Press

Representative Skillicorn Accuses East Dundee of Covering Up Financial Fraud

After receiving delays and denials to Open Records requests from the Village of East Dundee, I have grown convinced that something is seriously wrong, and questions need to be asked.
Since the Chicago Tribune-Courier News report, “Officials: East Dundee finances on road to recovery” (http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/elgin-courier-news/news/ct-ecn-east-dundee-finances-st-1108-20171107-story.html) back in November, I have been making inquiries of my own. In the article, the Courier reported on “financial irregularities” that occurred under former Administrator Bob Skurla’s watch. Here are a few of the more disturbing quotes:

  • “East Dundee is taking steps to offset financial irregularities that include overstated revenue, excessive spending and a lack of budgetary controls, East Dundee Village President Lael Miller said….”
  • “‘There were several things that raised my eyebrows,” Miller said.
  • “There were several problems that I would categorize as accounting issues,” Miller said. “The way some monies were accounted for was not exactly clear.”
  • “He [Miller] then met with Village Administrator Jennifer Johnsen and Finance Director Zaida Torres, who raised their own concerns.”
  • “There were some spending patterns and other items the board wasn’t aware of,” Miller said.

“What in the world is going on in East Dundee and why hasn’t the former Administrator, Bob Skurla, been prosecuted? If wrongdoing has taken place and the Village doesn’t prosecute, they won’t be able to access municipal insurance for restitution which would be a monumental failure of their fiduciary duty to taxpayers. In addition, if Skurla is found guilty, his pension should be taken away.”
If that isn’t disturbing enough, in a conversation I had with the current Village Administrator, Jennifer Johnsen–who was fired from her previous position with Campton Hills in 2016 for alleged Open Meetings Act issues–she stated that Skurla kept “two sets of books” and misrepresented finances with the board. Administrator Johnsen blamed Skurla for the $33 Million in debt according to the 2017 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (if police pension debt is included, the Village of East Dundee population 3182, has over $40 Million of debt). The specter of Dixon, Illinois’ Rita Crundwell $54M financial fraud is rising as a pattern of obstruction from the Village of East Dundee is growing. Timeline of my personal investigation:

  • November 2017 – The Chicago Tribune-Courier News article first exposed the fraud allegations
  • December 2017 – My conversation with Village Administrator Jennifer Johnsen where she blames the $33 Million in debt and financial fraud on Bob Skurla.
  • January and February 2018 Open Meetings Act violations by the village (being investigated by the IL Attorney General).
  • February Freedom 2018 of Information requests being denied because emails between Bob Skurla and Trustees were deleted.
  • March 2018 Freedom of Information requests being delayed and denied looking for evidence between East Dundee Finance Director Torres and Administrator Johnsen. These denials are being investigated by the IL Attorney General.

“I have asked for and received notice that the Attorney General’s Office is investigating the denial of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. There is also an Open Meetings Act (OMA) violation that is being pursued. Our democracy depends on public servants who act with integrity and hold transparency in the highest regard along with a press that will hold them accountable. Again, I have to ask, what is going on in East Dundee and what are they trying to hide?”
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State Representative
Allen Skillicorn
 
 

Merrionette Park Politicians Using Taxpayer Dollars To Push For Unlimited Home Rule Taxing Powers

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CHICAGO—The president of Taxpayers United of America (TUA) today condemned the politicians running the Village of Merrionette Park, IL, for using taxpayer dollars to urge its taxpayers to give them unlimited Home Rule taxing powers.
“Home Rule is the most insidious form of local government in the U.S.,” said Jim Tobin, TUA President. “It eliminates the protection of property tax caps and allows local governments to raise taxes without limit, and to create new taxes with which to bludgeon taxpayers.”
“Home Rule gives no advantages to taxpayers, but is a gift to local politicians who want to raise taxes. The highly misleading Village mailing entitled ‘Is Home Rule Right for Merrionette Park?’ states that ‘The Village Board commits to No Increase in Property Tax should this pass.’ It adds, ‘And, keep in mind, voters can always rescind if home rule isn’t for them’.”
“Once local politicians get unlimited Home Rule taxing powers, they will use every trick in the book to keep taxpayers from repealing it.”
“It’s disgraceful that taxpayer dollars are being used to convince the same taxpayers to put their heads in the noose of Home Rule. It is essential that every taxpayer in Merrionette Park vote ‘NO’ on this Home Rule referendum.”
“Once taxpayers give up their rights, it’s very hard to get them back.”
 

TAXPAYER MEETING IN EAST DUNDEE EDUCATES VOTERS ON THE DANGER OF HOME RULE


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East Dundee—The Fox Valley Libertarian Party (FVLP) hosted an open meeting to educate voters on the danger of home rule,  and invited Taxpayers United of America (TUA) President Jim Tobin to be their guest speaker. The speech was directed at East Dundee residents, who will decide on March 20th whether their village will cease to be a Home Rule unit.   In his speech, Jim Tobin warned taxpayers that Home Rule is the most insidious form of government in America.
“Illinois Home Rule gives unlimited taxing power to bureaucrats,” said Jim Tobin. In some cases, Home Rule even takes away citizens’ right to vote on vital city issues and limits citizens’ voice in government mayoral and council elections. “Taxpayers are effectively muzzled, except at election time, and even then, their choices are limited.”
The FVLP meeting took place at the River Street Tavern in East Dundee. The room was filled past maximum capacity, forcing many community members to stand to hear Tobin’s speech. The meeting lasted past the time it was supposed to end, as greedy pro-Home Rule village trustees both past and present disrupted the taxpayer meeting.
During the meeting the trustees tried to justify Home Rule by pointing out the $30 million in bond debt the government issued. What they didn’t say, was that it was Home Rule that allowed the bonds to be issued without voter approval.  Home Rule  is “needed” to pay off these debts, presumably using the unlimited taxing power to raise village property taxes. The Village of East Dundee only has a population of 3,182 as of 2016. The trustees also denied that property taxes pay village government retires, which they actually do through the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF).
Julie Fox, Chair of the FVLP stated, “We started a conversation that needed to happen. I consider this one of the most successful FVLP chapter meetings we’ve ever had.”
TUA, along with other local activists are also opposing Home Rule in Rockford, and Homewood.


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Taxpayers United Of America: (TUA). is a nonpartisan, 501(c)(4) taxpayer advocacy group. Founded June 27, 1976 in Chicago, Illinois by activist and economist Jim Tobin, TUA works on behalf of taxpayers to reduce local, state, and federal taxes. In the past forty years, TUA has saved taxpayers more than $200 billion n taxes and has become one of the largest taxpayer organizations in America. Check All posts. s.

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