Public Watchdog.org

Hey, Snow-Job, Hey Dwarfs: Can You Say “Money Laundering”? (Updated)

11.04.18

As we wrote in our most recent post the D-207 bond referendum is less about the money than it is about the honesty of Supt. Ken “Snow-Job” Wallace and his “7 Dwarfs,” the D-207 Board members, in their stewardship of our three high schools for the past 9 years.

You can read about their dishonesty – and their incompetence, in that post

But back in our 08.24.2018 post we wrote about how, under the Election Interference Prohibition Act, 10 ILCS 5/9-25.1, it’s illegal to use public funds “to urge any elector to vote for or against any candidate or proposition….” But we’re not sure how that applies to public funds laundered through a vendor like the George K. Baum & Company (“Baum”), or a vendor like Wight & Company.

As you can see from the most recent filings by the “Yes207” campaign run by Dean Patras and based in Morton Grove, Baum appears to be the single largest contributor to that campaign’s funding with a tidy $7,943 “in-kind” contribution, presumably from the $75,000 contract Snow-Job and the Dwarfs gave it last January 8 for its “Community Engagement for future school remodeling projects,” a/k/a propaganda campaign.

Right behind Baum is the architectural and engineering firm Wight & Company, which got a $40,520 contract from D-207 back on March 5 for “Additional services for food services & furniture,” and may have other contracts in hand or in the works from D-207. Wight has chipped in $4,900 to sell the referendum to the taxpayers.

And let’s not forget the Frank Cooney Company, a school furniture company who ponied up $1,500 – presumably in return for its $72,798 contract for 66 cafeteria tables on May 7.

Could it be that these three contributions have been made by these D-207 vendors merely out of the goodness of their over-sized corporate hearts – or are they just a “thank you” to Snow-Job and the Dwarfs for profits already made, and/or a down-payment on the hope for some favorable consideration when it’s time for Snow-Job and the Dwarfs to start writing those boxcar-sized checks if the referendum passes?

If you’re a D-207 taxpayer and don’t think you’re being fleeced on this deal, think again.

UPDATE 11.05.2018. After publishing this post we did a little more digging and came across the hard evidence that all three donors actually had decent-sized contracts with D-207 this year alone. And the fact that these three campaign contributions came in only days before the election is no coincidence.

THIS is an example of just one of the many types of CORRUPTION that have destroyed this state over the past 30 years.

But so long as we keep rewarding it by employing and over-paying dishonest and conniving administrators, and by electing and re-electing the corrupt and/or clueless public officials who rubber-stamp whatever those dishonest and conniving administrators propose, D-207 will continue its academic decline despite having some of the highest paid (but least accountable) high school teachers and administrators in Illinois.

And this state will keep on sinking into the muck.

To read or post comments, click on title.

11 comments so far

I honestly thought, “Well, a bunch of neighbors got together and had signs made, good for them” — but I didn’t think THIS. The organizer of the “yes” campaign, Dean Patras, told me it was “local businesses” who donated. I figured real estate brokers, right? Little did I imagine something along these lines. Well, this *is* Crook County. (Latin motto: “Slippus envelopus”.)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Seriously? After Snow-Job and the Dwarfs spent $115K of taxpayer money for that bogus community engagement, surveys and polling from Baum and friends?

Hope you didn’t buy any Florida swampland from those local real estate brokers. 🙂

So D-207 overpaid Baum by at least the $7,900 that Baum could kick over to the referendum campaign. Great job, School Board.

EDITOR’S NOTE: OR…you could believe that Snow-Job and the Dwarfs paid Baum a fair price and that Baum – with no known ties to D-207 – donated to the referendum campaign out of the goodness of its heart.

D207 pays them our tax dollars and then they use some of that money to finance a referendum campaign that D207 can’t legally finance itself. How can that be legal? Wallace is a shifty-looking character so this is right up his alley.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We don’t think it is legal, but the only way that’s going to matter is if taxpayers vote “no” to this sleazy deal and then somebody files a complaint against Snow-Job, the Dwarfs and/or Baum, Wight and Cooney. And then hope there’s some kind of real remedy for this kind of stuff.

This being corrupt Illinois, however, we’re not holding our breath.

Just to clarify, my reference to “local real estate brokers” was only a suspicion as to what “local businesses” Mr. Patras told me were supporting his “yes” campaign. I don’t mean to impugn realtors, although I have observed how they all clam up when it comes to high property taxes in Park Ridge.

EDITOR’S NOTE: If your primary/sole source of income was selling higher-priced homes, would your sales pitch include our high/higher taxes, or schools whose rankings are in decline?

I would expect this kind of dishonesty and sleaziness from the many Madigan political strongholds, but coming from our own community it is disgusting. I just hope enough taxpayers who truly care about the long-term health of our community (and not those who are just looking for a slightly nicer place to send their kids, at everybody else’s expense) come out to vote and vote “no” on this debacle.

I also hope they remember this next April and vote out as many of the Dwarfs as might run for re-election.

EDITOR’S NOTE: From talking off the record with some industrial/commercial contractors who have looked at the list of projects for each school, the sense we got was that all the most important stuff could be done for $70-90 million, not the $235 million ($335 Million with interest and fees) Snow-Job and the Dwarfs are demanding.

We agree with your thoughts about April. If this referendum loses, and especially if the Board of Elections investigates the funding of the Yes207 campaign, one or more of the Board members up for re-election in April may decide to tuck tail and walk away.

I can’t believe how the people discussing these funding tricks on the Concerned Homeowners Facebook page ignore how taxpayers’ money was paid to Baum etc., who funneled it to Yes207 for campaign purposes in what looks to be violation of the Illinois law. Also, many of them are buying the District’s story hook, line and sinker. The sheeple are bleating.

EDITOR’S NOTE: C’mon, you’re smarter than that!

If you’re a D-207 teacher, administrator or parent of a student/future student, it’s 100% self-interest to vote to pay the tiniest fraction of the cost of this boondoggle for the benefits your or your kids will get, especially because it will allow the District to sit on $80+ MILLION with which to pay big teacher and administrator raises down the road.

As for Snow-Job, he’ll be retiring soon enough with his constitutionally-guaranteed $150-200K annual pension, which he’ll most likely collect in some other state where the taxes are a lot less. And once this referendum is passed, the Dwarfs will likely disappear in reclusive private life – like almost all of the City’s aldermen who passed the economically-irresponsible Uptown TIF.

The model for Dist. 207’s strategy is taken from New Trier, District 203. Ask for everything and the kitchen sink and when the voters turn it down, come in with a pared down request, spouting how the voice of the taxpayers was heard. District 203’s pared down referendum (from $174M to $89M) passed.

EDITOR’S NOTE: That is absolutely correct, which is what we predicted in several of our previous posts on this subject. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t going all out on this referendum to get the boxcar bucks.

I knew I smelled a rat the first time i confronted wallace. He and the seven clowns have got to go.

Patricia Heeney on 11.05.18 2:02 pm

If Ken Wallace & HIS BOARD had spent those $120 million on the projects displayed in the 2012 Wight Plan, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

Academic performance is the currency of any school district. At this stage D207’s academic purse is dwindling.

Some of those $120mm could have purchased additional teaching services.

Now we taxpayers find ourselves lied to and let down by the Wallace-Owen team. Tonight, at the General Board Meeting, I’m sure KW will tell us he’s telling us the truth. But since he’s already broken trust, how will we know now and in the future, what is the truth?

Should be interesting.

Why shouldn’t D207 hire a firm like Baum and those other companies to help itself pass a referendum?

EDITOR’S NOTE: How about that the Election Interference Prohibition Act, 10 ILCS 5/9-25.1 prohibits the use of public funds “to urge any elector to vote for or against any candidate or proposition…”?

As we’ve written, whether that applies to public funds laundered through an investment banking firm like Baum is an open legal question with no definitive answer as yet. But if you’re an end-justifies-the-means kind of person, then we can understand how this would be right up your alley.

So it appears the referendum will pass. I wonder if those who voted yes are aware of the current impact of the new hybrid block schedule and the later start time of 8:05 am. The school week is shorter by 1 hour and 15 minutes. Students have 8 periods not 9. They now spend less time in class with the second highest paid teachers in the state. Dr. Collins the principal at MS is pushing for 4 days of block classes and more late start days which will mean even less time in school for the students.

So enough taxpayers voted to give $195,000,000 to an incompetent superintendent to rebuild the schools he chose to neglect and that students will now spend less time in. The board will then have money to continue to handsomely pay teachers the students will spend less time in class with. What a brilliant plan! Thank you D207 board and superintendent for your lack of transparency in presenting the referendum to the taxpayers. And thank you to those yes voters who fell for the district’s propaganda campaign. Our taxes will definitely be going up but will the district’s ranking?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Give it 5 years to see whether the rankings go up.



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