South Jax trustees pushing for second investigation by ISP

By Ryne Turke on September 3, 2015 at 9:24pm

South Jacksonville trustees have taken action to re-open a second investigation by the Illinois State Police, looking into alleged wrongdoing at Village Hall.

The majority of Thursday’s South Jacksonville meeting consisted of comments from village residents and a closed session period between trustees.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, village resident Tyson Manker announced that trustees will be taking action to “move forward with achieving justice.”

Over the past few weeks, Manker has been in contact with Brown, Hay and Stephens, LLP to review information that was “hidden” from the ISP when the previous investigation was conducted.

Most of the information, which was obtained by Freedom Of Information Act requests, focuses on the “most blatant examples of criminal violations.”

“Now we know in the summer of 2012, auditors raised a red flag. This is all in the ISP report, minus the documentary evidence. They said ‘the numbers you have given us aren’t going to work.’ The main document is the 451 list,” says Manker.

“We believe Linda Douglass came into Village Hall five days before the audit was submitted and entered in $15,735 into the village ledger.”

Manker continued…

“There is also a savings account for people’s security deposits. When you move into the village you pay $100, it goes into the savings account and draws interest,” says Manker.

“We requested a FOIA for the months before, during and after this didn’t match up. So we proved that the books had been cooked essentially.”

The memo also contain questions regarding the financial records from the 2011 Concert in the Cornfield Celebration.

“Some people think 10,000 people were there. We know from evidence that probably 7,500 to 8,000 tickets were sold ahead of time for $10 and $15 at the gate.  Well the village that year in the audit report claimed $15,000 in ticket revenue. You do the math. At the most conservative estimate, $75,000 is unaccounted for. That is one year of the Concert in the Cornfield,” says Manker.

Manker says this information is only “the tip of the iceberg.” He hopes to have the information presented to the Appellate Prosecutor and ISP by next week.

Village President Steve Waltrip says trustees have approved the document and he looks forward to seeing what happens next.

“What Tyson presented was pretty extensive research and they seem to have uncovered quite a bit. The report they had was well documented, well put together and actually kind of overwhelming. I was very thankful for all their effort and time,” says Waltrip.

In other news, applications are being accepted for the replacement of Tom McCarthy, the village’s payable/receivables clerk and a plan commission was scheduled for September 14th at 7 p.m.

Concert chairs Paula Stewart and Kevin Eckhoff announced the latest details for the Concert in the Cornfield Celebration. A recap of the events scheduled will be discussed on Friday with Stewart, Eckhoff and Waltrip appearing on WLDS’ “What’s On Your Mind?”

To hear the complete interview with Manker about the document approved by trustees, click below.