VOSJ President-Elect Uncovers 5-year Litigation with Labor Drive

By Benjamin Cox on April 28, 2021 at 1:36pm

The Village of South Jacksonville’s President-Elect has alerted the public of a 5-year old lawsuit concerning the city’s utilities.

President-Elect Tyson Manker says that the village has been involved in litigation since 2016 with Jacksonville Affordable Housing LP over water and sewer utilities. In the alleged lawsuit, Affordable Housing, better known as Labor Drive Housing, discovered in the Spring of 2015 that the village had been overcharging residents of Labor Drive over the past decade. The lawsuit alleges that between January 2006 to December 2014, residents of Labor Drive were overcharged over $326,000 and from January 1, 2015 to May of 2015 they were overcharged nearly $35,000.

Manker says that the roughly 250 units on Labor Drive have not been billed for water and sewer services for the last 5 years. Manker says that current Village President Harry Jennings told him that the rest of the village’s residents have been paying what Manker has characterized as “surcharges” to the remaining village residents. Manker says that Jennings said the total of that subsidy is close to one million dollars.

The time frame of the overcharges overlap an Illinois State Police investigation into what they found were manipulated water bills, illegal document shredding, abuse of petty cash and intimidation by village officials. The Illinois Attorney General’s Office later refused to prosecute the case due to a lack of evidence.

Following the investigation by ISP former Village President Gordon Jumper, Village Treasurer Linda Douglass, and former Chief of Police Richard Evans, Sr. all resigned. Manker filed the ethics complaint against the village almost five years ago to the day this past April 2nd.

Manker says he will continue to share information with the public about the lawsuit when he takes over the job next month.