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August 9, 2022

Madison County Board Member Rakes In $75,000 From Madison County Transit –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On May 29, 2021

MADISON CO., IL. (ECWd) –

Madison County Transit’s board members are appointed, in part, by the Madison County Board.

One of the Madison County Board Members, Michael Walters, is also the recipient of a contract from Madison County Transit, whose board members are appointed, in part, by the County Board that Walters sits as a member of. Since May of 2019, that contract has been worth more than $75,000 to Walters as a “State Legislative Consulting Service” for Madison County Transit. He currently receives $5,000 per month after receiving a $2,000 per month increase in pay within a year of the appointment of a fellow board member to the transit board.

The transit is also paying $7,000 per month to Jerry Costello as a lobbyist – so that totals $12,000 per month ($144,000 per year) in lobbying and consulting by Madison County Transit.

Next is the issue as to whether this is a prohibited (financial) interest, or conflict of interest, in a contract between the Madison County Transit (who’s member(s) are appointed in part by the county board), and a County Board Member who may be called upon to act or vote on the appointment of a person who will in turn may be called upon to act or vote on the appointing authority’s contract.

We believe this to be an indirect (financial) conflict of interest / prohibition on a contract, and explain our position below, because Walters cannot fully and faithfully discharge, in every instance) his duties in his office as County Board member when he may be called upon to vote on a Transit board member (who will, in turn, vote on Walters’ contract) – and likewise, the Transit board member could not fully and faithfully discharge his duties when called upon to vote on a contract with the person who took part in placing him into that position.

We understand the Madison County State’s Attorney has asked the Attorney General’s Opinions Bureau for an opinion on whether this contract should be considered a prohibited contract.

Madison County Transit’s “Ethics Binder” prohibits doing business with Madison County Board Members (see page 13). the Ethics Binder points to certain sections of the Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act for the definition of its prohibition; Section 3.1, and, Section 3.2. We must also look at indirect conflicts of interest as it has been applied in other situations.

Although not the same situation, Illinois Attorney General Opinion No. 93-014 (1993) discusses indirect conflict with contracts, the AG stated “when a member of a governing body anticipates that he or his employer will benefit financially from a contract awarded by the body, that knowledge will naturally affect his judgment in determining to award the contract.” replacing “contract” with “appointing a board member” and we believe the Walters situation would be an indirect conflict because he had to know his consulting contract would come up for vote again while the person he participated in putting into office would be called upon to act or vote on it.

Additionally, his contract provides that he shall submit reports to the transit district, and a FOIA request for any such reports came back empty – as in they do not have any such reports.

What was found, however, is Walters apparently using his County Board email account to conduct his business as the contracted “consultant” for the mass transit – that flies in the face of Art VIII, Section 1(a) of the Illinois Constitution because a private contract is not a public purpose of a county board member, and the county’s email address is public property.

Also, on page 2 of the email FOIA, Walters eludes that he is in Mexico and using or giving away the transit district’s glass cleaner: “I’m in Mexico with my wife and the number one thing the people want is my MCT glass cleaner. MCT is big in Mexico.

Starting on page 4, is what we believe to be part of Walters’ private contracted work using the county’s email account.

FOIA Communications_Redacted

 

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16 Comments
  • Dave
    Posted at 07:49h, 30 May

    Ethical?? I think not! Wow!

  • CorruptionRUS
    Posted at 08:13h, 30 May

    It appears Walters has only one client, MCT, It further appears that Walter’s first contractual salary amount was $3,000, increased to $5,000. I have yet to find the justification for his hefty salary increase. I’ve also learned that Walters is a Madison County member, Walter’s “lobbying” salary, strangely enough, is approved each month a Madison County Board member, Christopher Guy, Guy is also a MCT board member. In addition, it turns out Walters and Guy are both members of the Madison County Board, with Guy being Chairman of the Finance Committee for the County Board. MCT is flush with money but that is no reason for elected officials to give away money for 2 lobbyist. This situation demands a full investigation by the States Attorney.

    • RIPLUMBER
      Posted at 12:48h, 31 May

      The State’s Attorney Tom Haine approved the deal. He is the MCT legal counsel, so I doubt he does anything.

  • Roger
    Posted at 11:36h, 30 May

    He’$ ju$t practicing to gain experience before running for the $tate legi$lature.

  • RIPLBER
    Posted at 14:36h, 30 May

    The Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Haine signed off on his $5,000 a month salary within a few weeks of getting elected in December. The State’s Attorney is the legal counsel for MCT and they have not only turned a blind eye but have signed off on the financial deal. Sad.

  • Publius
    Posted at 17:20h, 30 May

    What’s difference between having to pay an elected official to do his job representing you as part of his job, and a bribe?

  • Spike Protein
    Posted at 04:29h, 31 May

    I live in Madison County and I appreciate you reporting on the corruption here. As someone who likes to see the backroom dealings of politics made public, I especially like seeing the FOIA’ed emails.

    I hope that Michael Walters is prosecuted and convicted if it’s found that he committed any crimes. Even if he didn’t break any laws, his behavior here is most certainly unethical and corrupt.

    Walters is a Republican and I’m a conservative who normally votes Republican, but I hate corruption regardless of what party the perpetrator belongs to.

    I wonder what Michael Walters meant by “MCT glass cleaner.” Was he literally using or giving away MCT’s glass cleaner to people in Mexico? That is really bizarre and random if that is the case.

    Perhaps “MCT glass cleaner” a euphemism for something else or perhaps it’s just an inside joke reference between Walters and SJ Morrison.

    I know that SJ Morrison is an ancillary character in this story, but he has proven to be really woke in his other public role as an Edwardsville alderman. He supported Edwardsville’s plastic shopping bag fee and municipal mask mandate.

    MCT has always seemed to be unusually flush in cash. They have extensive service throughout most of the county despite their buses usually being mostly empty. It would be interesting to scour their financial records for any signs of impropriety.

    I will admit that I’m a huge fan of MCT’s very large hiking trail system. It’s one of my favorite public amenities in the area.

  • Capone’s Back
    Posted at 09:39h, 31 May

    Publius. Good question. Without all the facts not known in this detail just yet, I’d say 8.5 difference yrs, in prison could be the differential. There will be an effort t0 cover up the corrupt conduct calling them, “ simple errors,”. Madison County is no different than Cook Cook County. Regardless of whose in power corruption is never priority one.

  • Elliot N
    Posted at 16:29h, 31 May

    Madison County could hire super G-Man, Chris Slusser. I think he is the Madison Country Treasurer who wrote a story, told the story to local authorities and then to the FBI. For this, 2 Madison County employees were terminated from their jobs with the county. Neither of the discharged workers were indicted or otherwise charged. How does a travesty such as this occur? When we get to the last chapter of Slusser’s story book, see if he and the Madison County Sheriff worked cooperatively too ruin the lived of two families.

  • Judy Davenport
    Posted at 18:30h, 31 May

    I guess Capone is back!
    There have been a lot of things happening in Madison County that I have questions about. No one seems to have any answers. They are just as corrupt as Cook County and the gov. office. Hey, it’s Illinois!!!

  • Thrasher
    Posted at 21:25h, 31 May

    The County Board is being sued. The Treasurer is being sued. The States Attorney is being sued, The Municipal police departments are being sued. Has the Sheriff too and I missed it?

  • GW ONE
    Posted at 07:47h, 10 June

    It’s high time to hear from both the State’s Attorney and Mike Walters. It seems be are doing what Madison County does so well, coverup corruption. Where is the Madison Republican Party? Can’t the Party say they would deplore such actions on the part of Walters if the facts are facts. The entire incident smells worse everyday.

  • GW ONE
    Posted at 08:16h, 13 June

    If Walter’s hiring as a lobbyist was improper would not his contract of hire be improper too? If so, is legal there legal ground to seek the return of money paid to Walters? Same question pertains to Congressman Costello, retired, He’s pulling down lots of taxpayer money as a lobbyist.

  • GW ONE
    Posted at 09:07h, 02 July

    This is an older article which now begs the question, where is the FBI in this matter. Sad to say, but Madison County Republicans are no different than Democrats. When someone peels this onion it’s going to smell for a long time.
    Republicans have worked cooperatively for a long time with Democrats. The only honest guy in County government is Kurt Prenzler, County Board Chairman. And since he is an honest guy, other Republicans are blocking him from doing anything. Madison County needs reform, but it won’t happen with the corrupt crew running the show today.

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