Calumet City, IL. (ECWd) –
Thaddeus Jones, Mayor of Calumet City, has filed a lawsuit for Declaratory Judgment and Injunction, and for a Restraining Order against Calumet City Clerk Nyota Figgs.
According to this lawsuit, Calumet City is in the process of conducting a forensic audit, and in that process, the Auditor instructed the Clerk and others to refrain from destroying any public records.
Shortly afterwards, the Clerk ordered a document destruction company to destroy public records, including financial records, of the city without the required approval from the Mayor of the Local Records Commission.
The records destroyed on August 11, 2021, included thirteen 96-gallon containers of records, which had a combined weight of more than ONE ton (2000+ pounds). The Complaint also alleges that Clerk Figgs admitted to the destruction of records while the audit was in progress.
From the Complaint:
- The City has filed this lawsuit seeking a declaration that the City Clerk has no authority to destroy City records without approval of the City, to enjoin her from the further destruction of City records
- To the extent that Defendant Figgs has destroyed public record, such acts are beyond the scope of her official duties and she is, therefore, also sued in her individual capacity
- To identify potential areas of concern and to gain knowledge about the City’s finances and financial practices with an eye towards improving them, the City embarked upon a forensic audit
- The City hired an outside auditor, Alyssia Benford, to review the City’s financial records
- Ms. Benford directed City staff and officials, including Defendant Figgs, to retain and preserve the City’s public records and not to destroy any documents, especially documents from the previous administration that could contain evidence of wrongdoing or criminal activity
- In June 2021, Defendant Figgs was given explicit direction by the auditor to refrain from destroying any city records while the audit was pending
- Notwithstanding this explicit direction, and further notwithstanding that the Defendant does not have the discretion to determine that the City’s records should be destroyed, Defendant Figgs surreptitiously and without approval from the Mayor or City Council disposed of and destroyed City approximately two truckloads of the City’s records without any legal authority to do so whatsoever. Upon information and belief, this action was undertaken to destroy evidence of wrongdoing by the previous administration