CLARK CO., IL. (ECWd) -
More information is coming out about Charity Murphy, the Clark County Park District's Executive Director, and her use of public funds, property, and credit to harass, insult, and lie to people simply for exercising their right to have access to public records.
Yesterday, Charity posted a long, drawn out expose' to "inform" the public that she was fulfilling FOIA requests, and that the Park District's Attorney, I am assuming she meant their contracted attorney, Mrs. Lorna K. Geiler of Meyer-Capel in Champaign, IL., and not the attorney from the IAPD/PDRMA...anyway, Charity claims the park district's attorney told her to tell everyone that she was fulfilling FOIA requests and that citizens were now in some sort of danger, or subject to potential threats from those mean people that requested public records. (article here)
I cannot believe an attorney would tell her to say that, but she claims they did.
She has now taken it one step further - following her expose' on Facebook, she decided to use the Park District's cell phone #, 217-822-3700, to harass, lie to, and belittle one of those requesters.
Here are some of her bullying comments to a taxpayer of the Park District:
"Stop wasting taxpayer money" - "Stop aligning yourself with Kirk and John" - "When your money is gone, they will be too" - "You're really giving Randy a bad name"
So here she is, using public funds (the cell phone), public property (the cell phone), and public credit (the cell phone) to try and talk a taxpayer into not talking to or associate with us because she doesn't like people that ask for public records. That is bullying a taxpayer and attempted censoring of media - and using her public employment to do it.
Since we already know Charity thinks nobody should ever ask for any information from the Park District - evident in her facebook postings - Now she claims that Lisa "has aligned herself" with us and that Lisa is somehow paying us to do what we do and that we will be gone when Lisa's money is gone. Oh, and she is giving Randy a bad name.
The "who's paying you to do this" allegation is something we hear everywhere we go, and our answer is always the same: "Nobody". But it appears people cannot comprehend that people want to know, and deserve to know, what their local public bodies are up to. Those that always claim we are getting paid are usually the ones guilty of various inappropriate dealings within the local government. One only need to look as far as the City of Marshall and former, and illegally seated, Alderman Bev Church to figure that one out - her husband kept accusing us of getting paid to look at the city, when it was actually his wife that was part of the problem. This park district is no different.
When public officials and employees spend vast amounts of time trying to "control" what information gets out to the public they serve, we believe there is a problem. Earlier last year, [former] Commissioner Larry Yargus was adamant that the FOIA officer be his daughter, the now-former attorney for the district. Then Yargus insisted that he be the FOIA officer for the district instead of an employee. It was clear he was trying to manipulate and control all of the information coming out of the District. That breached the public's trust.
Finally, is the issue of claiming I did not ask for the information in the right way - which is why she did not provide a complete list of payments for seasonal and annual campsites.
What's next? Claim to be a victim because we wrote about her?