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August 10, 2022

Subject Matter Hearing Misrepresentations Exposed – Part II

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On March 12, 2022

Shelby Co. (ECWd) –

This is Part II of the exposure of misrepresentations and misinformation provided by Shelby County State’s Attorney Nichole Kronke during her oral testimony in support of legislation affecting every county in the state.  We urge everyone to read Part 1 at this link.

Continued testimony:

  • “The Attorney General opinion in 1975 affirmed that the power to lease public property does not authorize counties to lease their property for private purposes. That was the status of the law in 1975.  It changed since then.”

The opinion she is referring to is found at this link. We note the State’s Attorney who asked for the AG opinion made it clear, as a lawyer, private farming of public property is not a public purpose.  The AG confirmed.

The issue we have with Kronke’s statement is the fact the law has not changed since 1975 as it applies to this issue.  Our State Constitution is the law of the land which prevented a private farmer from leasing public ground for his private use. That has not changed since the opinion, so to say the law has changed misrepresents the real issue, violation of the constitution.

She then points to the law that was passed permitting the lease of property no longer needed by the county. Just as she misrepresented the transcript on that law to the County Board, which we covered in this article, she continued with the misrepresentation in her oral testimony in a public hearing of the Legislature.

  • “I ordered a copy of that transcript, and it supports that the intent of the legislature was to permit leasing to private entities at the time that this statute was passed in 1998 and that gaining revenue to support the operations of government, does in fact, serve a public purpose. However, they did not specifically state that in the statute.”

The transcript DOES NOT make any reference for public purpose as one would believe from her testimony.  Rather than telling the legislature the “transcript” makes no reference to the public purpose language, she points to the statute as being void of that language, which misrepresents the matter dramatically.

The average person with zero knowledge of the facts of this is led to believe the transcript said what she implied when in fact it did not.  Nor did she disclose that the very bill in question, as confirmed in the transcript, is about surplus property, not property that is an investment as Kronke later admits.

The elephant in the room is tactfully being ignored.  Use of the property must have a public purpose.  Claiming it has one is not sufficient without the evidence. No matter what happens with this bill, Shelby County cannot get around the Illinois Supreme Courts’ own words as it relates to the legislature determining what is or is not a public purpose.  How ironic that this very point was raised in an AG Opinion provided to Shelby County in 2006.

“This court has long recognized that what is for the public good and what are public purposes are questions which the legislature must in the first instance decide. [ Citations.] In making this determination, the legislature is vested with a broad discretion, and the judgment of the legislature is to be accepted in the absence of a clear showing that the purported public purpose is but an evasion and that the purpose is, in fact, private. [Citations.]”(AG Opinion issued to Shelby County in 2006)

The purported public purpose in this case by Shelby County, making money, is but an evasion of the truth of the matter. The attempt is to create a narrative on public purpose which confuses the most important element of the public purpose issue, how the land is being used.

The fact the State’s Attorney and the County Board have either refused or are unable to answer the basic question is most telling — What public purpose of the land’s use is served when it’s leased to a private entity for a private purpose of that entity?

If this matter was about making money for the county, why are they so focused on leasing it for someone else to make money rather than managing it themselves?  It appears all they have to do is appropriate the funds in the budget and farm it themselves in a custom farming operation.

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10 Comments
  • Justice Seeker
    Posted at 14:31h, 12 March

    Given the numerous times State’s Attorney Kroncke misleads the board and the public to produce the desired outcome she wants, it would be interesting to know how many convictions she has had overturned due to false statements or manipulation of evidence. I wonder if she would be as quick to divulge that information as she is to release to the press the convictions.
    The gentleman that has confronted her at the last 2 public meetings has been correct. It appears Kroncke is manipulating the board to get a desired outcome. It is telling that she has been behind the outsourcing of payroll and she is signing employee timesheets that are incorrect. I am guessing Paylocity will not send the timesheets back for correction and the internal controls that are non existent in Shelby county will simply go from bad to worse. Mr. Vander Burgh said the record keeping in Shelby county “is woefully inadequate” during his October update. He also stayed “you make it very, very easy to commit fraud”. Perhaps the board and it’s legal counsel should spend time and energy on proper documentation for disbursement from public funds instead of conspiring to keep the elected county treasurer from doing her statutory duty.
    Perhaps Ms. Kroncke should review the statutes that govern her office and request that the board read theirs and everyone stay in their statutory lane. State’s Attorneys are not the “fixer” of the county as Ms. Garman thinks (obviously the mentality of the office). It is past time for the Shelby County board to fulfill their duty of good governance and management. It is past time for elected officials in Shelby county to put taxpayers ahead of personal vendettas.

  • Harry A Jackson II
    Posted at 20:42h, 12 March

    In the past, when the land was leased to a private farmer, were the property taxes paid by the Farmer who leased the property, as it sounded like was required by law? It seems as if I remember a debate from a few years ago, that mentioned that “HE” did not.

    • Kirk Allen
      Posted at 08:35h, 13 March

      The County Board paid those taxes with taxpayer money, which results in a double taxation issue that they ignored. The farmer has never paid the taxes.

    • Justice Seeker
      Posted at 08:46h, 13 March

      Mr. Jackson, Ms. Kroncke point out that the lease agreement with the private farmer did not state that the he would pay the taxes. What she failed to state was that the lease was completely silent to the issue of property taxes. It did not state that the county was responsible for the taxes either. Another in a long line of documentation passed by a county board that fails to even read or ask questions as to the legality of their actions. Failure to protect the very ones they are elected to serve. As long as it benefits the one or two that will be on the receiving end. This is not governance this is the Shelby Enterprise which is Madigan on a smaller scale.

  • Robert O Bogue
    Posted at 08:02h, 13 March

    Do you think Lady Stupid Stuff will be calling this stupid stuff or giving her boss a pass on this?

  • Homer
    Posted at 16:32h, 13 March

    We’re is Brad Holbrook in all this he should help the people not work against them but then again he’s always chasing wind mills

    • Kirk Allen
      Posted at 09:41h, 14 March

      Where is it that he is working against the people? Why are so many focused on a State Rep rather than the people that run the county?

      • Harry A. Jackson
        Posted at 11:49h, 14 March

        Perhaps Kirk…its because so many that RUN THE COUNTY, are beholden to Brad. Brad’s MAIN FOCUS, is getting more socialist programs for farmers while reducing their tax obligation..

        They already receive more benefits than they pay in taxes. Brad will not stop until farmers make money, just by being farmers….

        Thankfully, he is in a tiny minority, and the people are failing to see any good his representation affords the great people of this district.

        • Kirk Allen
          Posted at 08:55h, 15 March

          Can you name a single socialist program Brad has moved in Springfield to benefit farmers as you claim? I have not found any such legislation so have to admit confusion on this.

          He has insisted that the county NOT pay the property tax on the farm ground but rather the farmer who leased it should. That fact tends to dispute what you’re saying.

        • Justice Seeker
          Posted at 17:28h, 15 March

          Mr. Jackson,

          With all due respect you are incorrect. It is Ms. Kroncke who is advocating for 1 farmer in Shelby County to benefit. What documentation do you have to support your comments. What elected officials (i.e. those chose by the taxpayers, not Brad Halbrook) “run” the county. Last I checked the county was run by Democrats and Republicans who clearly do not stand with the platform of the party. Please clarify what you are stating.

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