. The bonds were backed by full faith and credit of Woodstock taxing authority, in case of TIF failure. Bonds were refinanced in 2010 and additional debt may have been added.
  4. There were 10 townhouses built, and 49 buildable lots created, which are estimated to have generated roughly $1.26 million property tax income to date. This amount may not be enough to cover interest alone on the bond debt to date, and legal, fees, and compliance on TIF aspect of bond issuance and land ownership transfer, plus additional cash payments to developers mentioned in TIF reports.
  5. The money obtained by TIF in order to pay off Diecast site debt ($880,000 still owed) was generated largely by taxation at higher rates on normal inflationary EAV of existing properties included in original “frozen” TIF EAV.
  6. The current annuity value of the ‘taxable EAV’ created on Diecast site is a significant negative value compared to the cost of its creation.

Chicago Tribune Articles 1997 &1998 About Diecast Site Demolition Costs, Who Paid For it??

Apparently, the Diecast site was cleaned up at Allied Signal’s expense, and then Woodstock taxpayers owned the remediated land at some price (back taxes and delinquent utilities bills+?).


“Attending the meeting with Clifton and Bianchi were representatives of Allied-Signal Corp., former owner of the factory, which is underwriting the $600,000 demolition, and Stanley Komperda, who will oversee the work for the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

Site preparation will begin March 3, with demolition to take place about a month later, city officials said. Work hours will run from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. The project will take five to six months.

After the plant is demolished, Woodstock will advertise for developers to present plans for the site.”

“As for residents’ concerns about possible site contamination, Allied-Signal’s project manager, Tim Metcalf said, “Since we sold (the factory) in the late ’80s, we have removed the asbestos . . . and basically done a general cleanup” over the last few years.

Ground water treatment also has continued, Metcalf said, a fact confirmed by Komperda, who said the ground water is “much improved since 1985.”

Monday’s meeting marked the first step in a five-year renovation of the factory’s 10-acre site, among the most valuable in the city.”

The city reacquired the building and the 10 acres it stands on in 1991 through a foreclosure of $56,000 in delinquent water and sewer bills, according to public works director John Isbell.

“Both proposals call for extensive residential development in the northern portion of the 14-acre triangle. Broadacre’s plan contains 122 units, ranging from two-bedroom “row houses” to 48 condominiums. Construction costs, which would be privately financed, would run to $14.8 million, with the city underwriting $4.2 million in infrastructure improvements.

The city’s expenses in both proposals would be funded with tax-increment-financing bonds, which would be retired as the individual units are sold.”

Woodstock Bonds for TIF 1

Woodstock issued Bonds in 2002 which were guaranteed by Woodstock taxpayers’ full faith and credit in case TIF cannot pay. At last TIF 1 report, $880,000 of this debt is still outstanding. TIF report also indicates “original issue debt $2,575,000”.

Series E Bonds totaled $2.1 Million debt. Series E was all for TIF related to Diecast site development subsidies.

Purpose of Series 2002E Bonds was stated as “…to finance and refinance prior debt for real estate acquisition and to finance certain demolition work and the acquisition, construction, and installation of land acquisition, environmental remediation, , and infrastructure improvements, including water, sewer. Utilities, storm sewer and drainage (including land acquisition, rights in real estate., demolition and other related facilities, improvements and costs). See the caption “PLAN of FINANCING- The 2002E Project Downtown Tax Increment Financing Redevelopment Project”. “

Illinois Comptroller TIF Reports 2010-2017

TIF reports filed in 1997 through 2009 are not available online, so cannot verify details from that period.

We do know that ownership of the land deemed in the 1997 Tribune article as “among the most valuable in the city.”, was transferred from taxpayers of Woodstock to private interests, with funds exceeding an assumed purchase price paid back to developer by TIF in subsequent years.

Apparently TIF 2002E Bonds were refinanced in 2010 with Series C Bonds $1,475,000. But more debt was added somewhere along the line;

From 2010 TIF Report:   “TIF Debt Service Combined Series E & G Amount of original Issue $ 2,575,000; Amount Designated $3,542,433.”

This seems to indicate that the cost of purchasing, building- out, and giving away the cleaned-up Diecast acreage to a developer costs TIF taxpayers funds a total of $3,542,433 including interest, plus the value of the free land gift.

 (THE ONLY G BONDS SEEM TO HAVE BEEN issued in 2002 FOR A SALT STORAGE SHED? This was not stated as a TIF 1 project in 2002 Official Statement. Was this debt placed into TIF 1)?

McHenry County Clerk & Treasurer Property Tax Databases

We may look for TIF property tax revenues from any development on the former Diecast site on County Treasurer site. It is complicated because PIN numbers have changed several times, with ‘parent’ and ‘child’ parcels lacking older info on Treasurer website or Athena.

Presently, PIN 13-05-340-001 through -010 represent the Townhouses at Woodstock Station. They are assessed 2017 at around $80,000 EAV each.  At 11.7% tax rate, that produced revenue around $9400 each, or $94000 last year. 49 lots assessed at ~$5500 each is another $270,000 EAV generating $32000 tax.

These parcels only began paying substantive property taxes in 2007. 10 years of roughly $126,000 per year tax revenue equals $1.26 million total revenue so far from Diecast site development.

New EAV (but not taxable EAV, until TIF dies after extension if any) created: $1.07 million

Tax rates (% of EAV) of TIF for known years:         2007: 7.81%; 2008: 7.96%; 2009: 8.14%; 2010: 8.77%; 2011: 9.92%; 2012:  11.54%; 2013: 12.91%; 2014: 13.69%; 2015: 13.57%; 2016: 12.62%; 2017: 11.70%

(EAV is 1/3 of full fair market value, so 1/3 of the tax rates above equal the tax rate on full fair market property values.)


To put the value of that Diecast site revenue stream into perspective, one may compare it to the purchase price of an annuity which produces a 100-year revenue stream of $126,000 annually: such an annuity would cost $3.8 million today at current rates (3.3%). But Woodstock taxpayers paid over $2.5 million in 1998 dollars (not counting interest, fees, and free acreage of lands gifted). The present value of $2.5 million from 20 years ago is $4.8 million.

To present-value both calculations in 1998 dollars: the present value in 1998 of $126,000 annuity beginning in 20 years forward (using 3.3% interest rate) was $2 million. Woodstock taxpayers paid at least $3 million of present value at that time for that implied asset.

Susan Handelsman

TIF 1 said to create more revenue? Sale tax revenue?  It is a very small number compared to the millions at stake in additional school costs, and diverted property tax revenues. (Annual household income multiplied by BLS mean percentage of HH income spent on sales-taxable merch.: $60,000 x .23= $13,800. Unlikely ALL of that would be spent in Woodstock, but let’s say it all is. 2% sales tax on $13,800 is $276. There were 10 new households created in Diecast development. That would be $2760 per year.)

The alternative: no TIF, land ownership retained, no $2.5 million borrowed, millions in property tax revenue generated by existing properties would have flowed to taxing bodies, thus lowering the tax burden and tax rate for the past 20 years, and TIF-related expenses would not have been incurred. Woodstock would have had the chance to gain TAXABLE EAV on that site. TIF tax revenue would not have been generated, which in Diecast’s case may not have been enough to cover interest &expenses to date on the debt taken out to subsidize Diecast site developers.

To put the COSTS of TIF 1 Diecast site development into perspective, we have to consider other costs. Woodstock Diecast site ‘investment’ of taxpayer dollars cost $2.5 million+land value. Woodstock taxpayers ‘guaranteed’ the bond debt with full faith and credit.  Diecast site development has NOT generated enough income to cover that bond debt, so other taxpayer money is being used to pay it.

The ‘other taxpayer money’ is TIF tax money generated by normal inflation on existing properties included in the TIF. Over the past 20 years, that money would have gone to taxing bodies but-for the TIF.

Woodstock taxpayers were deprived of millions of such inflation-generated property tax dollars which they had to ‘replace’ to make taxing bodies whole, in order for an amount equal to those tax dollars to be diverted to TIF. (At least until 2007 when Diecast site tax revenue started; bonds were issued years earlier and interest accumulated on that debt).

(To Illustrate this point: TIF 2 will start with $30 million 2017 EAV ‘frozen’. 2018 assessments are already posted: Up 6.2%! That means TIF 2 will get over $200,000 of ‘inflation’ increment tax revenue (nothing to do with development) in its first year. That is money which without TIF 2 would have flowed directly to schools and other taxing bodies. Now it will need to be ‘replaced’ by taxpayers. That means a $200,000 tax hike for TIF 2, the first of its 35-year legal lifespan. More to follow).

Woodstock taxpayers were deprived of receiving the price of valuable real estate, for which their tax dollars had paid.

And Woodstock taxpayers were deprived of the opportunity value of the land itself, which might have attracted development which would have contributed on its own to schools and other taxing bodies.

Woodstock taxpayers had to pay 100% of all costs of schooling all new TIF student enrollment. The annual TAXPAYER cost per student is now $9000 per year (levy divided by enrollment).

Woodstock and McHenry County taxpayers needed to pay for ALL inflationary increased costs of ALL Countywide social service provision: schools, police, fire&rescue, MCC, MCCD, County, Library, Townships; because that original 1997 TIF EAV is Frozen for 35 years and the only way to get more money from those frozen-EAV properties—whether they have been built-up or not—is to raise tax RATES. Except—the problem is, by law, the money cannot come from non-taxable TIF EAV taxpayers’ payments, so it has to come from OTHER taxpayers. When tax rates rose, taxpayers had to pay more, AND TIF collected more as a windfall profit.

Woodstock non-TIF-development taxpayers were responsible for ALL the $150 million+ debt built up by Woodstock school District 200, and Woodstock’s share of huge MCCD debt, as well as unfunded pension debts of teachers, administrators, politicians, police, fire&rescue personnel, that come due and payable over the 35 years legal lifespan of the TIF.  Remember: only TAXABLE EAV can be encumbered to pay such public debts.

This explains why certain TIF properties’ values rose while most Woodstock homeowners got annihilated during the crash.  Exemption from public debt and tax liability is supportive of property value.

But taxes need to be paid by someone, and that someone is the ‘loser class’ in the TIF computation. The cost of actual taxes can be quantified, and the soft cost of the property tax RISK due to debt can also be quantified (insurance actuaries do it all the time to price premiums).


Diecast site environmental remediation was NOT a function of TIF 1. Costs of Diecast site developer-buildout, land ownership rights costs, and other expenses of value to a new owner/developer were a function of TIF 1 and these costs can be quantified as far in excess of any value created for taxpayers.

Woodstock 1997 TIF 1 caused property tax rates to increase. Tax rate is levy divided by taxable EAV. Because ‘taxable’ EAV is always limited due to TIF, inflationary levy increases create an ever-increasing burden on a smaller pool of taxable property.

Woodstock has inflicted a tax rate exceeding 4% for many years:  4% of fair market value is MORE THAN 3 TIMES WHAT ALMOST ALL OTHER AMERICANS PAY IN PROPERTY TAXES. This property tax money is stripped from household income discretionary spending, it is denied to college or retirement savings. It is a tangible effect on the economy of a region, and Woodstock TIFs have and will cause this property tax rate to rise. *** TIF-included properties like the Diecast site lots will suffer less; they will be exempted from public taxes and debt as others will be forced to pay for their social service provision and prior public debt encumbrances on their behalf.

Due to 4% Woodstock property tax rates, home values in Woodstock annually decline relative to homes all across America and all over Illinois. *  TIF 2 will lock this current tax rate in as a low**, and ensure the rate rises for at least another generation. That equates to children’s lost college funds and elderly retirement without dignity. The correlation between high property tax rates and downward pressure on home values can be explained, for one reason, by inability of average buyers to qualify for mortgages.

When a home is for sale, chances are the buyer will need a mortgage. If a median income household cannot qualify for a mortgage on a median value home, fewer potential buyers exist for that home, and prices must drop to make a monthly mortgage payment affordable for such buyers.

Because of Woodstock’s abnormally high property tax rates, this has been the case for many years here. A property tax rate 2% higher than Chicago translates to the same impact as a mortgage interest rate 2% higher… except worse, because while mortgage interest rates on a loan usually remain constant, high property tax rates tend to breed higher property tax rates.

Developers are greatly affected by property tax rates. They need to produce a certain ‘Cap Rate’ which is a percentage reflecting return-on- investment. Because real estate in a 4% property tax rate area costs 2%-3% more per year to own than everywhere else, developers do not want to build in Woodstock unless given monetary gifts to do so. They need to get total project costs down to a number where the project can be built and flipped at an industry-standard Cap Rate. Enterprise Zone would have given developers over 12% of project cost. That apparently isn’t enough for them. What should be of great concern to Woodstock taxpayers is that the easiest -most-profitable projects to fill-and-bill in a TIF are low income housing rental developments

(schools understand this, thus formally objecting to Woodstock TIF 2 at JRB. D200 Schools WILL run out of money when enough non-TIF residents/businesses are ploughed under. No new contributory EAV in sight-why should there be? At least homes converted back to farmland can’t be taxed at obscene rates needed to support Woodstock TIFs).

Now that inflation is finally making home values rise here, because foreclosed homes can be bought by REITs and rented out at over 10% return-on-investment, and costs of new construction keep rising making existing properties worth more, Woodstock is rushing to put in the new huge TIF to capture all that inflationary-generated tax increment revenueTaxpayers will never get a chance to find out whether developers would have built here anyway in the Enterprise Zone.

**TIF 2 Effects:

 For the next 1-2 years, inflation will catch up with assessments and may lower Woodstock tax rates slightly if taxing bodies keep levies flat. After that, rates will need to rise, and sharply, to address $150,000,000 million of deferred bond debt from Woodstock D200 schools coming due.  Ironically, this $150,000,000 debt represents tax money borrowed to build schools for new Woodstock residents…and now all new Woodstock residents will be in TIF wherein they are sheltered from any liability or taxes to pay for the cost of schools which were built to educate their children.

Academic Sources

***“Between 1980 and 1984, the researchers found that municipalities that would later adopt TIF had a mean EAV growth rate nearly equal to those municipalities that later did not adopt TIF. However, between 1992 and 1995, TIF adopters grew slower than non-adopters (4.96% v. 7.38%). Dye and Merriman found no evidence that sample selection bias explained the slow growth rate of TIF adopters. Even after controlling for variety of municipal characteristics, TIF adopters grew 0.79% per year less than non TIF-adopters. Property values in non-TIF areas of the municipalities reviewed grew 1.31% per year less than for non-TIF adopters.63

Dye and Merriman concluded that their findings suggest that TIF trades off higher growth rates in the TIF district for slower growth elsewhere in the municipality. The larger the share of the municipality’s EAV is in TIF districts, the slower the growth is in the areas outside the TIF districts. So, targeted areas gain from TIF at the expense of non-targeted areas. In sum, Dye and Merriman argue that “… the simplest explanation for our results is that TIF adoption causes depressed assessed value growth rates.””

Richard F. Dye and David F. Merriman. “The Effects of Tax Increment Financing on Economic Development,” Working Paper #75, James H. Kuklinski, editor. Lincoln Land Institute. September 1999, p. 6, pp. 24-25.

***“The second study also extends the analysis to all 102 Illinois counties, which results in a much larger sample of municipalities (see Table 2). The TIF-base EAV (B) is unavailable, so we look at growth in available EAV. The simple means from the larger sample again suggest a negative effect of TIF on growth in property values. When we use this all-county sample to estimate the impact of TIF in a multivariate regression with statistical controls for other growth determinants and for TIF selection, there is a significantly negative impact of TIF adoption on growth in overall available (non-TIF) property values. This revives the earlier hypothesis that TIF adoption actually reduces property values in the larger community. When we run separate regressions for available EAV growth by type of land use for the all-county sample, we see more evidence of a zero or negative impact of TIF on property value growth. Again, there is a significant “cannibalization” of commercial EAV outside the TIF district from commercial development within the TIF district.”

*SMALL HOMES, PUBLIC SCHOOLS, AND PROPERTY TAX CAPITALIZATION  Ryan M. Gallagher:  Department of Economics, Northeastern Illinois University,  Chicago, IL, USA  Haydar Kurban Department of Economics, Howard University,  Washington, DC, USA  Joseph J. Persky:  Department of Economics, University of Illinois  Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA CES 13-04  March, 2013

Comments on Township Abolition by Referendum Legislation – Part 2

More comments on State. Rep. David McSweeney’s bill allowing voters to abolish their township government by referendum:

From Steve Willson:

I’m going to offer my opinion here in the hope of trying to sort out some of the wheat from the chaff concerning this issue and to lower the level of invective.

Let me being by saying I’m somewhat agnostic on this issue.

I simply don’t have strong opinions in favor of or against townships, and that’s despite having served for four years on the Township Board in the People’s Soviet of Oak Park.

But, whatever my ultimate conclusion, I think the decision should be based on logic and evidence, and so I propose the following discussion points.

First, the argument that townships are a small part of the tax bill and therefore do not deserve attention is a non sequitur.

We should work on cutting the tax bill of all our local governments, and townships are not exempt because of their size.

Nor does it follow that we should wait to try to fix townships until other governments are fixed.

Second, there are three arguments for eliminating townships, only one of which has something to do with cutting taxes, and all of which should be addressed by those who favor townships.

Argument One is that there are too many governments, too many elected officials, for voters to follow.

I have 58 local and county elected officials I’m supposed to monitor.

It’s not possible for me to know all of them and if they’re doing a good job.

Eliminating positions reduces the burden on me.

(Having said that, the biggest problem isn’t the number of governments, it’s at large positions. For my five governments – two school districts, MCC, my Village and the park district, I have 35 elected officials to monitor. Just going to election by district would cut my burden by 30. Still, cutting the townships is a start.)

Argument Two is that specifically because townships are so small, voters rationally pay little attention to them, which gives townships unique opportunities for nepotism and other waste.

Having fewer governments to monitor empowers voters.

(The counter to this argument IS the cost saving argument. There are virtually no economies of scale in government. In fact, larger governments are generally less cost effective than medium size governments, and I say that having explicitly studied the costs of governmental services of cities in Illinois based on population size. And, frankly, in my 40 years of experience following local government finance, I would say that for every tax dollar lost to graft, ten dollars is lost to pure bureaucratic ineptitude and waste, not including purely stupid programs.)

Argument Three is that administrative/ministerial positions, such as Road Commissioner and Assessor, violate the basic principle of our government of checks and balances.

Assessors and Road Commissioners don’t report to the Township Board, and it’s not possible for the voters to know if a good job or a bad job is being done.

(This is not just true of townships, it’s true of ALL administrative positions, including positions such as Clerk, Assessor, etc. As an example, how would the voters ever know if the coroner was doing a bad job unless a story about moldering bodies showed up on the evening news? The voters lack the time and the access to the information needed to follow the performance of most administrative officials. I think the world of Joe Tirio. I think he’s doing a great job. He’s highly competent and scrupulously honest. But I don’t think the Clerk should be an elected office; it’s strictly administrative. And having said that, until it stops being an elective position, I’ll be supporting Joe Tirio.)

Third, there is an old saw: the perfect is the enemy of the good.

The bill may not be perfect, but the solution is not to do nothing until we have a perfect bill.

Sometimes an imperfect action is better than no action, and it often leads to an improved outcome as we learn more through experience.

So far the arguments I see against this bill are highly general and lack any proof that taxes would actually go up or that there would be serious disruption in services.

If there is strong evidence to support the pro-township position and I’ll be pro-township.

Fourth, I find it especially pernicious to argue that voters can’t be trusted to make good decisions.

I say let the voters have their say. They have that right, and who here would deny them?

If a referendum makes it to the ballot, pro-township forces will have their chance to argue that further study is needed, and the voters can decide if that’s sufficient reason to retain townships.

As always, I’m open to logical arguments, especially with evidence, that address my points.

But let’s decide this based on proof and logic, not name calling and platitudes.

One final comment: I think it is a tribute to the respect that Rep. McSweeney obviously commands from his peers that he was able to guide this legislation through the Illinois Legislature.

A less skilled or less respected legislator’s bill would have failed, especially when some of his regional and party colleagues opposed the bill.

Lake County Right to Life Bemoans “Abortion Tourism”

From Lake County Right-To-Life:

Abortion Tourism Comes To Illinois

On November 19th, 2018 the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) published the 2017 abortion statistics for Illinois.

Here they are:

Illinois Department of Public Health 2017 abortion statistics

The report shows there were 39,329 abortions reported in Illinois for 2017.

This is an increase from 38,382 abortions in 2016.

Now you ask why the increase when abortions are decreasing across the country.

Lots of reasons.

IDPH reported an increase for residence of Illinois showing a very small increase of 0.5%.

However, out-of-state residence reported abortions increased by 21.6% from 2016.

Are we serious about protecting our unborn children in Illinois?

Personal PAC run by Terry Cosgrove spends HUGE amounts of money to elect pro-abortion Legislators in Illinois.

Personal PAC again cites a quote about rape that David McSweeney make when he was running for Congress in 2006. McSweeney’s stand on abortion is that he is opposed to it, except for rape, incest and to save the life of the mother.

The final panel of the Personal PAC mailing against David McSweeney.

Planned Parenthood (the Nations largest abortion provider) has a vested interest in Illinois, in fact they have promised 5 new abortion clinics across Illinois.

House Bill 40, which provides Medicaid funding of abortion in Illinois, was signed into law last year.

HB40 = taxpayer funding of abortion

Why is that important?

It means taxpayers are paying for all Medicaid abortions.

It means that Illinois has become an abortion tourism state!

It means women are coming into Illinois to have their abortions.

This is why the increase in out of state abortions are up to 5,528.

Illinois has once again become a dumping ground.

You will note there is a category labeled (UNKNOWN) the report shows that number is 969.

The reason its labeled UNKNOWN is because they don’t know if the abortion is done on residence or out-of-state women.

It does not take a genius to realize that Illinois abortions will only increase unless we do a better job in elections, support, and involvement in Lake County Right to Life.

17-Year Old Fake Employee from Marengo Tries to Rob Harvard Taco Bell

From the Harvard Police Department:


On 11-24-18 at 1841 hrs, an Employee (f-35 yoa) of Taco Bell, 325 S Division St, Harvard reported to police an unknown male white dressed in a Taco Bell uniform entered the business, went behind the counter obtained a drink from the fountain machine and attempted to open the registers before
being confronted by employees.

As a result of the investigation on 11-27-18 at 1710 hrs, a Marengo Youth (m-17 yoa) was arrested and charged with

  • False Personation
  • Disorderly Conduct and
  • Criminal Trespass to Real Property.

The Marengo Youth was petitioned to McHenry County Court Services and released to a parent.

McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally Opposes Legalization of Recreational Pot

The following letter was sent by McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally to legislators who will represent McHenry County next year:

Seal of the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office.

I am writing to offer my basis for opposing the expected legislation legalizing cannabis for recreational use in Illinois.

As you consider this politically-charged issue, I urge you to give primary consideration to the evidence-based opinions of health care professionals and law-enforcement over the dubious claims of private-industry marijuana advocates that stand to make billions of dollars through the legalization of marijuana.

Additionally, I encourage you to be especially skeptical of those advocates who portray cannabis as a panacea that will miraculously abate any number of obstinate social problems, such as government debt or funding shortfalls, crime, overcrowding of prisons, opioid abuse, and alcoholism.

Despite claims that cannabis is effortlessly available in Illinois, legalization, as documented in Colorado, will significantly increase use.

In 2016, nearly one-third of Colorado adults ages 18-25 reported using cannabis in the previous month, up from 21% in 2006. FN1

Sen. Don DeWitte

Additionally, the usage rates of adults 25 years of age or older more than doubled between 2006
and 2014. FN2

Of most concern, youth cannabis use increased 12% in Colorado since legalization.

Two years after legalization, Colorado youth were ranked first in the nation for cannabis use over the last month, with a rate of usage that was 56% higher than the national average. FN3

As an illustration of just how high use rates have soared, there are now more cannabis dispensaries in Colorado than McDonalds or Starbucks. FN4

Cannabis is not harmless, and increased use through legalization will have health consequences.

In 2016, the American Medical Association reaffirmed its evidence-based position that cannabis is a “dangerous drug and as such is a public health concern.” FN5

Dan McConchie

In 2017, the National Academy of Sciences completed its comprehensive report on the health effects of cannabis, considering over 10,000 medical studies. FN6

The National Academy of Sciences found

  • “conclusive,”
  • “substantial,” or
  • “moderate”

evidence for the benefits of cannabis were limited to the following:

As for the dangers or morbidity-inducing effects of cannabis, the National Academy of Sciences found “conclusive,” “substantial,” or “moderate” evidence that cannabis use:

  • impairs the cognitive domains of learning, memory, and attention;
  • increases the risk of developing schizophrenia or other psychoses, with the highest risk in
    the most frequent users;
  • increases the risk for the development of depressive disorders;
  • increases the incidence of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts, with the highest risk in  the most frequent users;
  • increases the risk of suicidal completion;
  • increases the risk of substance abuse dependence and substance abuse disorder for substances including alcohol, tobacco, and other illicit drugs;
  • increases the risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease;
  • worsens respiratory symptoms and the frequency of bronchitis episodes;
  • increases the risk of a motor vehicle accident;
  • (when used by mothers during gestation) lowers infant birth weight; and
  • increases the risk of suffering from social anxiety disorder. FN8

David McSweeney

Of particular note, is the finding that far from being a substitute, cannabis use actually increases risk of abusing alcohol, opioids, and other intoxicating substances.

Moreover, the prospect that cannabis legalization might forge a broader path to opioid abuse in counties, like McHenry, which have been hit hardest by the catastrophic effects of the opioid epidemic, is chilling.

Recently, the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that respondents who reported cannabis use in the last year were nearly three times as likely to initiate prescription opioid misuse. FN9

Similarly, the CDC found that cannabis users are more than three times as likely than non-users to become addicted to heroin. FN10

Legalizing cannabis will also have far-reaching social consequences, especially in the arenas of crime and the safety of roadways.

After legalization in Colorado, the number of traffic deaths where the driver tested positive for cannabis more than doubled from 55 to 125, with overall traffic deaths increasing 16% from 481 to 608.

Any increase in traffic deaths due to a controlled substance is unacceptable in a state whose strategic highway safety plan has a goal of zero traffic fatalities.

Studies have repeatedly demonstrated that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary component of cannabis, impairs the motor performance (e.g. reaction time, tracking) and cognitive function (e.g. attention, decision making, impulse control, memory) needed for safe driving in a dose-related manner.
= = = = =
FN8 Id.
FN9 Mark Olfson, Maldie M. Wall, Shang-Min Liu, & Carlso Blanco, Cannabis Use and Risk of Prescription Opiod Use Disorder in the United States, AM. J. OF PSYCHIATRY, (Sep. 26, 2017),
FN10 Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Today’s Heroine Epidemic Infographics, (last visited Nov. 18, 2018).
= = = = =

Steve Reick

Performance impairments are maximal during the first hour after smoking and decline over the course of approximately four hours after use. FN11

The problem is that there is no standardized or scientific test to determine whether a person is “high” or “under the influence” of cannabis at any given time. Unlike alcohol that is water soluble, THC is hydrophobic and fat soluble.

This means that THC, unlike alcohol, is mostly eliminated from the blood within 30 minutes after ingestion, migrating quickly to fatty parts of the body like the brain.

While the degree of alcohol impairment correlates fairly well with blood alcohol concentration, THC blood concentration is not closely related to impairment.

Accordingly, blood or urine screens, usually acquired hours after a defendant was involved in a motor vehicle crash or arrested for DUI, are mostly ineffective in informing law enforcement of the degree to which a suspect was impaired by THC when driving. FN12

Field sobriety tests are equally problematic. Accepted field sobriety tests, such as the one-leg-stand and walk-and-turn, were designed and proven to identify drivers under the influence of alcohol, not THC.

While there is a 12-step drug recognition program officers can use, it can only establish whether a driver has recently ingested one of seven drugs, including THC, not whether he or she was under the influence to the extent that driving was impaired.

Allen Skillicorn

In view of the foregoing, Illinois is currently ill-equipped to combat the lethal threat of driving under the influence of THC.

This is especially true for impaired drivers that have caused serious crashes, are taken to the hospital themselves, and not made available for interview/observation by police until after they are medically treated.

Short of an admission of guilt, law enforcement in many cases will be left with little evidence of THC impairment by which to hold the impaired driver accountable and provide justice on behalf of victims.

In addition to causing more traffic deaths, cannabis legalization may also increase crime.

After legalization in Colorado, crime increased 11% between 2013 and 2016, compared with 0.3% for the rest of the Country.

Violent crime saw the largest increase, increasing 25% since 2013. FN13

In 2016, the District Attorney of Colorado Springs reported out that 8 out of the 22 homicides from that year were related to cannabis. FN14

= = = = =
FN11 R. Andrew Sewell, James Polling, & Mehmet Sofuoglu, The Effects of Cannabis Compared with Alcohol on Driving.
FN18 AM. J. ADDICT. 185 (2009), available at; Rebecca L.
Hartman & Marilyn Huestis, Cannabis Effects on Driving, 59 CLIN CHEM (2012), available at
FN13 COLORADO CRIME STATISTICS, (last visited Nov. 18, 2018).
FN14 Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact 121 (Vol. 5, October, 2015), available at
= = = = =

Some of the increased crime can be explained by high-risk populations migrating to Colorado (e.g. 30% of the surveyed 500 newcomers at Salvation Army Crossroads Homeless Shelter acknowledge coming to Colorado because cannabis was legal). FN15

Dan Ugaste

The primary explanation, especially for the violent crime, may be more sinister.

Specifically, the permissive legal and cultural environment in Colorado has attracted drug cartels, which have moved in and set up grow operations in plain-sight.

These cartels first take advantage of the black market in Colorado, made up consumers who do not wish to pay the exorbitant cannabis tax or prefer not to be seen going into a cannabis dispensary.

Mostly, however, cartels are using Colorado as a base of operations to traffic cannabis to surrounding states. FN16

Since legalization, organized crime filings have skyrocketed, going from 1 to 40. FN17

Lieutenant Mark Comete of the Colorado Spring Police Vice and Narcotics Unit commented that legalization “has done nothing more than anything to enhance the opportunity for the black market.” FN18

Tom Weber

The DEA has also weighed in, reporting that in 2014, there had been a noticeable increase in “organized networks of sophisticated residential cannabis grows in Colorado that are orchestrated and operated by drug trafficking organizations.” FN19

Cannabis legalization will do nothing to reduce prison populations.

Despite claims to the contrary, no one, not ever, is being sentenced to prison for possessing small or moderate amounts of cannabis in Illinois.

In 2016, Illinois decriminalized cannabis, making those in possession of 10 grams (i.e. a sandwich bag) or less subject only to a fine.

Over the last three years, only two defendants in McHenry County were sent to prison on a cannabis related offense, both of whom were involved in high-volume trafficking.

Patrick Kenneally

We do, however, imprison defendants for violent crime, which as discussed, will likely increase considerably.

As we continue to trudge the long road out of the opioid epidemic, borne from the outsized promises and cherry-picked science of the pharmaceutical industry, it is disheartening to see legislators willing to unleash recreational cannabis with all the driving force of capitalism before the health and social consequences are fully understood.

It is far better to wait for the ongoing experiments in Colorado, Washington, Michigan, and Canada to reach fully mature and conclusive results over the next several years.

This is especially true in view of the fact that once a prohibition is removed, it is not easily restored.

Couching legalization in the idea that it is an unacceptable limitation on freedom or by making analogies to alcohol are easily refuted.

Legalized cannabis is not inherent or necessary to the promotion or sustenance of a free society.
= = = = =
FN15 Id. at 128.
FN6 See Id. at 159; see Legal pot hasn’t Stopped Colo. black market, USA TODAY (April 4, 2014, 5:52 PM),; see Sally
Mamdooh, Mexican drug cartels are taking full advantage of Colorado’s marijuana laws, DENVER ABC 7 (April 7, 2016, 9:02 PM), news/marijuana/mexican-drug-cartels-are-taking-full-advantage-of-colorados-marijuana-laws; see Briar Stewart, Why Colorado’s black market is booming 4 years after
legalization, CBC NEWS (May 28, 2018, 4:00 AM),
FN18 Legal pot hasn’t Stopped Colo. black market, USA TODAY (April 4, 2014, 5:52 PM),

= = = = =
Freedom is the ability to pursue important human aims, not merely act upon private pleasures.

Public policy need not be oriented toward broadening to the extent possible the tedious amusement a minority find in an intoxicating substance.

Lastly, if cannabis is analogous to alcohol, then that is all the more reason it should remain illegal.

In this State, no substance for so long has been more devastating to the health of citizens, cohesion of families, and fabric of society than alcohol.

I would estimate that alcohol abuse is involved in or upstream of more than 50% of the crimes we prosecute.

While it may be prudent to allow alcohol, which has been in customary use in Illinois since its founding in 1818, to remain legal and strictly regulated, it is another thing entirely to lift a ban on a dangerous substance that is not in customary use in an attempt to ensure that does not become customary.

I welcome the opportunity to remain in close contact with you on this topic as the process unfolds, be a part of the legislative discussion to the extent you believe is helpful, and offer legislative counter-proposals to mitigate harm in the event recreational cannabis appears inevitable.


Patrick Kenneally

How Tax Increment Financing Districts Raise Our Taxes

From Susan Handelsman:

Understanding how TIF Raises Taxes and Lowers Property Values

An easy way to understand how TIF raises taxes and lowers property values of real estate (other than commercial development receiving TIF subsidies) is to look at the model of a universal ‘TIF for All’.

  1. Imagine a TIF encompassing all of Woodstock taxable Equalized Assessed Value (EAV).  Statutory standards to qualify as “blighted” or “in danger of blight” are easily met.

    Tax districts would be denied any increases in tax revenue generated in this 562 acre swath of Woodstock for 23 years. It represents 5% of Woodstock’s current assessed valuation.  All taxpayers in all tax districts getting real estate tax dollars from this property–everyone in McHenry County–will see higher property taxes if this Increment Financing District is approved.

  2. Year one, just like the proposed Woodstock TIF 2, inflationary increment of 6.2% of EAV is diverted to ‘Universal TIF’. That makes the TIF tax rate calculation:  Levy/ 100% Frozen EAV, instead of Levy/ 106.2% of EAV.
  3. Woodstock currently has a property tax rate of 12% of EAV (4% of fair market value).

This ‘NO U. TIF’ example tax rate can be represented as 12/100=.12= 12% of EAV (4% of full fair market value).

If NO U. TIF, Next year, knowing 6.2% EAV inflation is on the books (assuming levy staying the same),

EAV tax rate would’ve dropped to 12/106.2= .11299= 11.30%

  1. In Universal TIF, there is an “incremental tax” revenue owed to TIF, in the amount of 6.2% of EAV multiplied by tax rate.

This would be deducted from the total tax extension, but then the taxing bodies would come up short: the money which would have been paid to taxing bodies is suddenly diverted to UTIF.

Therefore, the levy must be raised by taxing bodies to duplicate the amount which will be diverted to UTIF: That amount of TIF revenue is quantified as: “tax rate times 6.2% of 100% of Frozen EAV”.

New effective tax rate calculation for universal tif:    = 12+(.12 x .062 x 100)/100= .12744= 12.74%

Year zero:  12% of EAV tax rate (4% of total value tax rate).

Year One: If No TIF: 11.30% EAV tax rate (3.77% of total fair market value).*

Year One: Universal TIF: 12.74% tax rate (4.25% of total fair market value).**

Universal TIF causes tax RATES to rise, and tax obligation AMOUNTS per property to rise.

  1. Second year of TIF, with 300 new residential units built, 100+ new students are added, causing D200 to raise levy $900,000. Other taxing bodies follow suit to accommodate increased social service need. That is about 1.5% levy increase.

(1.015 x12) +(.1274 x .062 x 100) /100 = .133899 = 13.39% of EAV tax rate

Year 2 tax Rate calculation, assuming EAV assessments flat from previous year:

Year Two if No TIF: 11.30% of Year Zero EAV tax rate. (3.77% of full fair market value).***

Year Two if UTIF: 13.39% of EAV tax rate. (4.46% of full fair market value).

  1. Going forward, you have the formula. Calculate out a few years. See how quickly tax RATES and tax obligation amounts will rise. Are you one of the lucky few getting a piece of that TIF money that you are a piece of paying for? Can you survive 35 years without it?

*Nominal amounts of taxes stay the same in Year One example, but RATES are lower Because all property values are higher. Lower RATES are critical to the value of local property. If we can get the local RATE down to averages of competing regions (like Crystal Lake, Huntley, Chicago, e.g.) we would have no problem attracting development because our property values are so depressed relative to regions with reasonable p-tax rates.

See Academic studies on TIF property value depression by Dye&Merriman, and Ryan Gallagher on Property Tax Rate Capitalization.

**With TIF, nominal amount of tax payment must rise, in order to pay both full levy to taxing districts AND TIF increment payment. NOTE this is due to normal price inflation, NOT development.

***(no levy increase, because no new TIF residents’ social service provision to pay for).


The Self Defense to Woodstock TIF is: get out of Woodstock taxing bodies’ reach. FORM a SELF-DEFENSE TIF of OUR OWN. If TIF is good for Woodstock politicians to support, it must be a darn good thing and we should all find a way to get into one, and get us some of that TIF money.

Another Reason Jack Franks Didn’t Want Joe Tirio as County Clerk

Joe Tirio

Jack Franks

One of the responsibilities of the McHenry County Clerk is writing minutes of the McHenry County Board.

One would expect that newly-sworn in Joe Tirio will put what happens in County Board meetings.

I don’t usually read meeting minutes, but one can imagine that Board Chairman Jack Franks might prefer to have some things remain unsaid in the minutes.

MCC Teacher Ignores MCC Board’s Opposition Woodstock TIF District

From Woodstock’s Susan Handelsman:

2018 Woodstock TIF 2 City Council Appeal 11-20-18

Woodstock City Council, the only people empowered now to stop Woodstock TIF 2, need to be made aware that the so-called ‘taxpayer’s representative” on the Joint Review Board

  • refused to talk to concerned taxpayers
  • refused to listen to evidence of TIF effect raising taxes
  • refused to present evidence supporting her “Yes” vote on the JRB

Ms. Bonnie Gabel is a teacher at McHenry County College.

She was aware of a Resolution passed by the MCC Board prior to the Joint Review Board vote, condemning the TIF.

Tax districts would be denied any increases in tax revenue generated in this 562 acre swath of Woodstock for 23 years. It represents 5% of Woodstock’s current assessed valuation.

Let me read relevant portions of that resolution:

“WHEREAS, the diversion of tax dollars to the City that would otherwise come to the College and District 200 has real consequences on these institutions and on the students who attend them, and will only exacerbate the financial strain under which District 200 is currently operating;

and WHEREAS, the City previously created and implemented a TIF district, and the resulting benefits to the community were negligible;

and WHEREAS, the College finds that TIF districts are generally a hidden tax hike in that they make available tax giveaways to business by taking money from schools, colleges and other taxing districts in a way that is not transparent; and as a result, just to balance the books to make up for the money lost, other taxing districts must raise tax rates or eliminate services, thereby hurting those not receiving subsidies from the City; and…” [emphasis added]

The TIF Statute makes no provision for forcing a taxpayer representative to do anything other than vote the way that the City managers who appointed her tell her to vote.

BUT: You City Council Members must not take the Yes vote of this woman as in any way indicative of your taxpayers’ interests.

Two no votes from the JRB come from schools.

These are educated, evidence-based objections.

I ask each City Council Member who intends to vote yes to TIF 2 to produce an evidence-based cost benefit analysis using real numbers which are from HERE, not Naperville, refuting the objections of the Woodstock D200 schools, McHenry County College, and the taxpayers.

Lakemoor Police Officer’s Shooting of Murder Suspect Ruled Justifiable Self-Defense

Lake Count Sate’s Attorney Michael G. Nerheim released the following statement today:

Officer-Involved Shooting – July 26, 2018

Four Seasons Boulevard & Sullivan Lake Boulevard

Lakemoor Police Department

On July 26, 2018 shortly after 5:00 a.m., an officer with the Lakemoor Police Department was involved in a shooting within the town of Lakemoor.

After the incident, a request was made for the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force (LCMCTF) to assume this investigation. The LCMCTF deployed a team of investigators to undertake that responsibility.

The LCMCTF then performed the following tasks: Interviewed all witnesses to determine what occurred prior to, during, and after the shooting.

  • Interviewed all witnesses to determine what occurred prior to, during, and after the shooting.
  • Photographed the scene
  • Recovered all physical evidence and video footage
  • Reviewed the autopsy report and findings

The Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office has reviewed all of this information and the applicable laws regarding a police officer’s use of deadly force. This informational release will outline the evidence in this case so that our Lake County Community is fully apprised of what occurred in the early morning hours of July 26, 2018.

Prelude to July 26, 2018 Officer-Involved Shooting

On July 23, 2018, Kenneth Martell tied, robbed, beat, and stabbed to death 88-year-old Theodore Garver in his Beaver Township home in Pennsylvania. After the murder, Kenneth Martell abducted some other individuals at gunpoint and forced them to aid Martell in the disposal of the man’s body. Mr. Martell eventually dumped the body in a lake near Mr. Garver’s residence.

A murder warrant was issued for the arrest of Kenneth Martell. That warrant was pending on July 26, 2018 when Mr. Martell was shot and killed by Lakemoor Police.

Family members of Mr. Martell would later recount to police his abuse of illegal drugs including methamphetamine. Mr. Martell had made statements to friends and family that “cops were going to kill him over a drug bust” and that he was “not going down without a fight.”

Brianna Tedesco Statement

Officer Tedesco is a police officer with the Lakemoor Police Department. She has been with Lakemoor for over 1 year. Prior to that, she had been with the South Holland Police Department and the Darien Police Department.

On July 25, 2018, Officer Tedesco began her shift at 11:00 p.m. and was scheduled to conclude her shift on July 26, 2018 at 7:00 a.m. She was dressed in her duty uniform of shirt, pants, and outer ballistic vest. She had her Lakemoor Police badge and name plate pinned to the outside of her vest. She was wearing a duty belt which included her standard duty gear. Officer Tedesco was wearing a body camera and a squad camera microphone. The microphone was clipped to her left shoulder.

During her shift, Officer Tedesco was driving a marked police SUV squad equipped with emergency lights and siren. She was assigned to the Lake County District in Lakemoor and was patrolling its subdivisions. She was driving northbound on Four Seasons Boulevard when she spotted an SUV backed onto a gravel path. The vehicle had its lights off. Officer Tedesco pulled into the area facing this suspicious vehicle. She engaged her squad lights. Officer Tedesco notified her location to the dispatcher. She noted that there was no license plate on the front of the car. Officer Tedesco activated her body camera and synced it with her squad camera.

Officer Tedesco approached the vehicle. She observed a man (later identified as Kenneth Martell) in a reclined position. She then shined a flashlight on him. Mr. Martell sat up, started his car, and rolled his window down. He stated that he had been napping. Mr. Martell then stated that he was from Pennsylvania, was heading west, and had found his current location “by accident.”

Mr. Martell was asked for his driver’s license. He stated he didn’t have one. Officer Tedesco asked for any document that might have his name on it. Mr. Martell looked around his car and inquired as to whether he had done something wrong. Officer Tedesco assured him that she was checking on him because he was parked on private property.

Mr. Martell then stated that his name was “James Dunkin.” Officer Tedesco asked for the exact spelling, his date of birth, and the state issuing his license. She provided dispatch with this information. Martell was advised that they would be ensuring that he had no warrant for his arrest.

Officer Tedesco walked to the back of the car and wrote down the license plate number. Officer Tedesco advised fellow Officer Lioacono, by radio, that her location was “just past the townhouses pulled off the roadway on Sullivan Lake Road.”

Officer Tedesco was notified by the dispatcher that there was no record for the name provided by Mr. Martell. Martell was advised of this fact. Officer Tedesco again asked Mr. Martell for any document that would have his identity on it. Martell looked around the car and turned the interior light on. In the meantime, Officer Tedesco notified dispatch of the car’s license plate number.

Mr. Martell, at this point, handed a piece of paper to Officer Tedesco. As the officer was reviewing the paper handed to her, a noise could be heard as Martell was looking down at the inside of the driver’s door.

Mr. Martell reached out the window and pointed a handgun directly at Officer Tedesco. Officer Tedesco looked up and saw the gun being pointed at her. Officer Tedesco believed that Martell pulled the trigger of the gun. It did not fire. She immediately pulled the gun with her right hand and pushed it away from her. Officer Tedesco then dropped the items in her other hand and used both of her hands to push the gun down and back into the driver’s vehicle. As Officer Tedesco struggled for Martell’s gun, she attempted to call on her radio. Martell grabbed her hand to prevent her from calling for help. He reached out and grabbed Officer Tedesco and pulled her back towards the car. Officer Tedesco then saw Martell reaching for a second gun. Officer Tedesco was in fear for her life and believed that Martell was about to kill her.

It was at this point that backup Officer Anthony Loiacono appeared at the scene. Officer Loiacono approached the vehicle. Officer Tedesco pulled away from Martell’s car. As she moved back, Officer Loiacono fired a single round at Mr. Martell. Martell fell back in the seat. Officer Loiacono eventually unlocked the car and opened the door. He located two handguns inside of the car.

Radio command was then immediately notified of this officer-involved shooting and Officer Loiacono requested an ambulance to be sent to the scene.

Officer Anthony Loiacono Statement

Officer Anthony Loiacono is a police officer with the Lakemoor Police Department. He has been with Lakemoor since 2016. Officer Loiacono has 14 years of law enforcement experience including tenures with the Crestwood (IL) Police Department and the Palos Park (IL) Police Department.

In the early morning hours of July 26, 2018, Officer Loiacono was wearing his standard patrol uniform. His shirt displayed Lakemoor Police patches on both shoulders. His vest carrier displayed a police badge and name plate. Officer Loiacono’s duty belt included standard officer gear including a Glock 21 handgun. Officer Loiacono was driving a fully marked Lakemoor Police Ford Explorer.

On the morning of July 26, 2018 at approximately 4:58 a.m., Officer Loiacono was at the Lakemoor Police Department doing paperwork. Officer Loiacono heard a radio communication that Officer Tedesco had located a suspicious vehicle on Sullivan Lake Boulevard. Officer Loiacono left the station and proceeded toward Officer Tedesco’s location to provide cover.

As Officer Loiacono was driving, he continued to monitor radio traffic. He heard that the name and date of birth provided to Officer Tedesco had been run through the system and came back with no record of any individual with those identifiers.

Officer Loiacono, believing that this individual may be providing a false name and could be wanted, increased his speed to promptly get to the location.

Officer Tedesco requested the location of Officer Loiacono. When Officer Loiacono responded, Officer Tedesco gave more exact details of her precise location.

Officer Loiacono pulled up to the rear of Officer Tedesco’s vehicle. His windows were down. He could hear Officer Tedesco screaming at an individual. Officer Loiacono put his squad in park and quickly got out to assist his partner.

Officer Loiacono observed that Officer Tedesco was in a physical struggle at the driver’s door of a vehicle. The driver looked as if he was trying to pull Officer Tedesco into the car through the driver’s window. Officer Tedesco was able to take a step away from the driver’s door. At this point, the driver (now known as Kenneth Martell) raised his hands. Each hand had a revolver in it. Mr. Martell pointed both revolvers in the direction of Officer Loiacono. Officer Loiacono stated that he now was in fear for his life and the life of Officer Tedesco. Officer Loiacono stated words, to the effect, of “drop it.” Officer Loiacono then drew his own weapon and pointed it at Mr. Martell. Officer Loiacono then leaned slightly to his right and fired one round at Martell’s face. Martell’s body slumped back in the driver’s seat.

Officer Loiacono radioed dispatch that shots were fired and requested that command staff be notified and that an ambulance be dispatched to the scene. Officer Loiacono then asked Officer Tedesco to cover him as he approached Mr. Martell. Mr. Martell remained unresponsive. Officer Loiacono opened the driver’s door. Two revolvers were laying next to Martell in his lap area. The guns were removed from the car. Officer Loiacono then tended to Mr. Martell and could see that no life-saving efforts could be attempted to save his life. Dispatch later notified both officers that Martell was wanted for the offense of murder in the state of Pennsylvania.

The weapons found near the lap of Mr. Martell were:

  1.  A Colt Police Positive .38 caliber revolver (fully loaded)
  2.  A Rohm GMBH Sontheim/Brz 22 caliber magnum revolver (unloaded)

During a subsequent search for evidence in a wooded area near the shooting site, the following was located:

Mr. Martell had hidden a large number of weapons including rifles, shotguns, crossbows, and ammunition.

Accompanying this weaponry were court documents, bail bond documentation, and a criminal summons all in the name of Kenneth Martell.

Also located within the area was stolen property and identification cards of Mr. Martell’s Pennsylvania murder victim Theodore Garver.

Post-Mortem Examination

An autopsy was performed on the body of Kenneth Martell on July 26, 2018. The examination showed that Kenneth Martell died from a single gunshot wound to the head.

Toxicology Results

  • Amphetamine 24 ng/ml
  • Methamphetamine 36 ng/ml
  • Delta-9 Carboxy THC 29 ng/ml
  • Delta-9 THC 1.1 ng/ml

Audio and Video Evidence

Audio and video recordings of this event were captured via officer worn body cameras and police squad video recordings.


Based upon the facts gathered in this investigation and a review of the applicable Illinois Statutes, Officer Loiacono acted reasonably and appropriately.

Officer Tedesco was on duty, in uniform, and driving a marked Lakemoor Police Department squad. Officer Tedesco observed a suspicious vehicle backed onto a path on private property with no headlights illuminated.

Officer Tedesco radioed for backup. Officer Tedesco approached the vehicle on foot.

Officer Tedesco wanted to ensure the well-being of the occupant and to determine why he was located in that area. Officer Tedesco asked for some identification.

The occupant, Mr. Martell, provided a fictitious name to Officer Tedesco.

When Officer Tedesco determined that there was no record for the name Mr. Martell provided, she asked for some written identification.

Mr. Martell handed the officer a piece of paper.

As the officer was reading the document, Martell produced a handgun and pointed it directly at her head.

It became apparent that the tender of a piece of paper was designed to distract Officer Tedesco from what Martell was about to do.

A struggle for the gun ensued.

As this was taking place, Officer Loiacono arrived at the scene.

Officer Loiacono saw this struggle taking place and heard Officer Tedesco screaming.

Officer Loiacono thought that the driver of the car was trying to pull Officer Tedesco into the car through the driver’s window.

Officer Loiacono continued to advance on foot toward the altercation.

At one point, Officer Tedesco was able to take a step back from the driver’s door.

Mr. Martell then raised both of his hands.

Each hand was holding a revolver. As Martell raised both hands in the direction of Officer Loiacono, he believed that he and fellow Officer Tedesco were both in danger of being shot to death. Retreat was not an option.

With both officers within feet of a man armed with two handguns, only one option remained for the officers: To defend themselves.

It was at this point that Officer Loiacono drew his weapon and fired one shot at Mr. Martell.

Martell was killed by that single shot. Dispatch was then immediately notified of this shooting.

During this entire interaction, Officer Tedesco was respectful, thorough, and conducted herself as a consummate professional.

Martell’s acts of deception and lies to Officer Tedesco were a prelude to an ambush.

That ambush resulted in Officer Tedesco coming face to face with Martell and his two handguns.

It was only through her immediate reaction to this trap that she was able to save herself.

Her quick actions and fight for the gun allowed additional time for her partner to arrive at the scene.

Her partner was then able to end this deadly confrontation.

The acts of these two skilled officers were masterful and indicative of two people acting in self-defense.

The motivation for Martell’s actions became apparent after the shooting took place:

He was a man wanted for the Pennsylvania murder of 88-year-old Theodore Garver, a crime which had occurred three days earlier.

In accordance with the policy of my office with respect to officer involved shootings involving death, I am making the case file open and available to the public.

Transparency is essential to promoting public trust.

Please note that due to ethical, legal and privacy issues, not all of the case file can be made public and some of the reports that have been made public have been redacted.

This file will be available in the coming weeks on the State’s Attorney website to anyone who wishes to review the material.

This case, once again, highlights the incredibly dangerous jobs that our law enforcement officers endure.

Every encounter that they experience can, without warning, turn deadly.

I would like to express my condolences to the family of Theodore Glover.

And though Kenneth Martell’s death was a consequence of his own actions, I express sympathy to his family.

I would also like to acknowledge the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force for its expertise, dedication, and thoroughness.

I would like to commend the extraordinary professionalism exhibited by Officer Tedesco and Officer Loiacono during these trying circumstances.

And lastly, my thanks to the citizens of Lakemoor for their patience and cooperation in this matter.

-Lake County State’s Attorney Michael G. Nerheim

Comments on Township Abolition by Referendum Legislation – Part 1

State Rep. David McSweeney’s legislation to allow voters to eliminate township government has garnered a number of comments.  Some of the more cogent ones are below:

From “An American:”

If McHenry County has to pick up the tabs for any debts and obligations, shouldn’t McHenry County voters get a say on it?

Seems like if you can just schluff off your responsibilities on the rest of the county, and now that cost is dispersed among more people then you’d be better off, but the person outside of the township being abolished would be worse off.

Why should county taxpayers be responsible for what an individual township did when many of the people in the county live outside of the township and had no responsibility or say-so in the township’s matters?

[To the best of my knowledge, only Dunham Township has outstanding debt and that is what remains of a $1 million bond issue for road improvements.]

Didn’t Franks tell a newspaper that an IGA could be worked out as they hash out the details?

How will an IGA work when the unit must be abolished after 60 days?

Wouldn’t the entire transition have to occur within 60 days?

There wouldn’t be any township employees after that point, right?

What happens to elected officials if a township abolishes itself?

Will they still get paid the yearly salary?

Will they have to be paid until the end of their term?

Who will pay them if the township is abolished?

Will this open up the possibility of lawsuits?

Why is McSweeney using the state to force a 10 percent cut on local governments?

How is it conservative to micromanage local governments?

I think McSweeney has jumped the shark again.

The guy seems to really enjoy chasing headlines.

Ask him a policy question on FB or Twitter and watch him ignore you…

He has no idea what he’s doing.

Another clown!

“Out of towner” answers the township debt question:

Debt outstanding based on latest reports filed with the State Comptroller:

  • Chemung $906,398
  • Dunham $579,100
  • Greenwood $154,574
  • Hebron $369,373
  • Marengo $154,502

Total $2,163,947

All other Townships showed zero.

McHenry County reported their outstanding debt at $ 85,748,432.

The McHenry County Conservation District reported indebtedness of $95,370,000.

Rep. Steve Reick Offers Theory for Rep. David McSweeney’s Delay in Sending Township Abolition Bill to Governor

State Rep. Steve Reick offers the following hypothesis for State Rep. David McSweeney’e delay in sending his House Bill 4617 to Governor Bruce Rauner.

The bill would allow voters in any McHenry County township to petition for a referendum to abolish their township with duties and resources turned over to county government.

McSweeney’s Frank(s)enstein Update

McSweeney & Franks

NW Herald, AP File Photo

There seems to be some question as to the current status of H.B. 4637, Representative David McSweeney’s bill to eliminate townships in McHenry County that slithered through the House on the last day of veto session.

In a story in the Northwest Herald, the timing of when the bill would be sent to the Governor was discussed:

McSweeney did not give a definitive date of when he plans to send the bill to the governor. Gov. Bruce Rauner’s last day in office is Jan. 14, when he must relinquish his desk to Democrat J.B. Pritzker.

“I’ll send it when I’m ready,” McSweeney said.

He’s able to control the time that the bill will be sent to the Governor by filing a “Motion to Reconsider” the vote pursuant to Rule 65 of the Rules of the Illinois House which states in part:

(a)…When the motion to reconsider is made during the last 3 days of April or any time thereafter during the regular session, or at any time during a veto or special session, any member may move that the vote on reconsideration be taken immediately. The member who filed the motion to reconsider may withdraw the motion at any time by filing a notice of withdrawal with the Clerk

(d) When a motion to reconsider is made within the time prescribed by these Rules, the Clerk shall not allow the bill or other subject matter of the motion to pass out of the possession of the House until after the motion has been decided or withdrawn.

What this says is that Representative McSweeney is afraid that Governor Rauner would heed the wishes of 21 members of the McHenry County Board and veto the bill if it landed on his desk. He’s going to put a “brick” on the bill until J.B. Pritzker is inaugurated, figuring he’ll sign it.

I’m sure that Representative McSweeney will portray this oleaginous attempt to grease the skids as we move toward the consolidation of power within McHenry County as his first measure of bipartisanship in the new administration. I can’t wait to see the photo of the signing ceremony.

I’ve said all I’m going to say about this bill, it’s now in the political realm. When Algonquin Township votes to eliminate itself, and all those legal fees end up on your property tax bill after they get moved up to the County for payment, just remember who made it happen. Folks, it’s up to you.

Mary McClellan Seeks Another Perch on the Public Payroll, Joe Gottemoller Also Applies

Joe Gottemoller

Mary McClellan

A press release from the Illinois Supreme Court reveals that former McHenry County Clerk Mary McClellan seeks to be appointed an Associate McHenry County Circuit Court Judge.

She ran for the Republican Party nomination for Circuit Court Judge last spring and came in third with 25% of the vote.

She apparent;y has been working for Commonwealth Edison while serving as County Clerk.

Another political figure interesting in being appointed an Associate Judge is former County Boar Chairman Joe Gottemoller, who lost his seat on the County Board in November’s election.


Here re the applicants listed in the press release:

Sole practitioners

The seal of the 22nd Circuit Court.

  • William J Bligh
  • Steven W. Jaenicki
  • Dawn M. Roth
  • Jeanette M. Schwemler


  • Jeffrey J. Altman (Donahue and Walsh)
  • Kevin A. Chzanowski (Zukowski, Rogers, Flood and McArdle)
  • Michael G. Cortina (SmithAmundsen)
  • Michael J. Fleck (head of his own law firm)
  • Joseph Gottemoller (head of his own law firm)
  • Nicholas Johnson (Querrey and Harrow)
  • Thomas J. Kasper (Mohr, Sullivan and Kasper)
  • Cynthia D. Lamb (Campion, Curran, Lamb and Cunabaugh)
  • Hans A. Mast (Compton Law Group)
  • Mary E. McClellan (County Clerk when applied, associate with Com Ed)
  • Cynthia A. Schaupp (Walker Wilcox Matousek and Special Attorney General)
  • Thomas B. Spencer (Roth and Melei)

Assistant State’s Attorneys

  • Sharyl D. Eisenstein
  • Scott J. Jacobson
  • Robert J. Zalud

Each Circuit Court Judge gets a vote.