Watchdog tells DuPage trustee to “confront the past” to move forward
Government watchdogs say they have no intention of heeding a DuPage Township trustee’s post-election day plea to “stop digging up the past” in reference to inquiries into some questionable expenditures by the township.
Trustee Ken Burgess’ Nov. 8 Facebook post urged colleagues on the board to “move forward” now that the elections are over.
In response, John Kraft of the Edgar County Watchdogs posted that “you cannot move forward unless you are ready to confront the past.”
That includes, Kraft wrote, not adopting meeting policies intended to smother public comment.
“I have things to say and will continue to come to every meeting until I say all that I have to say, whether it be 2 months or 22 months,” Kraft wrote. “Only then when past actions have been adequately addressed, can you legitimately move forward.”
Kraft and ECW’s Kirk Allen have been digging into the township’s financials, including expenditures from the General Assistance fund made over the years by Supervisor William Mayer.
At the township’s Oct. 23 board meeting, a police officer escorted Kraft from the meeting when he questioned Mayer about checks from General Assistance to local groups that in turn contributed to Mayer’s campaign.
In calling the police, Mayer cited an ordinance limiting public comment, which the board had approved earlier in the evening. Kirk Allen of ECW, who also attended the meeting, said that the ordinance was invalid. He and Kraft are planning to file action in federal court against the township over Kraft being escorted out “without cause.”
ECW was alerted to financial irregularities by Trustee Alyssia Benford, a certified public accountant (CPA) with expertise in local government finances. On Nov. 6, Benford lost her GOP bid for the state House seat in the 98th.
Benford told the Will County Gazette that running for office had nothing to do with her going public over what she discovered about the township’s books over a year ago.
She also said that the “township supervisor [Mayer] is continuing to abuse his powers as well as he is incurring legal fees for ordinances needed to correct some of the financial issues that I raised prior to approving the current budget.”
She continued: “I challenge Trustee Burgess to respond to the questions asked of him by the Edgar County Watchdogs regarding the illegal pay advances and fraudulent spending of the General Assistance funds. As elected officials, we have a duty to investigate the matters and report them to the appropriate authorities.”
Neither Trustee Burgess nor Supervisor Mayer returned a request for comment
The next board meeting is scheduled for Nov. 20. John Kraft and Kirk Allen said they both plan to attend.