The following letter was sent to the Illinois Attorney General’s office. It is my opinion that several violations of the Illinois Open Meetings Act (OMA) have occurred by actions of the DeKalb Public Libary board and administration. As a result the public has been denied due process in the determination of a $1.8 million property acquisition that commits the library to major capital expenditures for the construction of a new library. You can read Daily Chronicle reports here and here.
Public Access Counselor
Office of the Attorney General
500 S. 2nd Street
Springfield, Illinois 62706
I hereby submit this request for the Public Access Counselor to review this potential Open Meetings Act (OMA) violation. I request intervention to negate the $1.8 million property sale as public funds were illegally used to consummate the sale.
Name of Public Body: DeKalb Public Library (DPL)
Dates of Alleged Violations of OMA by Public Body: July 13, 2010; June 16, 2010; June 9, 2010; etc back through 2007.
Please provide a summary of the facts supporting your allegations that the public body failed to comply with the Open Meetings Act:
The DPL has purchased real estate property from DeKalb Clinic Chartered for $1.8 million. There has been no public discussion or input allowed in this use of public funds. It appears that the transaction was approved in closed session on November 18, 2009 (see agenda below). Also note that no minutes from this 11-18-2009 meeting has been posted on the DPL website despite the approval of the DPL’s levy request. There is an undeniable pattern of disregard of the OMA practiced by the DPL Board of Directors and its Executive Officer, Dee Coover.
At the July 13, 2010 meeting OMA was violated as the purpose stated for closed session was citing 5 ILCS 120/2(2)(5). There was no real estate negotiations taking place, the transaction had already been consummated. In attendance at this closed session was the City of DeKalb Finance Director, Rudy Espiritu, and one or more architectural firms being interviewed for future contract work related to the property. Clearly this is in violation of OMA.
Likewise a Special Meeting citing only 5 ILCS 120/2(2)(5) as the agenda was held on June 16, 2010. According to the DPL legal counsel, Gary Cordes, other architectural firms were interviewed at this meeting. Cordes also said that formal public announcement of the transaction was purposely delayed so that details including financing could be worked out. Dee Coover told the Daily Chronicle reporter, Elena Grimm, that the DPL Board voted to approve the transaction in public session of its June 9, 2010 meeting but the announcement was delayed until July 13, 2010. There is no mention of the transaction as an action item on the published agenda of the June 9, 2010 meeting.
It is also clear that no meetings to fulfill 5 ILCS 120/2.06 (d) “Each public body shall periodically, but no less than semi‑annually, meet to review minutes of all closed meetings. At such meetings a determination shall be made, and reported in an open session that (1) the need for confidentiality still exists as to all or part of those minutes or (2) that the minutes or portions thereof no longer require confidential treatment and are available for public inspection” have been conducted.
I FOIA’d for minutes, notices, etc. to discover facts related to this transaction prior to the July 13, 2010 announcement. This is such a grievous assault on OMA and public’s right for open and transparent government that I ask for immediate intervention.
***Note to Requester: You must file a Request for Review within 60 days of the date of the alleged violation of the Open Meetings Act (OMA). If the alleged OMA violation occurred more than 60 days ago, the Public Access Counselor cannot accept your Request for Review.*** — Illinois Attorney General’s Office
SPECIAL MEETING OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
1. Roll Call
2. Approve levy request
3. Closed Session
Recommended Motion: “Approve letter of intent”. 5 ILCS 120/2(2)(5)
4. Recall to Regular Meeting
SATURDAY, APRIL 12, 2008
1. Meet at the Library- Roll Call
2. Travel to Remote Sites – Visit to Other Libraries
PURPOSE: “Possible Property purchase or acquisition” 5 ILCS 120/2(2)(5)
(Entire Meeting will be in Closed Session. No Public action is expected).
3. Return to the Library-Adjournment