The second part of our two-part series on an investigation conducted into alleged wrongdoing in South Jacksonville’s Village Hall by Illinois State Police airs this morning.
We’ll focus on document destruction. It’s alleged former village clerk Linda Douglass improperly shredded a massive amount of records several weeks after losing the election for clerk in the spring of 2013.
While the village president says she was getting rid of copies of documents, other village officials believed Douglass was attempting to hide evidence of alleged criminal conduct when she was water clerk.
Jumper did acknowledge that there were documents requested by state police that went missing. When asked for them by state police, the village’s water superintendent couldn’t come up with cash receipts, adjustments, and bill register documents from the water department from 2009 to 2013.
“One of the challenges we’re faced with at this period of time is, we have a number of people who have access to those areas. So, you can’t really hold anybody accountable for them if you got five or six people or more that have access to the areas,” Jumper explained.
“Actually, I can, because the village clerk, it’s my understanding the way it’s written, is the keeper of the records. Therefore, if those records are not kept, the onus then goes to the village clerk, and at that time, Linda Douglass was the village clerk,” responded ISP investigator Deanna Harton.
Jumper talked to Illinois State Police investigators back in October.
Several days after state police attempted to interview Douglass, several officials questioned the events that happened at Village Hall late at night when a computer technician apparently was doing “backup” work. At least one police officer for the village reported it to state police.
We spoke extensively to Jill Van Giesen, a former South Jacksonville Police Department administrative assistant. The ISP report talks about official misconduct allegations against Police Chief Richard Evans, who has been with the village for decades.
Van Giesen alleges, among other things, that Evans and Linda Douglass worked together on a personal eBay business, using Village Hall to run their business.
“There was a table set up down there with bubble wrap, boxes, personal items of Richard’s- and I know they were his, they started out in his office, and went down there- record albums, golf clubs, action figures, rings, I think there were some buttons or something down there,” says Van Giesen.
“I also saw a handwritten note from Linda on a slip of paper, some printout from eBay along with those things.”
Evans has not talked to us since we reached out to him for this story.
For the full program, tune in at 10:30 to AM-1180 WLDS. Following the conclusion of this morning’s featured report, we’ll publish the full story online, along with a link to download the state police report.