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May 18, 2022

Shelby County Accountability History –

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On January 27, 2022

Shelby Co. (ECWd)-

We were first tipped off about an alleged payroll fraud in the courthouse in 2018, as best I can recall.  Our first FOIA request was for video inside the courthouse that would have proven if a person was or was not actually working on the days claimed and paid for. Former Sheriff Koonce was responsible for providing that video and while some video was produced, none of it was for the time frame in question. We later discovered the person in question resigned rather than facing official misconduct charges.  This was the first example we saw of alleged criminal activity going unprosecuted. Additionally, records were intentionally destroyed in what appears to be part of the coverup.  Prior article here.Zero accountability.

From there, we were tipped off about illegal gun sales by former Sheriff Koonce.  Appropriate investigative agencies were provided with key documents to prove what took place including financials tied to those sales that did not balance when reconciled.  Several of the illegal purchases were made by deputies, which is another violation of law as they are forbidden from participating in any sheriff’s sale. To this day, unless numerous guns were secretly brought back into inventory, numerous weapons were missing.  The State Police investigated this matter and turned the matter over to the Attorney General for a charging decision.  That was over a year ago and to date, no charges have been filed.  However, neither the Attorney General or the ISP have been willing to release the applicable records which may be an indication someone “might” actually get held accountable in Shelby County. Prior article here. Zero accountability, “to date”.

Along with the gun sales by the former Sheriff, payroll malfeasance on a level never seen before was identified.  We actually obtained an admission from Koonce in a FOIA response that they were overpaying deputies for years, and knew it.  Our findings were confirmed in the last audit that reflected deputies were getting paid for 80 hours of work while only working 70.  This too became a criminal investigation by the ISP that is also in the hands of the Attorney General for a charging decision.  The malfeasance was so bad the approved forensic audit of the payroll in that office has taken over a year to complete.  We understand the audit should be released possibly this month.  We suspect when it goes public we will hear that it is the worst case of malfeasance and possibly fraud the auditor has ever seen. Zero accountability, “to date”.

As it relates to the payroll fraud and illegal gun sales, a detailed presentation was provided as can be found in this video and the County Board along with the former States Attorney did nothing. Zero accountability.

The County Board has failed to perform the required audit of both the Sheriff’s office and the Highway Engineer’s office as required after their resignations.  The State’s Attorney opined that she was not aware of any county following that statute. We proved that position wrong and published the proof however this group continues to do nothing to even get the required audit started, let alone finished. What makes this matter even worse is the fact the current Sheriff spoke in favor of getting it done so he would know what mess he needs to clean up.  That has fallen on deaf ears. Prior article hereZero accountability.

Shelby County Highway Engineer and one of his employees were partners in a private Engineering business and operated their business out of the County facility for years.  Use of public funds, property, and credit for private purposes normally constitutes Official Misconduct.  Not in Shelby County.  We know the FBI was investigating but we knew early on without being able to identify a federal crime, they more than likely would not prosecute.  We do not have any indications any state agency is investigating this matter but it is possible the FBI turned over their work to the ISP.  To date, we have seen zero accountability for these two county employees running their private business out of the very office they were employed in. Ironically, the County Vice-Chairman, you guessed it, Gary Patterson,  chose to praise the Engineer’s work history when he resigned rather than hold him accountable to years of self-dealing. Prior article hereZero Accountability.

The County Board, in 2014-2015 hired a private attorney even though there was no law permitting such an act.  That private attorney worked on numerous county issues that were not related to labor relations, the excuse for hiring him.  In short, the State’s Attorney at the time failed to do her job and when this all got exposed and challenged in court, provided an affidavit that she claimed to have hired the attorney, assumingly forgetting what she said in closed session regarding the hiring by the county board. Without even the most basic level of discovery in the case, the court sided with the county based on the Affidavit of the former SA.  Even though the matter was appealed, the Appellate Court issued a Rule 23 ruling affirming the lower court.  A Rule 23 ruling simply means it can not be cited in other cases.  Why would they not want such a case cited?  Is it because they ignored ALL of the case law on the matter and never even mentioned any case law in the ruling? Prior article here.   – Zero accountability

The Former Shelby County State’s Attorney provided herself a pay raise in direct conflict with state law.  After being caught, she made installment payments to pay it back, which constitutes an interest-free loan.  Zero accountability.

Former Shelby County Chairman Bruce Canon submits false claims for payment in contradiction to the compensation setting resolution. Neither the County Board nor State’s Attorney has done a single thing to recover those false claims. Prior article hereZero accountability.

Former Sheriff Koonce received compensation beyond that set in the compensation resolution. Prior article here. Zero accountability.

Former Sheriff Koonce was found to have electioneered with county resources. Prior article here. Zero accountability.

County Board refusing to enforce the County Payroll policy. Zero accountability.

County Board has issued no-bid leases to a private farmer for years.  If it were legal to lease farm ground to a private farmer, which it is not, it should have been bid out. Instead, years of insider good old boy practice.  Zero accountability.

The County Board adopted a binding memorandum of understanding with the FOP Union for an increase in benefits due to federal money being supplied.  They did that without any appropriations in the budget to spend the federal money.  When the treasure did not make the payments to payroll as outlined in the MOU, the union filed a grievance, ignoring the fact there is no budget for spending that money. How ironic law enforcement is making a demand of a public official to basically break the law.  Zero Accountability.

The Attorney General has issued opinions outlining that Counties are required to bid out their health insurance if over the minimum dollar figure, which is set at $30,000.00.   Even after being informed of this during a public meeting, the State’s Attorney defaulted to an alleged belief that her assistant looked into this and determined no bids were required.  The county board followed the bad advice and approved the insurance contract without bidding. Anyone reading the AG opinion and Illinois Bar’s opinion on this matter can see clearly that insurance requires bidding. We published the details in this article. Zero accountability.

The former sheriff engaged a private attorney, according to the attorney.  If true, a sheriff has no authority to hire private counsel.  The bill for this attorney was approved by the sheriff committee members Gary Paterson and Jeff Slifer, who either ignored or were too stupid to see the claim form did not properly depict what the claim was for.  Why was a claim for legal bills being placed in a budget line as Holiday and Overtime?  Is it because there was nowhere else in the budget they could pay it from? Prior article here. Zero accountability.

Health Department grant money spending, according to the audit, was not based on actual time worked.  Zero accountability.

Timecard math appears to be a problem for some department heads who signed off on those timecards which had to be corrected by the Treasurer.  Zero accountability

County Board budget amendments last year in violation of the law. Zero accountability.

Elections have consequences!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 Comment
  • Justice Seeker
    Posted at 12:52h, 27 January

    Sadly for taxpayers the state’s attorneys have failed to do part of their statutory duty. There is no justice for the ordinary citizens of Shelby County who work hard and pay their taxes so that corrupt leaders can hand it out like candy at a parade.
    Elections do have consequences and hopefully voters in Shelby County will elect real leaders who will have a lot of messes to clean up.

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