Illinois (ECWd) -
Over the years a pattern of citizen involvement has been identified. When a local story exposes potential wrong doing or criminal activity the local citizens start shooting tips our way. Most of the time they are spot on and other times they are filled with speculation. Regardless, we do our best to narrow down the points raised by those local citizens because they usually have a pretty good pulse on what is really happening in their town.
Since running our first story on Auditor General Frank Mautino we have received numerous tips pointing us to expenditures that at a minimum raise eyebrows, as former State Senator Susan Garrett was quoted as saying in this article.
Several of the tips coming in were consistent with what we believe happened in some cases, but with Mautino not responding there is no way to get to the truth of the matter short of a State Board of Elections complaint or other investigations with subpoena power.
Of interest were the tips relating to Mautino's regular visits to local restaurants. Numerous claims are being made that many of those expenditures are his own personal and family dining and not campaign related. Only Mautino can answer that issue, however, we must admit, the numbers once again do raise an eyebrow.
One thing that I think is safe to assume is that Frank Mautino has an affinity for Italian food! Since June of 2005 Mautino has expended $32,078.03 at two local Spring Valley restaurant, Angelos ($9,407.20) and Alfano's, ($22,670.83) totaling 680 individual expenditures since June of 2005.
That sure seems like a lot of campaign dinners in one town, which happens to be the one place he would have to campaign the least, considering it is his hometown. Interestingly we don't see these types of expenditures for other restaurants in his district outside of his Saputo's expenditures in Springfield that total $5,073.80 for 6 visits for claimed 'fund raising'. Anyone that has been there knows when the legislature is in session you better make a reservation. That being the case, that one doesn't raise the red flags near as much as his 680 local visits for dining.
Considering my own love for Italian dining and having been raised in Springfield, I am frankly shocked that more was not spent at Saputo's which is considered one of the best Italian Restaurants in the city. Maybe that local Spring Valley Italian dining has something on Saputo's?
Considering meal expenditures are one of the most common we see campaign funds being used for, we can only speculate what Mautino's response is going to be on those, assuming he will respond at all. Considering it is legal to use campaign money for meals that are campaign related we suspect nothing will come of those expenditures without hard evidence they were not campaign-related.
What we did find odd in our review is the money going in and out of the Spring Valley City Bank. According to his own reporting, he has expended $273,927.77 to Spring Valley City Bank as either campaign expenses, loans, principal payments and interest payments since August of 1999.
Contributions to Mautino from this bank total $35,025.00 of which $26,000.00 is listed as loans based on records dating back to August of 1994, which reflects his first loan being on Christmas Eve of 1994 for $5,000.00. If the records provided by the State Board of Elections are accurate, the first loan payment didn't happen until 5 years later. The last entry in the D2 Contributions from Spring Valley City Bank to Committee for Frank Mautino is dated November of 2005. The last loan payment made was in August of 2015 for $10,000.00, approximately ten years later.
- Expenditures to Spring Valley City Bank
- Contributions/Loans made by Spring Valley City Bank to the Committee for Frank Mautino
Looking at the expenditures we find a total of $94,888.09 spent on loan/principal payments since August 23, 1999. There were two payments listed as loan payments that totaled $888.09, which we suspect was interest instead of an actual loan payment. Deducting those two payments as such, would indicate $94,000.00 in loan payments were made to Spring Valley City Bank.
How is it that $94,000.00 was spent on Loans/Principal payments to Spring Valley City Bank when the reporting of loans for that entity only shows $26,000.00 being provided? Considering there are no records of contributions/loans after August of 2011 from the Bank, it appears there is a problem in some reporting, either on loans received since that date, if any, and the totals paid for loans.
Bottom line appears to be there is a substantial difference in loan payments versus loans received.
There are are numerous others expenditures to this bank that raise eyebrows as well, such as 'gas', 'golf supplies', 'travel to Springfield', 'govt', 'gasoline for spfld DePue liq lic', just to name a few.
The Treasure for Frank Mautino's campagin was Patricia Maunu. She is now employed as the Administrative Secretary for Andrew Skoog. Skoog is the person who filled the vacant State Representative seat of Mautino's when he became the Auditor General.
We once again ask the top Auditor in the State of Illinois to release all of his campaign expenditures related to the concerns being raised throughout the state.
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