Algonquin Township Attorney Leads Ethics Session

Reprinted with permission from Illinois Leaks:

Algonquin Township – Is the Circus Ring Leader attorney James Kelly?

McHenry Co. (ECWd) –As we continue to expose malfeasance and illegal activity that took place in the Algonquin Township and Road District during the Bob Miller circus acts, we still can’t believe the things we are finding.James Kelly, the former attorney for both the Township and Road District no longer provides his services to the Township Clerk in her lawsuit nor the Road District in any manner.

He stepped away from those duties due to conflicts.

This is the same attorney who we understand is facing multiple ARDC complaints.

The same attorney who’s billing records reflect billing to the Road District for work done on behalf of a private corporation ran by former Highway Commissioner Bob Miller.

That business was operating out of the public facility.  Coverage of that billing can be found at this link.

Additionally, he billed Algqonquin Road District 5.5 hrs for attending a Highway Commissioner’s meeting and records proved there was no Algonquin Road District meeting that would have justified the bill.

Coverage of that billing can be found at this link.

There is currently a motion in the court for Kelly’s removal as attorney for the Township in our Freedom of Information Act lawsuit due to him being a witness in the case, which would be a conflict.

Why mention all these past events? 

Who knew there was an Illinois Township Attorneys Association?

May 5th, 2017 that association held a training conference in Bloomington.

The conference had several sessions on different topics related to Township business but one, in particular, caught my eye.

“Ethics/Conflicts/Public Dealing with Illegal Procedures”

Any guess who taught that class?  –

James Kelly, Vice President of Matuszewich, Kelly & McKeever.

Yes, the same James Kelly right in the middle of the three-ring circus in Algonquin Township.

Considering the numerous Algonquin Township & Road District ethical issues identified, conflicts of interests, and clearly illegal activity, one can only wonder how any of it happens when their attorney teaches those very issues to others.

Is this an indicator as to why we are seeing so many problems in Township Government in Illinois?

Special thanks to the person that provided us a copy of the mailed flyer sent to Kelly.

Our work is funded entirely thru donations and we ask that you consider donating at the below link. 


Algonquin Township Attorney Leads Ethics Session — 18 Comments

  1. Kirk said at the end of a thread on a previous post that Miller couldn’t take an action while he was Road Commissioner that would bind future holders of that office (ie enter into a contract with a union after he lost re-election) and said there was “plenty of case law” on that subject.

    Would he be so kind as to cite some cases?

  2. P.S. I know there are cases involving vendor contracts but union Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA’s) are a different matter.

    By their very nature CBA’s extend over periods of time which may overlap on successive terms of government officials. You can’t have a new CBA every two years.

    Also the National Labor Relations Act (NLRB) constitutes a public policy statement that CBA’s are favored.

    So I am looking for cases that specifically involve union CBA’s, not vendor cases.

  3. Kelly certified himself as ‘completely ethical.’

    That should take care of everything, he certified Miller that way too.

  4. I had an attorney who worked for Kelly and his firm, Mary Ann Bullion.

    When she left that firm, I asked if I should keep them as my counsel.

    She said, by phone, words to the effect, “I really can’t say anything bad about them.”

    I said, ‘Well, should I stay with them?”

    She said “I’m really not at liberty to say.”

    I said, “What! Can you tell me anything good about them/”

    She said, “No.”

  5. Thanks Billy Bob.

    As you noted, this is an employment contract situation.

    Interestingly the foundation case for the employment contract situation stems from Edgar County over 100 years ago.

    Union agreements by their very nature usually extend for longer periods of time so they may be treated differently.

    Otherwise, we could expect that the union agreement with the County for the Sheriff’s Department would automatically expire every two years or four years when a new Board or Sheriff would be elected.

    The County also has an employment contract with the Administrator which calls for a one year severance in the event that it is not renewed.

    This survives the turnover of Board members.

  6. Cannizzo v. Berwyn Township 708 Community Ruled on in 2001 and cites the Grassini Vs Dupage case and others.

    The foundational history of this law is found in Illinois Supreme court in Millikin v. County of Edgar, 142 Ill. 528, 32 N.E. 493 (1892), for guidance.

    In Millikin, a county board of supervisors employed the keeper of a poorhouse under a three-year contract, notwithstanding the fact that the board members themselves were only elected for a one-year period.

    The governing statute granted the county board the authority to hire such an employee, but did not expressly limit the number of years for which the employed might extend. Millikin, 142 Ill. at 532.

    Of interest, I have yet to find ANY rebuttal from the 150 side on the case law presented.

    They basically ignored the case law, as did the judge by claiming the Road District is not a public body.

    Making a determination they are not a public body brings on yet more problems for 150.

  7. Don’t confuse overlapping a part of a term vs. tying the hands of a complete term.

    Big difference.

    The reason we have elections is to effectuate change.

    If such actions are permitted without specific authority, why have elections? That is language found in these types of cases.

    I have mentioned there are several first impression elements in this case.

    This is one of them as it relates to a CBA, however, the law is solid on similar matters.

  8. I urge everyone to read this case to get a better understanding of how the law is applied.

    Yes, this is a TOWNSHIP case and not a Road District case as to date it has never been brought before the court.

    This is a prime first impression situation.

    Reading the courts reasoning makes it real clear, Miller’s actions were outside the powers granted in our opinion and by all indications, this court case and several others.

  9. Pointing to other public bodies not following the law and history on this does not make it right.

    When it gets challenged it will get shot down unless the law specifically gives the power for such contracts.

    For example, School code permits Superintendents to have 5-year contracts.

    No such provision in the Township or Road District code.

  10. Kirk: Thank you for your response.

    This is a very important question.

    No, the outgoing Road Commissioner should be not able to bind his successor to a union contract.

    We are in complete agreement on that.

    However, somewhat contrary to your previous assertions, there do not appear to be any cases on point either involving a Road Commissioner or a union contract.

    Employment contracts and vendor contracts are different animals.

    Also the Township Code does not mention a Road Commissioner as a township official so the Road District is not part of the township and is governed by the Highway Code rather than the Township Code.

    NLRA law is going to intersect here as well.

    Facts often determine the law and the facts here are very egregious, so who knows.

    However, this may become a federal case due to the NLRA component.

    Lots and lots of attorneys fees will be involved.

    This is what Crooked Bob Miller has saddled the taxpayers of AL township with.

    I do not recall the Northworst as having covered any of this.

  11. Yes, no case law on CGA contracts, thus this is a first impression case, however, the law is well settled that employees perform a governmental function and legislative and governmental functions are not allowed to be done in a manner that binds future officials without specific statutory authority.

    I posted an AG opinion in one of the other posts that explain this.

    Yes, Bound by the highway code and there is NOTHING about long term contracts in the highway code.

  12. Federal law trumps state law.

    It is called “pre emption”.

    The NLRA expresses the public purpose that labor relations should be regularized to as to avoid disruptions in the economy due to strikes and other actions.

    So the CBA with a union would fall under the federal laws.

    It is standard for union contracts to extend beyond the term of office of office holders.

    The state does not become non unionized in terms of it’s workers when a new Governor takes office or a new legislature is sworne in.

    Cost of Living salary increases for teachers that are guaranteed through a labor union contract do not have to be re authorized every two years when a new School Board is sworne in.

    The recognition of a union by the employer is governed by the NLRA.

    I presume that is why the case was dismissed and sent to labor arbitration.

  13. Look him up on

    He is licensed, has malpractice insurance, has zero history of professional misconduct or discipline, and no indication of pending complaints.

    Nonlawyers can send anything they wish to the ARDC.

    Lawyers cannot, because the ARDC would impose discipline against a lawyer making a baseless complaint.

    No complaint becomes public record until a lawyer has a chance to respond and the ARDC decides sufficient cause for an appointment investigation has been established. They weed out the nonsense that way.

    So, as on this blog, anyone can throw out accusations.

    Evidence is another thing entirely.

  14. I surely am not.

    Ask Cal.

    A lot of the posters here know who I am.

    I know Kelly professionally, not as friends, and our practice areas do not overlap.

    I i were to talk about myself here, I’d use my name and be honest about it.

  15. Anyone can file a “letter” with the ARDC over anything.

    It does not become a “complaint” unless the ARDC finds that there is merit enough to proceed further, at which point the ARDC is the one that files the “complaint”.

    The vast majority of letters sent to the ARDC are dismissed as non meritorious.

    No record is published of those letters.

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