McHenry Co. (ECWd) -
We first exposed Bob Miller and his operation of a private nonprofit from the public office of the Road District in this article. Now we have additional proof of yet a second business that Bob Miller operated out of the Road District office but this time there are far more disturbing facts coming to the surface thanks to Salt-Gate.
With salt prices and bidding being such a focal point of misinformation in Algonquin Township, we felt it was a good time to show how things were done by Bob Miller and other McHenry County Road districts as the records tell a very disturbing story.
- Bob Miller was the President of the McHenry County Township Highway Commissioners Association (MCTHCA) from 2005 to 2017. The MCTHC is NOT a governmental unit in the State of Illinois.
- John Adamson was the Secretary and Treasure of the MCTHCA from 2005 to 2017.
- Miller and Adamson make up TWO of the three Directors for MCTHCA
- Bob Miller was the Algonquin Township Road District Highway Commissioner in 2009.
- John Adamson was the Morango Township Road District Highway Commissioner in 2009
- The Township was unable to produce any bids or publications for bids by the Road District for salt for numerous years, however, we will focus on 2008 or 2009 for this article.
- Algonquin Township ordered and purchased $279,068.61 worth of salt in 2008-2009, paying as much as $140.25 per ton. 2008 invoices found here, 2009 Invoices found here and here.
As a point of reference for others who purchased salt in 2008, the St. Louis Dispatch pointed to a price of $53.98 per ton in 2008, $86.27 less than what Miller paid, while ODOT 2008-2009 price analysis for several states put salt prices between $50-60 a ton. By all accounts we can find, Miller paid almost three times what others did during the 2008-2009 fiscal year, but that's not the story.
All indications point to almost $300k worth of salt being purchased during the 2008 and 2009 fiscal year and not a single document could be provided for bids published, or bids recieved from the three companies delivering salt.
The Township, contrary to James Kelly's response to our FOIA, failed to provide any Road District bid publications for salt in 2008 among other things. Any claim that the Road District actually bid out the salt is going to raise the question if it was bid, why did they buy from three different companies?
The Township did provide a 2009 publication for salt bids in what appears to be an attempt to justify salt purchased in February prior to the April bid, however, the actual publication applies to the 2009-2010 fiscal year and was not a Road District publication.
Fiscal year, 2009-2010, the MCTHCA, not the Road District, published a request for bids for salt. That contract was awarded by MCTHCA to North American Salt Company which is a company of Compass minerals, the same company the current Algonquin Township Road Commissioner purchased salt from.
Two of the three Directors for MCTHCA are voting members of that association,(remember that). When bids were recieved, who voted to accept them or award them? What were the bids? Where is any record of them actually being opened in public as outlined in the publication? We may never know because it is a private nonprofit and not subject to FOIA. So far, the Township has been unable to produce key records on this matter and MCTHCA has ignored our requests for key documents. The one thing we know, Miller awarded the contract to North American Salt company and did so in his capacity as the President of MCTHCA, not as an elected highway commissioner.
The MCTHCA bid publication outlines the bids were to be delivered to the Algonquin Township Road District, not any office of MCTHCA. This is more proof Miller was conducting the business of a yet another nonprofit that he was an Officer/Director of out of a public facility. Why would MCTHCA bids need to be sent to a government body? Even more interesting is the fact the publication outlines that the Highway Commissioners have the right to reject any or all bids and waive technicalities, not the entity responsible for publishing the bid notice, MCTHCA.
MCTHCA is not a unit of government.
How can the highway commissioners named on the publication, Bob Miller, John Adamson, and Tom Thuman, make such a determination on the bids for a private nonprofit? The short answer, they can't in their capacity as a highway commissioner because the publication was an act of the private association, not their public body. Only MCTHCA had the power to issue an award for salt under that publication, or deny such an award.
It appears this was Miller's attempt to run a joint purchase through the company he and two others formed in 2005 and were Directors of at the time of these bids. The problem in doing so is the Illinois Joint Purchasing Act does not permit public bodies to participate in this type of transaction.
Joint purchases require the bidding to be done by a government agency
-(30 ILCS 525/3) Sec. 3. Conduct of competitive procurement. Under any agreement of governmental units that desire to make joint purchases pursuant to subsection (a) of Section 2, one of the governmental units shall conduct the competitive procurement process
MCTHCA is not a government unit, thus any such joint purchase by units of government using them as the procurement entity failed to comply with the law. That being the case, each entity that purchased salt through this process has violated the bidding requirements if the purchase exceeded $20,000.00.
Now confirmed, Miller operated the NITHCA and MCTHCA from the Public Facility of the Road district. There is no provision in the Township or Highway code for a Non-profit private business to conduct their business utilizing the resources of a public body. I say resources because we have secured other records proving Miller was, in fact, operating out of this facility in his capacity as President of these organizations. More on that to come.
The award of any salt contract by MCTHCA can only be done by a vote of those Directors, of which two were involved in the salt bid publication, Miller and Adamson.
- Public Officials cannot be interested in contracts
- (50 ILCS 105/3) Sec. 3. Prohibited interest in contracts.
(a) No person holding any office, either by election or appointment under the laws or Constitution of this State, may be in any manner financially interested directly in his own name or indirectly in the name of any other person, association, trust, or corporation, in any contract or the performance of any work in the making or letting of which such officer may be called upon to act or vote. No such officer may represent, either as agent or otherwise, any person, association, trust, or corporation, with respect to any application or bid for any contract or work in regard to which such officer may be called upon to vote.
- (50 ILCS 105/3) Sec. 3. Prohibited interest in contracts.
By all indications, Miller and Adamson held an elected office while at the same time were voting Directors of an association that they controlled and utilized for bidding materials of which a contract was awarded that would provide materials for their public office. It would appear this is a violation of the Officers Prohibited Activities Act, which if prosecuted and found guilty would be a class four felony.
We understand some will say there was no financial interest in the private association. Such a position would be incorrect as it relates to the information we have on Bob Miller. Miller used the Road District American Express card for purchases (public credit), later paid for by MCTHCA and also paid $400 in Road District funds to MCTHCA. Those transactions point to a financial interest in MCTHCA.
How special! Miller uses his elected office to provide credit and Road District funds to a business he is a Director of.
Additionally, we believe minutes from that association raise more questions about the Miller machine. In 2017, the last year Miller was the President, the minutes reflect none other than Anna May, Bob Miller's wife, received a gift recorded in the MCTHCA minutes as an expense totaling $2,800.00.
More interesting is the fact the minutes reflect the bank account for the MCTHCA was closed and a check was issued for $5,422.14, just weeks before Miller was out of office.
Who received the closing check for $5,422.14 and why close the account?
Considering the MCTHCA has refused to provide any of their nonprofit 990 documents requested in June of 2018, we have no way of knowing if any of the multiple salt bidding awards were issued to companies that may have donated funds to their association. Why does the issue of donated funds come up? Because in 2008 and 2009 Miller and Adamson send out Fish Fry invitations to vendors seeking donations. Did the winning salt vendor provide funding to the Miller created operation?
While we understand this happened in the past, the actions taken by Miller in 2008 and 2009 continued to other years which we will also expose.
One thing is clear, Bob Miller operated multiple private businesses from the facilities of the office he was elected too and in doing so, directed salt bidding through the private association he was a Director of rather than through the public body where the public would have been able to see what was going on.
The public has a right to know who submitted bids and what those bids were.
What we don't understand in McHenry County are the following.
- Illinois State Police refused to investigate Miller.
- Sheriff's office refused to investigate Miller.
- State's Attorney's office investigated Miller rather than turning it over to the Appellate Prosecutor for them to handle then issued a 52-page document that did not contain any of the above information nor other exposed wrongdoing such as time card padding.
Yep, nothing to see in McHenry County.