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Crime

Steve Balich’s calls for audit of Sheriff Mike Kelley’s office due to whistleblower lawsuit ignored by board

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By W.J. Kennedy | Will County Gazette

An audit of the Will County Sheriff’s Office is the only way to get to the bottom of charges in a lawsuit of faked payroll records by higher-ups in the office, says Will County Board member Steve Balich (R-Homer Glen). But Balich says his calls for an audit have been shrugged off by the Democratically controlled board.

“All they tell me is that they are looking into it,” Balich told the Will County Gazette. “That’s all I know.”

Crime

Jones in as interim city manager under arrangement criticized for ‘double dipping’

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By Bob Okon | The Herald-News

The Joliet City Council was divided again Tuesday in an arrangement that makes Steve Jones the interim city manager and opens a path for him to become a contractor for the city in the future.

“This is double dipping,” Councilman Larry Hug said.

The agreement, approved in a 5-3 vote, makes it possible for Jones to go on pension starting March 1 while continuing to work for the city as a contractor.

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Crime

The Quarter Million Dollar Man, Mayor Roger Claar

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Part I – Follow the Money and See Where it Goes

By Bolingbrook Resident | The Patch

Anyone who has followed Bolingbrook politics knows that Mayor Roger Claar is the 800-pound gorilla of fundraising.  This is not simply on account of the multimillion-dollar fundraiser he had in 2016 for candidate Donald Trump, but his unmatched ability to fill his own personal campaign war chest. In an era where money greatly influences the direction of how a vote will be cast, one has to wonder where all of Claar’s campaign funds come from?

Mayor Claar’s campaign disclosure information is publicly available from the State of Illinois via the website www.elections.il.gov. The website reflects that in just three months (between April and June 2019), Mayor Claar raised $269,500$98,700 for his personal campaign fund “Citizens for Claar” and $170,800 for his newly formed political action committee “Citizens for Bolingbrook PAC.”  He is listed as the chairman of both.

While these figures alone are incredible (especially since Mayor Claar has not been up for election since 2017 and he has on numerous occasions stated that he is not going to run for Mayor again), the sources of the funds are even more remarkable. A review of the campaign disclosure indicates Mr. Claar’s financial support comes primarily from individuals who do not reside in Bolingbrook and from local businesses. Many of these local businesses have contracts with the Village or need the Village’s “blessing” for expansion, building, permitting, or licensing.  In fact, of the 147 total donors, only 30 donors were individuals.

Of the 30 individual donors, only 6 donations were from Bolingbrook residents. These 6 individuals contributed a combined total of $1,500.  In other words, 99.4% of the $269,500 raised by Roger Claar and his PAC are from businesses or individuals who do not live in Bolingbrook

Mr. Claar’s ability to raise money also dwarfs that of other mayors. In 2018 alone, Mayor Claar received more donations per-capita than Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Mayor Lightfoot raised $2.76 per capita while Mayor Claar raised $3.69 per capita. In fact, as evidenced by the breakdown below, no other local mayor comes close to Mayor Claar’s per capita amount raised.

*Mayor Claar’s total includes both “Citizens for Claar” and Citizens for Bolingbrook PAC”. 

With only 0.6% of Mayor Claar’s campaign cash coming from Bolingbrook residents it begs the question: Who does Mayor Claar serve?  If any insight is gleaned from campaign donations, it would appear the answer is:

  1. Businesses who have contracts with the Village, 
  2. Businesses who need favors from the Village, and 
  3. Individuals who want to influence Bolingbrook from outside of the community. 

Recent examples of the Mayor’s “service” to his campaign donors include the following: (1) On May 10, 2018, Ronald M. Serpico (via his personal campaign fund) donated $1,000 to Mayor Claar’s campaign fund.  On May 22, 2018, Mayor Claar authorized the retention of Mr. Serpico’s firm as Special Legal Counsel for the Village of Bolingbrook in connection with litigation related to the Opioid Crisis.  (2) On May 8, 2018, Mayor Claar approved Schroeder & Schroeder, Inc’s bid of $255,110 for the 2018-19 MFT Sidewalk Program contract. Two days later, Susan E. & Edward L. Schroeder contributed $2,300 to the Citizens for Claar campaign fund. As seen through these two examples, the influence of money on Bolingbrook politics is important; taxpayers are often the ones on the hook for contracts and benefits awarded to Mayor Claar’s donors.  Sadly, this is nothing new as pointed out by the Chicago Tribune in this article in 2014, it’s simply how Mayor Claar operates.

Check back soon for Part II of “Follow Bolingbrook Mayor Roger Claar’s Campaign Cash” when we examine expenditures from Mr. Claar’s personal campaign slush fund.

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Community

Joliet officials to explore equipping officers with body cameras

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‘It really does knock out the he said, she said’

By Felix Sarver | The Herald-News

Rockdale Police Chief Robert Dykstra recalled how a resident filed a complaint against one of his officers four years ago, accusing him of using inappropriate language.

The officer, however, was wearing a body camera and the footage showed he was behaving cordially, Dykstra said.

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