PARIS, IL. (ECWd) -
After more than five years of arguments and two years of legal wrangling, RIDES Mass Transit District loses lawsuit designed to extract more than $154,000 from the residents of Edgar County by claiming they were owed funds left over from the defunct East Central Illinois Mass Transit District.
We wrote several in-depth articles on the proper way to dissolve a Mass Transit District, and where any left-over funds were to be deposited. We focused our opinions almost exclusively on the Mass Transit District Act and Dillon's Rule. The Edgar County State's Attorney Mark Isaf ignored all attempts we made to stop the illegal process that he initially approved of and participated in.
Now, more than five years later, we are proven correct and we are grateful a county board member decided to champion the fight to keep those funds within the county.
Here is the timeline of events:
- May 7, 2013 - Watchdogs communicate with the Mass Transit District about the sale of assets
- Jun 12, 2013 - Watchdog Kirk Allen ejected from County Board meeting while attempting to object to the County's gifting of funds to RIDES-MTD
- Jun 17, 2013 - Watchdogs speak at County Board meeting (video here) stating that the County keeps all funds remaining from the dissolution of ECIMTD.
- Dec 15, 2015 - Watchdogs wrote about the questionable memo from IDOT's Bureau Chief of Transit Operations. We wrote about his wrong advice and then we explained in detail that all funds left over after dissolving the ECIMTD were to go to the County General Fund and not be given to RIDES. In this article, we predicted there would be a lawsuit, and we predicted that Edgar County would prevail. We were correct.
- Aug 8, 2016 - RIDES files lawsuit against Edgar County
- Jan 11, 2017 - Court strikes both Counts from the lawsuit and grants RIDES leave to file amended Complaint, Motion to Dismiss allowed against RIDES
- Jan 25, 2017 - We wrote about how RIDES blamed "a local watchdog group", in Court, for Edgar County's keeping of the funds in this article.
- Feb 9, 2017 - RIDES files Amended Complaint
- Mar 15, 2017 - Edgar County files Motion to Dismiss
- Jul 10, 2017 - RIDES permitted to file second Amended Complaint
- Aug 3, 2017 - RIDES files Second Amended Complaint
- Oct 25, 2018 - Edgar County wins Motion to Dismiss, RIDES permitted to file third amended Complaint within 60 days
- Dec 24, 2018 - Rides fails to file third amended Complaint, and according to court records, the lawsuit is dismissed if the third amended complaint was not filed by Dec 24, 2018
We suggest Clark County take appropriate steps to recover their funds from RIDES Mass Transit, as they were also a party to the original district which was dissolved, and is legally entitled to those funds.