LaHarpe, IL. (ECWd) -
Ryan Kienast, former mayor of LaHarpe, Illinois, plead guilty in Hancock County Circuit Court for the activity we exposed last year thanks to local residents and their tips.
This is yet another example as to how the system is supposed to work. The local people witnessed the crime, turned it over to the media for public exposure. Once exposed, local police can't ignore the information, so they investigate. Upon confirmation of a violation of criminal law, prosecution. It's not rocket science, but it does take courage in small local communities as the politics seem to rule over our laws. Glad that was not the case here.
According to wgem.com, Kienast entered a negotiated plea of guilty to one count of "Attempted Official Misconduct" - a Class A Misdemeanor. The State dropped the Class 3 Felony charge of Official Misconduct. Kienast was sentenced to 12 months court supervision and $1,099 in fines and fees.
After we wrote about the incident and posted photographs, Kienast acknowledged, during a city meeting, that he performed those acts, and presented a $50 check to "cover the expenses" of the work performed.
All of this occurred about the same time as his refusal to pay an overdue water bill and city council meetings where the council illegally met in closed session to discuss the mayor's unpaid bills (here and here). The Illinois Attorney General told the city to release the closed session audio from that meeting.
It is unclear if the water bill issue has been taken care of.