McLean County Panel To Review Ethics Complaint Next Week | WGLT

McLean County Panel To Review Ethics Complaint Next Week

Sep 28, 2018

McLean County’s Ethics Commission has scheduled a meeting to review a complaint filed against County Clerk Kathy Michael.

The meeting will be held at 9 a.m. Monday at the McLean County Government Center’s County Board meeting room.

The complaint, filed Wednesday by Sarah Lindenbaum, alleges the two-term Republican did political work on county-owned computers and tried to destroy a laptop to conceal evidence. Lindenbaum is a supporter of Michael’s Democratic challenger, Nikita Richards.

After earlier announcing plans to attend the hearing, Michael said Sunday she will not be there because "there is no opportunity at that time for questions and answers."

"I have copies of everything, and considering who filed the complaint and many other things, I believe I am on solid ground," Michael said on her Facebook page. "We will see how statute is interpreted."

The three-member commission, led by Herman Brandau, plans to go into a closed session to deliberate whether the matter warrants a hearing or a review by the state’s attorney’s office.

Don Craven, an attorney for the Illinois Press Association, said the county has the legal right to hold those deliberations in private.

“The preliminary closed hearing process is very similar to the preliminary closed hearing process that, for instance, the (Illinois) State Board of Elections uses when complaints are filed about a candidate or an election committee under the election code."

Craven added the intent is to weed out frivolous complaints so that “nobody’s time, money and energy is wasted, but the serious complaints will get a hearing.”

Michael hasn’t address the allegations specifically, but issued a statement late Wednesday calling the allegations a “typical October surprise,” and added McLean County Republicans need to “stop this radical, socialist agenda from taking over our county.”

The commission will have to issue a ruling at least one week before the Nov. 6 election, since the complaint was filed within 60 days of an election.

Richards also faces an ethics complaint in her bid to unseat Michael. Kevin Gerrard of Bloomington alleged Richards, a human resources employee for the City of Bloomington, “voraciously engaged in campaigning activities and shopping during her working hours at Bloomington City Hall.”

The city is coordinating an independent review of the matter.

Michael and Richards are scheduled to appear in a GLT candidate forum Oct. 4.

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