Memoir of George Wells – Part 3

Yesterday and the day before, McHenry County Blog ran installments 1 and 3 of what might be considered a review of former Crystal Lake Mayor George Wells’ memoir, “It’s That Way Everywhere, George.” The third installment follows.

Wells gives his take on public service,

”I have one personal fatal flaw: I will not sell out my soul and ruin professional careers of good public servants to further my personal ambitions.”

Wells relates how the establishment ousted Lake in the Hills Village President Tina Thornrose from office.

He compares her sale of an insurance policy to a group seeking a liquor license at a local festival with Bill LeFew’s wife’s sale of insurance to “two establishments that have city liquor licenses in Harvard, where LeFew was mayor and liquor commissioner for three years,” LeFew quotes a December 23, 1996, Chicago Tribune article.

The title of the article?

Insurance deals raise questions,
County politicians tell 2 separate stories

He identified with Thronrose because

”We both were award of some highly irregular activities taking place and the ‘good old boys’ who had the legal system and the news media in their pockets were going to get rid of us all costs because if we were successful in our attempts to clean up the messes that were solidly in place when both of us came into office, there were going to be several individuals in deep trouble with the law.”


”Tina Thornrose and George Wells, who unexpectedly won elections that put them in offices where they soon were able to learn of the underbelly of the political system in their communities and in McHenry County, were favorite targets of the Northwest Herald newspaper located in Crystal Lake.”

Earlier, Wells, who flight a fighter plane in Vietnam, wrote a similar summary of his opinion of McHenry County’s political arena:

”I am not sufficiently articulate to describe the complete revulsion that I felt when I continually witnessed the blatant disregard for the principles of democracy and adherence to the rule of law in Crystal Lake and McHenry Count that we presumably had been fighting for and giving lives for in Vietnam.”

Wells makes a pretty big deal about the mayor he beat, Carl Whede, being a real estate salesman. Whenever I see a city official enter the real estate game my eyebrows go up. I’ll freely admit that.

As I read the book, however, Wells uses Whede’s listing of former Lakewood Village President Harry Benoy’s lake front home with Whede as evidence of some quid pro quo.

What Wells does not know is that Whede and Benoy knew each other from the First United Methodist Church. I think that is at least as good an explanation as Benoy’s trying to reward Whede for siding with Lakewood on lake issues. Benoy was not in village government when the home was sold, if my memory serves me correctly, but I may be wrong. In any event, Benoy left office in 1989.

There was one mistake that brought a chuckle to my throat. Wells identifies CCAPOA as the “Crystal Cove Annex Property Owners Association.” I have never heard of Crystal Cove, but there are about 125 homes in Crystal Lake in the subdivision where I reside: Country Club Additions Property Owners Association. The other approximately 300 are in Lakewood.

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You can order the book by typing in the author’s name on this internet page. As I said in the second installment of this review, if anyone else would like to weigh in the on the book, please email your thoughts to McHenry County Blog.

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