Follow-Up to the Questions Asked on McHenry County Blog Relating to TAG’s Closing

This is from a friend of McHenry County Blog who is concerned by the “irresponsible manner that The Advantage Group has been treated by various government officials.” Answers are provided below each question.  The questions were posed by Patrick Ouimet in a comment to the story, “The Advantage Group (TAG) Sunsets,” an interview with its Executive Director Pat Owens.

708 Mental Health Board entrance

708 Mental Health Board entrance

1. The Advantage Group Foundation is currently under investigation by the Office of the Inspector General of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services for improper billing irregularities. See Northwest Herald Article dated October 18, 2012 entitled “Local treatment center’s billing practices under investigation”.

The investigation of OIG is the result of MHB staff and their attorney’s retribution of TAG because TAG filed a legal suit against the MHB alleging a Sherman Antitrust violation.

The MHB attorney made this report on TAG using information from the MHB Audit (see question 3).

In the ensuing months that followed, the MHB attorney charged the taxpayers of this county hundreds of thousands of dollars to convince the OIG to pursue TAG.

At this time, there is no report, there are no findings, and there has been no communication between OIG to TAG that they are fraudulent.

It appears this is part of an ongoing comprehensive witch hunt.

The current reality of TAG’s closing clearly substantiates the prediction of TAG (posted on the McHenry County Blog in 2012) that the Mental Health Board was trying to shut them down.

2. The improper billing practices under investigation include billing Medicaid and Private Insurers as well as The McHenry County Health Board (another taxpayer funded agency) for the same services performed for the same client. See

The MHB states that they are the last dollar in their contention regarding these improper billing practices.

However, this is in conflict with State practices in which the State is the last dollar in, and the State has always approved a blend of billings to substantiate the cost to deliver treatment.

This means is that if a group session costs $100.00 per person, the State pays $20 towards that service and approves billing other sources to make up the difference.

However, the MHB has arbitrarily decided that TAG could not make up the difference with other billing sources in contrast to how other MHB funded agencies are allowed by the MHB to receive blended funding in order to cover their costs.

3. That the McHenry County Health Board conducted an audit on the agency in question that alleges “the agency’s billing records contained errors and in some cases billed both the mental health board and patients’ private insurance company for the same counseling sessions.” Id.

The “errors in billing” that is constantly referred to by the MHB staff (with no defense allowed to be heard by TAG to date), is based upon 16 clients covering 4 years which amounts to less than 1% of all clients served by TAG over those periods.

The original MHB “Ethics Committee” approved only a one-year retrospective audit, however, the MHB staff once again, defied that mandate and went back four years.The entire MHB audit process completely lacks any professional auditing credibility because the MHB “auditors”

  • had non existent auditing credentials,
  • did not follow establish protocols,
  • did not possess auditing tools or criteria, and
  • hand selected those files that allowed them to arrive at their pre-ordained conclusions to find fault with TAG.

However, in regards to State level audit findings, over the last 26 years the State found 100% compliance and exercised their expertise in conducting multiple tiered in depth audits.

In addition, an independent National auditing firm assessed the entire MHB audit of TAG and identified the following concerns:

  • Only a total of 16 client files were selected for audit covering 4 years (less than 1% of the client files). This is at odds with Generally accepted auditing standards to provide an audit sample that is representative of the population
  • Does not appear that a random sampling method for testing (either statistical or non-statistical) was employed in the client file selection process.
  • As a result, conclusions reached about such a sample cannot be extrapolated to the population as a whole, and in this case the results of the tests appear to have been improperly extrapolated by MHB to the entire population.
  • The conclusions reached by MHB staff were either hastily arrived and inappropriate.
  • Compliance audits performed by the State of Illinois have never found issue with TAG’s billing or processes in any year audited.
Identification on The Advantage Group building.

Identification on The Advantage Group building.

4. That the McHenry County Health Board filed a federal lawsuit seeking the return of $1,083,817.65 in taxpayer monies for disputed services against the agency. Id.

Where is that fact?

You mean that more money is being spent on legal fee’s to now file a Federal Law suit against TAG?

In the interest of transparency to the public, please provide documentation of the filing.

To be sure, a FOIA request should be issued on this matter because it appears this is newsworthy since it is not known to anyone but you.

5. That the agency in question violated IRS rules regulating unlawful political campaign practices by non-for-profit taxpayer funded entities.

Your statement, similar to Ms. Yensen, had no factual basis of IRS rulings on this matter.

Please view the following IRS web site comments regarding the issue of IRS rules regulating this issue.

The IRS Rule

IRS LogoThe IRS uses what is called a “facts and circumstances” test to help it determine whether an organization has violated the prohibition on political campaigning. This means that the IRS will evaluate any potential misconduct within the context of the organization’s other activities and the current political climate. One rule of thumb that is used is whether or not the activity involves 5% or less of the orgainization’s budget i.e. is the activity immaterial to the overall budget of the organization? Also, an activity might be considered political campaigning two weeks before an election, but not two years before an election.

How Does the IRS Find Out About Violations?

Not surprisingly, in the heated atmosphere that usually accompanies a political campaign, people supporting an opposing candidate are often the ones to report any suspicious activities to the IRS. Your organization should remember that people are watching and they will report your group if you appear to intervene in a political campaign in a partisan manner.

Penalties For Violations

If the IRS believes that your organization may have violated the prohibition, it may send a letter or visit your organization for an on-site examination. Although the IRS has the power to revoke your
tax-exempt status, it typically uses this punishment only in the most egregious cases. More likely, the IRS will ask your organization to correct the violation and implement procedures to make sure the
violation will not occur again. If the organization’s funds were used to engage in the prohibited activity, the IRS may also impose excise taxes.

Found on the IRS’s website at

6. That “[TAG] could actually have survived without Mental Health Board funding” as stated by Ms. Owens in the above piece.

Two years ago, TAG was the most financially stable organization of MHB funded agencies.

However, due to the unfounded allegations and ongoing assault of TAG by MHB staff and attorney TAG was not funded by the MHB for over 2 ½ years—yet provided over 20,000 services to approximately 3,500 individuals and families in McHenry County.

It is ironic that TAG cared for and provided critical treatment to our youth in crisis yet the very government agency (MHB) charged with providing funding for these services to our community refused insure this work could continue, and that TAG received the necessary funding to continue to serve McHenry County.


Follow-Up to the Questions Asked on McHenry County Blog Relating to TAG’s Closing — 27 Comments

  1. So it seems to me after two days of reading up on this that almost all the people who wanted to end TAG have now resigned or been fired.

    The only ones left are Larson and Yensen. Where are the Republicans in County Board District 5?

    We need to come together as a party and overthrow this person.

  2. So the light is coming on with the truth.

    Its about time!

    Anyone who has dared question the behind the scenes politics have been met with such viscious attacks from the bloggers on this site that decent people don’t even want to associate with it.

    I hope the libel and slanderous comments and actions of the politicians and all those that have fled from the Mental Health Board or been fired are brought to justice.

    The Mental Health Board to us common people is beyond repair and the behaviors to attack an outstanding organization is beyond deployable.

    We get it.

    Its about time this community gets it.

  3. It’s about time the real facts get out!

    Most of us who are common people are appalled by the vicious attacks of tag on this blog.

    I hope the libel and slanderous attacks by the politicians and those of the mental-health board are brought to justice.

    We watch as everyone on the mental health board either runs for the hills, or is fired and understand there is something seriously wrong with the mental health board and not tag.

    We understand what tag has given to this community and understand that the politicians don’t seem to care.

    What is sad is this does not seem to be linked to either the Democrat or Republican party, but the self interest of a group of individuals who are clearly trying to hide something.

    We in the community say, enough! I agree with those comments before that say get rid of the destructive influences in this county. Decent people are no longer going to tolerate these indecent actions.

  4. Jane, you are right.

    Be sure to expect more vicious attacks though, those that should and will be exposed will fight tooth and nail, to hide their secrets.

    So keep up the comments and all will be exposed.

  5. Is anyone else wondering about the Mental Health Board and their ties to the County Board members of Yensen, Miller, and Hill?

    Are they all Democrats?

    What is wrong with this picture?

    I agree with Jane that anyone who writes anything positive about TAG is attacked which suggests that whoever is behind the scenes is willing to smear anyone to save themselves.

    Thank you “friend of the blog” because it is about time that those of us reading the one sided story actually does not believe that it is TAG but something really corrupt with the Mental Health Board and some County Board members.

  6. The mental health board filed a Federal suit against TAG?


    For two years this Mental Health Board has beat up this organization, not allowed them to defend themselves, and now that they are grasping for air, the MHB is going to spend their (excuse me, our ) 14 million on more of this?

    Two months ago the NW Herald reported the MHB offered an “olive branch”…in what world is filing a Federal suit defined as an olive branch?

    Something is very wrong here and the more I read about the Mental Health Board, the more suspicious I become of their intentions and what they must be hiding.

    What is wrong with these people?

    Who is behind this type of brutality?

    What happened to the words, “We’re sorry, we were wrong, so lets make this right with TAG?

    That is what we expect from our elected officials.

    The taxpayers are not in support of this crap so clean up your mess!

  7. To: The Anonymous Friend Of The McHenry County Blog:

    Thank you for your response. In fairness to the many readers who may not have had time to review this story’s full history, I have taken the liberty of briefly summarizing the facts giving rise to the question asked, the response provided, and this reply. Again, if any of the facts set forth below are incorrect, please feel free to let me know.

    The Advantage Group Foundation (TAG or Agency) is a not-for-profit agency that provides chemical dependency treatment services to adolescents and young adults in McHenry County and elsewhere. According to news reports, TAG receives “about 30% of its funding from the McHenry County Health Board, 30% from the Illinois Department of Human Services Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, and the remaining 40% comes from contracts, private insurance and Medicaid payments.”

    The McHenry County Health Board (MCH) is a community mental health board established by the County of McHenry pursuant to the Illinois Community Mental Health Act, 405 ILCS 20/1 et seq. See; The Advantage Group Foundation vs. McHenry County Mental Health Board, Cause No. 12 C 50374, Memorandum and Opinion (J. Reinhard, April 23, 2013). The MCH levies a tax for the purpose of providing community mental health services and facilities. In the year 2012, the MCH received approximately $13 million in tax revenues to fulfill its mission. Id.

    In or about August – September 2013, TAG requested $49,000.00 dollars from the MCH. Paula Yensen, Democrat County Board member from District 5, and a member of the MCH, initially supported TAG’s funding request. http:// However, after an exhaustive review of TAG’s billing practices, its financial condition, board supervision, and political activities, Ms. Yensen’s initial confidence in TAG and its management led her to conclude that providing TAG with additional taxpayer funds was not in the best interests the taxpayers of McHenry County. Id.

    TAG withdrew its request for additional funding and subsequently closed its doors. . Shortly thereafter, in an article appearing on this Blog entitled “The Advantage Group (TAG) Sunsets” (, Republican County Board members, Michael Walkup and Donna Kurtz, decided to place all blame for TAG’s closing on Paula Yensen while omitting to inform the public of the very real concerns that the MCH and other members of the McHenry County Board had with TAG’s financial mismanagement, investigations over billing irregularities, board supervision, and improper political campaign activities. Id.

    In response to Messrs. Kurtz’s and Walkup’s criticisms, I asked each to respond to the following question:

    “Is it wise for an elected public official to give $49,000.00 in taxpayer monies to an Agency”:

    1. Under investigation for improper billing irregularities by the Office of the Inspector General of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services;

    2. An Agency that was audited by MCH which discovered, upon review of 16 randomly selected patient files from 2008 through 2011, that improper billing documentation time was noted in all sixteen files examined, including but not limited to, multiple funders were billed and paid for the same hours of service, that the agency collected more than its stated charges for services rendered with no evidence that any of the payers were reimbursed, and that service recipients were covered by Medicaid and those services were billed to both Medicaid and MCH with no evidence that the agency refunded the overpayments or reported the billing errors to Medicaid or MCH. See, The Advantage Group Foundation vs. McHenry County Mental Health Board, et al., Cause No. 12 C 50374; United States District Court Memorandum Opinion dated April 23, 2013, J. Reinhard, Judge Presiding; see also “Judge tosses treatment center lawsuit”,

    3. An Agency that was subject to a request by MCH seeking reimbursement of over $1 million dollars in taxpayer monies because the audit concluded “that since 100% of the files reviewed were found not to have had coordination of benefits applied and to have had documentation time improperly billed, using extrapolation, the MCH found all fee for service billings submitted by the agency to MCH to be subject to recoupment for the years 2009, 2010, and 2011 in the amount of $1,083,817.65.” Id.;

    4. An agency, that when asked to respond to the findings and conclusions contained in the MCH audit, chose instead to file a federal lawsuit against MCH and others which was summarily dismissed by the Court. Id.; and

    5. An agency that violated IRS rules prohibiting 501(c)(3) not-for-profits from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective office when the agency hosted a complimentary luncheon at its headquarters for a candidate seeking political office and allowed numerous postings on its corporate Facebook page in support of political candidates. See (IRS Rules & Exemplars of Political Activity Conducted By TAG).

    While Messrs. Kurtz and Walkup have chosen not respond to the question asked, you have done so. Accordingly, I take this opportunity and invitation to submit this reply for your review and consideration.

    A. In your response, you do not dispute that the agency is being investigated for billing irregularities by the Office of the Inspector General. You argue that the investigation was commenced by MCH staff and counsel in retribution for TAG’s filing of a federal lawsuit and that the investigation is simply “part of an ongoing comprehensive witch-hunt”. Irrespective of motive, the fact remains clear: The agency is being investigated by the Office of the Inspector General for improper billing irregularities.

    B. You also do not dispute the fact that the scope of the OIG investigation includes improper billing to Medicaid, private health insurers and MCH for the same services performed for the same client. Rather, you argue that the Agency’s billing practices are lawful and MCH has it wrong. Whether you or MCH has it right or wrong does not call into question the accuracy of the statement that TAG is under investigation by the OIG for improper billing practices.

    C. You do not dispute the fact that MCH conducted an audit of 16 randomly selected patient files from your Agency and found billing errors in each file. Instead, you argue that improper billings amounting to 1% of all clients served is deminimis and that the audit was improperly conducted. Again, whether improper billings in the amount 1% of taxpayers dollars is deminimis as suggested, or that the audit was not properly conducted, in no way detracts from the fact that MCH conducted an audit on 16 randomly selected patients files and found billing irregularities in 100% of those files. Surely, 1% of taxpayers’ dollars, or improperly billing 1% of your clients is not an acceptable business practice. This is all the more true when the money at issue is taxpayer money.

    D. You do not dispute the fact that a federal lawsuit was filed to block MCH’s attempt to recoup over $1 million dollars in taxpayer funds improperly billed. Rather, you argue that it was the agency that filed the lawsuit not MCH. However, you omit to tell the readers that that lawsuit was dismissed by the Court. The point is that MCH is seeking over $1 million dollars on behalf of the taxpayers of McHenry County due to what it believes are improper billing irregularities by your Agency. The argument that it was the Agency that filed the lawsuit is irrelevant.

    E. You do not dispute the fact that the Agency engaged in political activity prohibited by IRS Rules regulating 501(c)(3)’s. You argue that since the IRS has not reprimanded or taken legal action against the Agency at this time, the Agency committed no wrong. Again, whether the IRS decides to take any action against Agency is irrelevant. The fact remains that your agency, a not-for-profit entity, engaged in political campaign activity as evidenced by the documents posted at

    F. Finally, you do not dispute that the Agency advised the public that it could survive without additional taxpayer funding. Instead, you argue that “due to unfounded allegations and ongoing assault of TAG by MHB staff and attorney, TAG was not funded by the MHB for over 2 ½ years … “, and that the MHB … “refused to insure that TAG received the necessary funding to continue to serve McHenry County.” The question is whether the Agency could have survived without MCH funding. On the one hand, the Agency states that it could, and other it claims that its demise was due to lack of funding by the MHB. If the Agency’s statement that it could survive without MHB funding is true, then why would the Agency have asked the taxpayers of McHenry County for $49,000.00 dollars in additional public funds to keep it afloat. If, however, that statement is not true, why would the taxpayers of McHenry County provide additional funding to an Agency under investigation for improper billing activities and financial mismanagement. Would you give your neighbor $50,000.00 dollars of your money if he/she was being investigated for financial mismanagement and told you he/she really didn’t need it? If you wouldn’t, why would expect anything less from an elected official like Paula Yensen.

    Again, the only issue presented is whether it is proper for elected pubic officials to give taxpayer monies to entities such as TAG where the evidence reveals substantial mismanagement, lack of board oversight, billing irregularities, and where the Agency itself says it doesn’t need the money. As an elected County Board member, Paula Yensen is entrusted with a fiduciary responsibility to ensure that taxpayer monies are spent wisely and not wasted. That is exactly what she did in this case.

    Here, a taxpayer funded agency requested $49,000.00 dollars in public monies to fund its operations. Ms. Yensen carefully reviewed the facts and noted that (i) the Agency’s own CEO publicly stated that the Agency did not need the money, (ii) the Agency requesting the taxpayer funds was currently under investigation for improper billing irregularities, (iii) the County itself was seeking recoupment of over $1 million dollars in taxpayer funds due to billing irregularities by the Agency, (iv) the Agency filed a federal lawsuit against the MCH blocking its attempt to recoup the $1million dollars in taxpayer monies and lost, and (v) the Agency engaged in improper political campaign activities prohibited under IRS Rules governing 501(c)(3)’s.

    Based on the above facts, Paula Yensen correctly decided that giving this Agency $49,000.00 dollars in additional taxpayer’s funds, was not in the best interest of the taxpayers of McHenry County or her fiduciary duties to the taxpayers of the County. In my opinion, Paula Yensen was right and should be thanked for her good stewardship and protection of taxpayer funds. Despite the hue and cry, Ms. Yensen’s decision was not about politics, it was about good governance and good stewardship of public funds.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Patrick Martin Ouimet

    Former Chairman of the McHenry
    County Democratic Central Committee

  8. Yes They will make up anything to promote Paula Yenson’s CHARADE…

    That is all this is, a big fat charade to promote a political agenda…

    It is apparent that the Democrats and Paula Yenson are using TAG and Bill Prim as their political pawn.

    If Zinke loses the primary Nygren will come in as a Democrat to compete against Bill Prim. That is a fact.

    Again, this could have been approached in a more sensitive methodical way.

    Instead, Paul Yenson chose to do this in a way that brought shockwaves through the community and put Bill Prim in a negative light, when in fact Bill Prim did nothing wrong.

    And, let’s not forget about the kids; they are the real victims because of Paula Yenson’s actions.

    For that reason, TAG filing for bankruptcy has everything to do with the Sheriffs race..

    Mike Walkup and Donna Kurtz have nothing but good intentions here.

    Clearly, they have taken the middle road and choose to evaluate the TAG situation fairly and objectively.

    On the surface it may appear as if Paula Yenson is trying to do the right things for the community.

    However, these actions are motivated by a “POLITICAL AGENDA”

    Therefore, it appears Paula’s main goal is not cleaning up Mchenry County waste to save the tax payers dollar.

    This is about Paula and her political goals, not the tax payer…

    She is not the kind of person I want to serve the community.

    Here is your chance tax payers to vote her out of office..

    You have the “POWER” of the vote…..

    Bye Paula..

    By the way, her husband Michael Bissett has been asked on several times on this blog if Nygren is planning on running as a Democrat Zinke loses the primary.

    He has never answered me.

    Though, there are others that have tried to do his dirty work by answering for him.

    You are a “COWARD” Michael Bissett.

  9. Last night I attended a packed auditorium at MCC to discuss heroin use in McHenry County.

    It was very moving.

    If there is a more serious public health problem going on right now in McHenry County, I don’t know what it is. I did not see Pat Ouimet there.

    I was not able to answer Pat’s questions, which are re-stated above, when he posted them last week as I was literally on my way out the door to go to the airport for a brief trip.

    Getting back I see that someone, (not myself) has been able to respond.

    I would now like to ask Pat a few questions, that were not really answered at the forum either:

    (1) Now that TAG is gone, who exactly is going to take people with no insurance without making them jump through hoops, travel outside of the county, and sit on a waiting list?

    (2) Now that TAG is gone, who is going to be able to provide outpatient treatment both as an alternative to expensive in patient stays, and as a transition back into the community?

    (3) Now that TAG is gone, who is going to work one on one with the families of the users?

    I look forward to your response.

  10. Wow, Mr. Oimet.

    You assume that less than 1% over 4 years is unacceptable and irresponsible?

    Would that amount to 3.00 a year?

    You fail to mention the competencies of the so called MHB crack auditors which in my world, requires expertise and credentials.

    Lets apply that standard to the performance of the Mental Health Board.


    This does not seem to be about the facts but the political spin that your group continues to conjure up that would make Mother Theresa look like the devil.

    Just to throw in another fact, the MHB is contemplating giving a $79,000 consulting contract to 1 person who works for an agency in Atlanta (out of state) but would refuse to give an agency that serves thousands in the community to keep their doors open!

    You should all be ashamed of yourself.

  11. One more thing…the facts are from the newspaper?

    You have got to be kidding me!

  12. Thankfully, someone finally has the courage to reveal the facts surrounding the MHB and TAG!

    We can only hope that this is just the beginning and that a full blown investigation follows.

    May the ramifications be huge for those of you with unclean hands!

    Friend of the McHenry County Blog, you are to be commended for taking a stand for truth!

  13. Duncan,

    I’m sorry I haven’t been able to attend to your question more quickly.

    Have you been up nights, pacing the floor, wondering when I would next look at this blog and respond?

    I’m sorry I can’t do much to dispel your torment.

    I’ve never talked to Nygren or Zinke in my life, and I’m not a mind reader, so I can’t help you with that interesting theory of yours.

    But I can tell you we don’t slate Republicans on our ticket.

    Blue dogs occasionally, but never Republicans.

    I’ve never met Bill Prim either, but the last Democratic candidate for Sheriff has said good things about him.

    I’m inclined to trust his opinion, and the few Prim supporters I have actually met seem like sincere guys.

    I’ll let the Republicans sort out who they want on their ticket.

    May the best man win.

    If anyone should be steamed about what TAG did, it’s Prim. AFAIK, he does not deserve to be dragged into this.

    I don’t recall anyone saying he did anything wrong, other than perhaps some questionable judgment.

    So what is this “political agenda” you keep referring to? I can’t wait to hear about it.

  14. I am ashamed of those individual board members who pushed out an agency that served the community while signing on an out of state consultant.


    Shouldn’t tax payers money actually stay in the county that they reside or at very least the state they reside?

    I simply cannot believe that they get away with everything that they do.

    How do these people have all this power – while their attention is definitely not directed where it should.

    I personally know several families that credit their children’s lives on the services provided by TAG.

    Are those over paid staff of the MHB willing to give up some of their unrightly earned salaries to help these families?

    I highly doubt it.

    Is there anybody that can step up to the plate and remedy this desperate situation?

    TAG will never be replaced as there are no other agencies that are willing to take families regardless of economic status.

    I am appalled by this situation.

  15. Michael

    Who said that you would be required to know Nygren and Zinke to have a political agenda?

    I have been told by several reliable sources that you have met Nygren and Zinke……..

  16. To Patrick Ouimet:

    Blah, blah, blah!

    The same old unfounded allegations that you and unnamed friends have repeated on this blog and likely passed on to the Northwest Herald.

    Just because you repeat it does not mean it is true.

  17. “JusttryinTogetit” Congrats to all those taking a stand against this stupidity..

    They think that because they can put a spin on the facts it makes their argument true…


    The Northwest Herald does not have the objectivity to to report the news in Mchenry County…

    They backed the false allegations of Bianchi.

    In my opinion, that says enough.

    It is true that Nygren plans to run as a Democrat if Zinke loses the primary against Bill Prim..

  18. I am so glad that someone is willing to present some facts that have some credibility and defended TAG.

    This organization literally saved my family and that is what is lost in all of this.

    Thank you friend of the McHenry County Blog.

  19. Does anyone know what AFIAK means?

    All you have to do is read the doctoral dissertation by Patrick (Do you hire a professional speech writer?) and odd remarks by Bisset to suspect their motives.

    For 26 years TAG has served this community and the Mental Health Board decides to put them out of business?

    Its an old trick, accuse those of what you are guilty of.

    Take a pulse on the average person in the community and you will find that no-one believes it is TAG but the Mental Health Board and its abuse of power.

    14 million dollars is quite a motivator to remain in power,isn’t it?

  20. I am truly saddened about the closing of TAG.

    I fear for the youth of our community that a facility that was so accessable is no longer.

    The misrepresentation of TAG in the newspapers was a total injustice for a facility with so many success stories.

    I would like to thank Cal for enlightening readers to the facts, something other reporters failed to do accurately.

    I would like to know where a family will be able to find treatment for their child, where a young adult with no insurance can receive treatment, along with the courts and schools that depended on TAG’s services.

    Our county has lost one of the most successful drug treatment programs – Our kids have lost more.

  21. Maybe it’s time for a “NON VIOLENT” protest…..

    Calling all citizens from Mchenry County.

    Time to “BOYCOTT THE NORTHWEST HERALD” Ghandi would have called it “Non Violent Protest”

    Remember the Montgomery Bus Boycott, in which African Americans refused to ride city buses in Montgomery Alabama to protest segregated seating?

    As a result, the United States Supreme Court ordered Montgomery to integrate the bus system.

    It’s a thought.

    Come on Mchenry County how about it?

    Cancel your newspaper subscriptions and buy the Tribune….

    Kevin Lyons will have plenty of time to play his favorite game of cards with “DA BOYS”

  22. Thankfully, someone finally has the courage to reveal the facts surrounding the MHB and TAG! We can only hope that this is just the beginning and that a full blown investigation follows.

    May the ramifications be huge for those of you with unclean hands!

    Friend of the McHenry County Blog, you are to be commended for taking a stand for truth!

  23. Oh this smells like a stinker between Bissett and Ouimet.

    We need a full blown forensic audit into the MHB and TAG.

    We need to see what is really going on here.

    The Republicans need to request this immediately.

    Republican Unity can solve this!

  24. The McHenry County Health Board (MCHB) has a duty to make sure it spends precious tax dollars wisely.

    This means making sure the highest value is obtained for our tax dollars, or in other words, making sure that the highest quality service is delivered to the most individuals in need.

    The MCHB is obligated to scrutinize every organization that comes to it for tax payer dollars, and it is the organization’s responsibility to prove that it is worthy of those funds.

    TAG’s conduct in engaging in political activity and paying excessive compensation to its Executive Director demonstrated poor management, that tax dollars were not being well spent, and that it was no longer worthy of additional money from tax payers.

    With respect to whether TAG’s political activity and compensation practices violated the law, IRS regulations and revenue rulings are instructive.

    As set forth in the IRS regulations, all 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. 26 CFR 1.501(c)(3) – 1(c)(3)(i); Rev. Rul. 07-41.

    Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (oral or written) made on behalf of a tax-exempt organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity.

    Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes.

    For organizations to remain tax-exempt, leaders of the organization cannot make partisan comments in official organization publications or at official functions. Rev.Rul. 07-41.

    The TAG sponsored luncheon for Sherriff candidate Prim appears to be a clear violation of the prohibition against tax-exempt organizations engaging in political activity. See Rev.Rul. 07-41, Sit. 9.

    In addition, even if a statement does not expressly tell an audience to vote for or against a specific candidate, an organization delivering the statement is violating the campaign intervention prohibition if there is any message favoring a candidate.

    Significantly, a statement can identify a candidate not only by stating the candidate’s name but also by other means such as showing a picture of the candidate, referring to political party affiliations, or other distinctive features of a candidate’s platform or biography. Rev. Rul. 07-41. Websites (and, thus, facebook) can also constitute political statements. Rev. Rul. 07-41, Websites.

    Here, the numerous political posts on TAG’s facebook page advertising TAG’s favored political candidates would appear to show clear violations of the prohibition on campaign intervention.

    Perhaps most significantly, in 2011, TAG Executive Director Owens received just under $200,000 for only 60 hours of work per week.

    Total revenue for TAG that year was only $770,000.

    Thus, Owens personally received almost 26% of the budget.

    In addition, in 2011, CFO Kalemba received $98,000 for 60 hours of work per week.

    By way of comparison, persons holding similar positions to executive director at other area not-for-profit counseling and treatment centers earned an average of only 7% of their organization’s budget (see chart previously posted here: ).

    Under IRS regulations, “excess benefit transactions” are prohibited. 26 CFR 53.4958-1.

    An excess benefit is the amount by which the value of the economic benefit provided by the tax-exempt organization to any person in a position to exercise substantial influence over the organization, such as an executive director or CFO, exceeds the value of the consideration provided, including the performance of services received for providing such benefit. 26 CFR 53.4958-1(b), 53.4958-4(a) 53.4958-3(c)(2),(3).

    While such persons can be paid reasonable compensation (the amount that would ordinarily be paid for like services by like enterprises, whether taxable or tax-exempt, under like circumstances, 26 CFR 53.4958-4(b)(1)(ii)), given the amount that Ms. Owens was being paid in comparison to others in similar positions, her salary stands out as excessive.

    Excise taxes can be imposed on the excess benefit and the offending organization must take steps to undo the excess benefit transaction and prevent it from happening again or its tax-exempt status could be in jeopardy.

    Regardless of whether the IRS ever took formal action, these activities of TAG established that it was no longer worthy of tax payer dollars.

    Those on the MCHB who scrutinized this organization were simply doing what most taxpayers want: making sure their taxpayer dollars were spent wisely.

    While it is unfortunate that TAG closed its doors, the cause of its collapse came from within.

  25. Adam You have demonstrated that you have no credibility and you are willing to twist the facts to fulfill your own political needs…

    Until you can speak the truth “GO AWAY

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