NWH Reader Wonders What Happened with IMRF Probe of McHenry County Board Pensions

The following letter to the editor of the Northwest Herald is reprinted with permission of its author, Cary resident Rachael Lawrence:

In February, Jack Franks and IMRF Director Louis Kosiba met with the Northwest Herald regarding County Board members meeting the threshold to qualify for IMRF pensions.

In early March, Franks requested a special prosecutor, writing: “We believe that there is enough evidence to show that there is potential criminal activity or at the very least civil liability for many of the county board members.”

End of March, the McHenry County state’s attorney withdrew his request for a special prosecutor.

Northwest Herald, will there be any further investigation of this story? How has the IMRF’s investigation progressed since February? Has the IMRF found any wrongdoing? Or were the allegations brought by Franks to create headlines prior to breaking his 2014 promise to not run for county board chairman?

Final question: will Franks denounce his pension and save taxpayers over $2 million in lifetime retirement benefits?


Comments

NWH Reader Wonders What Happened with IMRF Probe of McHenry County Board Pensions — 11 Comments

  1. Again Cal, your pension costs taxpayers right now.

    Can you send some of it back?

  2. Applying Occam’s Razor to this:

    – criminal investigations take a long time.

    – a special prosecutor may not be required to for any indicted board members.

    – similar pension fraud cases are often tried in the plaintiff’s locus of operations, not the defendant’s.

    A number of board members have admitted in writing(on this blog) to filing for those pension benefits, with grade school level excuses of “it’s hard to read” or “I didn’t understand”.

    Oddly enough, none of them have resigned- if you lack the mental capacity to understand a sime document, you are mentally unfit to serve on the board.

    What is strikingly absent from the author’s letter was the results of her emails and telephone calls to Jack Franks and to the investigating authority.

    No need for facts here.

  3. Tom,

    Did I miss Cal’s announcement that he is running for office?
    If not, who cares what he does with his pension?

    You must be suggesting that all teachers and school administrators give up their pensions too, if you are going to be intellectually honest on this subject.

    Those are the pensions that are driving the state into bankruptcy.

    Jacko should make that demand to the teachers union.

    Let us know when he does.

    I believe it was Jacko who made an issue of pensions and the need to eliminate them to reduce taxes.

    Does that only apply to people he is going to compete with for an elected position?

    If Jacko was really focused on reducing taxes, he would lead by example and renounce his own career politician pension, which is more than all the board members combined.

    We are waiting…

  4. John,

    I do know that Cal has kept his political war chest.

    So, one could not rule out another move.

    Right?

    I would not ask teachers, firefighters, and others who have earned a pension to give it up.

    That is unless one started a discussion regarding another’s pension earned under the same rules as the one being questioned.

    Why do you ask Franks to “lead by example” when his pension is under the same rules as Cal’s?

  5. As of June 30, 2016, the Skinner Campaign Fund had $990 + $17,116 for a total of $27,016.

    The Supporters of Jack D Franks fund had $48,328 + $523,948 Investments for a total of $572,276.

    ++++

    As far as pensions being earned.

    The pay hikes, benefit hikes, and pension under funding variable were never clearly disclosed to the taxpayers, and still is not to this day.

    It is an opaque system.

    Legal but not full disclosure.

    The benefits and pay were hiked while the pensions were already underfunded.

    Most of the benefit hikes were underfunded or unfunded.

    It was a system of campaign contributions, votes, and election assistance in exchange for pay and benefit hikes.

    Legal.

    But it was not done in a sustainable fashion.

    And protecting the pensions was never the goal.

    If protecting pensions was the goal, more money would have gone to fully funding pensions, rather than hiking pay and benefits.

    The whole system is a scam on the taxpayer.

    A legal scam.

    Can all the pensions in all 20 pensions in Illinois be paid in full.

    Probably not.

    Who knows how it will shake out.

    But there will be a lot of angry people.

    And if the past political power of the unions is any indication, the taxpayers and bondholders will end up on the short end of the stick.

    If anything the teachers, firefighters, and police have not been upfront with the taxpayers.

  6. The States Attorney is not actively looking at this any more. They withdrew their request for a Special Prosecutor when they realized it was just a political stunt by Franks.

    The Board also, under Mike Walkup’s leadership, eliminated the pensions for all future terms, effective December 1st of this year.

    The IMRF forms do not mention that there is any hourly requirement.

    About 30 counties in the state also participated in IMRF.

    The hourly requirement is not for individual members but is a statement by the Board that the job of Board Member as customarily performed would normally entail that number of hours.

    This determination was made a Board in the 90’s with no discussion and that information was never transmitted to subsequent board members when they signed up. Human Resources never informed anyone and it was on the sign up forms.

    I don’t know how anyone would have even thought to try and investigate that and the fact is that no one, out of hundreds of county board members throughout the state, ever did so.

    Meanwhile, Franks was also paying into a pension which pays far far more , is much less adequately funded, and is also for a part time job.

    The General Assembly protects its own and never added an hourly estimate. That’s why he can pontificate about the Board members pensions and not talk about his own.

  7. Tom

    The answer should be obvious.

    Franks is claiming to be focused on reducing taxes and doing away with pensions for part time positions.

    He demands of everyone else what he not willing to do on his own.

    That is not leadership.

    A leader would lead by example and before he asked anyone else to renounce their pension he would have already renounced his.

    Andrew Gasser did.

    Cal is not running for any office.

    If you ask Cal to renounce his pension you need to ask every elected official incuding all who are no longer in office to renounce theirs.

  8. What happened to the IMRF probe?

    I don’t know, this is Illinois, what do you THINK happened?

    Maybe quietly swept under the rug by McHenry County to avoid making its County Board members look bad, including County Board Chairman candidate Mike Walkup?

    Or maybe it was dropped because no one can really stomach Jack Franks’ or Mike Walkup’s antics anymore..?

  9. Correction, no one CAN STAND
    Jack Franks butting into things
    & creating all the media attention
    His annoying EGO CRAVES.

  10. Grundy County had such an issue before McHenry County.

    In Grundy County, the IMRF auditor raised the issue.

  11. Mr. Kosiba at IMRF didn’t mention that at the Jack Franks press conference though.

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