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?”