HUTSONVILLE, IL. (ECWd) -
After our article highlighting one of the deficiencies in the Regional Office of Education #12's most recent audit, Monte Newlin, Regional Superintendent, took to his facebook page and to the Robinson Daily News to publish his glaringly contradictory excuses for using public credit for his own personal use.
From his lengthy facebook post: He starts out saying he wants to set the record straight, as if the record wasn't already set straight in the article, and continues to pen one of the more confusing and contradictory admissions I have read in quite some time.
"The charges leveled against me stem from one audit finding on an annual audit performed two years ago (FY15) on the ROE by auditors working under contract to the Office of the Auditor General for the State of Illinois."
The audit in question was released to the public in June of 2016 - a mere 7 months ago, not the two years he might want you to believe, which is probably why he chose the phrase "performed" two years ago instead of the more recent release of its findings only 7 months ago.
". . . our Business Manager is a licensed CPA"
If that is true, then the business manager should have known a public credit card cannot be used for personal purchases. Maybe they need a new business manager?
"With that said, I am human and I do from time to time, make mistakes. As reported in the audit finding, I did use two ROE credit cards for personal expenses. However, it is important for you to know that AT NO TIME DID I EVER -- USE PUBLIC FUNDS FOR PERSONAL -- USE OR GAIN. When the monthly credit card statement was received in the office, I paid in full any charges that I made that were personal in nature. I wrote the checks from my personal account made payable directly to the credit card company. These payments were mailed with the ROE check in a timely fashion (as we do with all bills), and NO INTEREST WAS EVER INCURRED BY THE TAXPAYERS. "
He admitted using two ROE credit cards for personal expenses - he then immediately tries to deny it by saying at no time did he ever use public funds for personal use. WOW! Did he just say that? Can you spot the contradictory statement? ROE credit cards are public funds, public credit and public property. Using them for personal purchases is a violation of the Illinois Constitution, Article VIII, Section 1(a), which states that "Public funds, property or credit shall only be used for public purpose." Personal use of public credit is not a public purpose.
Section 1(b) is even more damning by further qualifying use of funds to mandate that "units of local government and school districts shall incur obligations (which is what a credit card charge is - an obligation) for payment or make payments from public funds only as authorized by law or ordinance." Is there a law or ordinance which authorizes a public official to use public credit cards for personal purchases? No.
Next, he says he didn't know, like the subject never came up in all his years as a teacher, guidance counselor, principal, and town board member. The problem is that the constitution does not say "knowingly" - but he is probably claiming ignorance in an effort to avoid the harsh realities of People v, Howard and 720 ILCS 5/33-3(a)(2) and (3).
"Because your faith in my integrity means so much, at my own expense, I will be placing for public inspection, copies of the credit card statements and copies of the corresponding checks written monthly by me to pay for those charges. My staff is working on preparing those records this week, and it is my goal to have them ready for review in all of the ROE 12 county offices by early next week. "
OK, can you spot the contradiction in the above paragraph? He talks about doing something "at my own expense" and then says his staff is working on preparing those records this week. Which is it? I he doing this or is his staff doing this? If it is at his expense does that mean he is going to pay the wages and benifits of his staff who is doing the work?
Additionally, he wants you to think that because of your faith in his integrity he is placing these documents online. He failed to mention that I submitted an FOIA request for all of them on Saturday, January 28, 2017. That is the real reason his staff is working on preparing those documents.
"If there had been any crime committed, I would have been indicted and prosecuted."
To that, I will say, not necessarily...and don't hold your breath. Using public credit cards for personal purchases IS a crime. Any indictment or prosecutions start with the right people having knowledge of the act in order to effectuate an investigation into the allegations and then turning their findings over to the proper prosecuting authority. The Auditor General's auditors are not obligated to recommend any findings to law enforcement for possible investigation/prosecution. There are other avenues to use for that purpose.
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