Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Anita Hanna, Waukegan Public School Dist. 60 Board President


Phone: 847-780-6045


Note that Hanna received 3,122 votes in the April 2013 election.
As of Nov. 3, 2014 there are over 6,000 views of this release

The legacy of Illinois elected officials abusing their authority and wasting taxpayer monies now extends to local school board government in Waukegan.

The Annual Budget for WPS60 is $162 Million based upon revenues from local property taxes, federal and state allocations. For Fiscal Years 2014 and 2015 the surplus amount reported is approximately $25 Million. The average income level in Waukegan is $49,000 and every student in the district qualifies for subsidized hot meals provided at taxpayer expense.

An on-going investigation by CORRUPTION BUSTERS         (http://corruptionbusters24x7x365.blogspot.com
into the calculated diversion of monies earmarked for direct education syphoned off to sole source contracts awarded to friends and family by the administration of Dr. Donaldo Batiste and Mary Lamping and the featherbedding of administrative staff with high ticket annual compensation and benefits in cahoots with the elected school board led by President Anita Hanna has been uncovered via a series of information requests obtained via the Freedom of Information Act.

Illustrations of waste of taxpayer funds includes:
  • ·   Sole source award to attorney Anthony Ficarelli at Hinshaw & Culbertson for $50,000 for outside legal fees billed at $275 per hour with no cap as Chief Negotiator for the district in collective bargaining with the Teacher’s Union while employing Thomas Morris (currently Of Counsel at Hinshaw) as General Counsel at an annual salary of $235,000.

  • ·   Sole source award to Leila Eames, Batiste crony from New Orleans for consulting to train WPS60 Principals. For 2013 and 2014 the contracts total $79,000.

  • ·  Increase of Administrative Staff in consecutive years 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 ranging from $11.7 Million now up to $13.9 Million (not including increases in benefits and pensions that will place a heavier burden on Illinois taxpayers already strained by climbing pension payments calculated on the last four years of service).

New information obtained related to Anita Hanna reveal abuse of her elected office by approaching the Waukegan Township soliciting taxpayer funds as “donations” to her family business, Black Student’s Parents Organization that she claims to have started in 1983

A search with the Illinois Secretary of State’s office shows no corporate filing for this entity. A search of the Illinois Attorney General’s records and the Internal Revenue Service filings for non-profit 501C3 status reveals no registration of this entity.

The Illinois Compiled Statutes 760ILCS 55/ Charitable Trust Act specifies Trust and Fiduciary Duties for Organizations and Individuals holding property for or solicited for charitable purposes. There are registration requirements and on-going filing requirements for compliance.

Hanna is in violation of this statute for failing to register.

We have written documentation authored by Hanna directed to Waukegan Township Supervisor Patricia Jones, soliciting funds dated May 19, 2013 stating “The BSPO is submitting this request for financial support for 3 youth Counselors. I propose 8 weeks of salary at minimum wage ($8.25) for 6.5 hours per day, which total $6435 for the duration of camp.”

Waukegan Township authorized the disbursement of $2,500 on June 17, 2013 via check no. 22735. We have not been able to confirm if this expenditure was approved by the board or at the discretion of Patricia Jones nor the nature of any personal relationship between said individuals or other Township officials. 

On April 13, 2014 Hanna again solicited the Waukegan Township advising that “All proceeds are deposited in the organization’s account and used  exclusively for the children. Previous funding has come from private donations, parents and my own finances.

Again, without due diligence to determine if BSPO was registered as a 501C3 charity, with an IRS EIN, Waukegan Township provided an additional $2,500 donation via check no. 23708 dated April 25, 2014. The Township failed to request financial statements or proof of use of the funds as solicited by Hanna. Without being a properly registered charity, obtaining this information through public channels or via FOIA was not an option.  

Note that the endorsement on the back of the check reads "Black Diamond" and not Black Student's Parent Organization. The account at Great Lakes Credit Union is redacted so it is unclear if this is a second account held by Hanna. 

The express purpose of soliciting funds in 2014 from Waukegan Township was for the day camp, not the Black Diamond awards. "The Community Summer Day Camp is requesting financial support to (de)fray cost of, a bi-weekly summer wage for four young adults" again specifically earmarked for payroll. 

It appears that Hanna converted those funds to other purposes not promised to the Township.

Hanna simply expected the Township to “trust her”. They were surely aware of her position as Board member at WPS60 when she solicited funds. Perhaps she parlayed her personal relationship with Jones or other Township employees to first approach them in 2013?

Again, at this time we have no additional information as to who authorized this expenditure or whether it received board approval.

The May 19, 2013 solicitation letter also advises that “The camp begins June 10 thru August 2 at the Webster Middle School. At this time, the Waukegan Public Schools provides the facility free of charge to BSPO.”

This is curious. It is not the regular practice of WPS60 to provide its facilities to private businesses, especially at no charge. Any business seeking to use the facilities would be required to make an application, provide at a minimum a Certificate of Insurance indicating a minimum $1 Million for Liability coverage.  These entities would also need to display evidence of Financial Responsibility. The next step would be for WPS60 authorized personal to enter into a site use contract and obtain either administrative and/or board approval. So, who approved the use of the facility by Hanna’s day camp? Who granted her free rent? 

The use of the facility provided a personal benefit to Hanna as an in-kind quid pro quo at least a market value of free rent.

Hanna used her position as Board President to obtain a sweetheart deal for her family business for use of the school not available to any other citizen of Waukegan or local businesses. This is surely discriminatory in nature and smacks of favoritism towards her by the public entity that she controls. 

It is certainly an abuse of her power and exceeds her authority as an elected official.

In addition, there was no provision for reimbursement to the district for custodial services; those expenses were borne by the taxpayers. Who at WPS60 authorized this agreement with Hanna? We are still investigating and will publish that information when received from WPS60 via FOIA.

Charitable Trusts are required to file an IRS990 annual return that discloses the finances of the charity, source and use of funds, as well as the identities of directors and employees. These filings are also archived with the Illinois Attorney General’s Charitable Trust department and available for public access.  

Waukegan Public Schools Foundation (EIN36-3444790) is a duly registered 501C3 established in 1986 now showing Dr. Donaldo Batiste as Registered Agent (since 5/1/2006).  As Board President, Hanna has oversight of this Foundation, and is not ignorant as to the requirement to file proper documentation with the regulatory agencies.

Anita Hanna has taken the position that she is above the law. Since 1983, Hanna has had ample time to properly register her entity with the appropriate authorities. Barring evidence to the contrary, Hanna is required to file Quarterly Payroll 941 Returns to both the State of Illinois and IRS for paying employee salaries, as represented in her solicitation.

She is also required to file Federal and State tax returns. Co-mingling business funds with personal funds is a breach of fiduciary.

Public records accessed on the Circuit Court of Lake County’s
portal indicate a pattern of lawsuits that indicate problems 
with Hanna’s personal finances, yet the taxpayers have entrusted her with custodial and fiduciary authority to manage a budget of $162 Million.

As WPS60 Board President, Hanna has a fiduciary duty as elected trustee to protect the assets of Waukegan taxpayers. Violating state and federal statutes is a breach of trust.

Immediate demand is made for Hanna to release to the public her business records, including bank account deposits and expenditures made at Great Lakes Credit Union, for the Black Student’s Parent Organization showing sources and use of funds that include taxpayer monies. 

The Illinois Attorney’s Office has been provided this information and has been asked to open an investigation of potential wrongdoing by an elected official.

Tom Morris, General Counsel, is also Ethics Officer for WPS60. In the interest of the public trust, Morris needs to determine if there were acts of civil or criminal wrongdoing by Hanna and should immediately commence investigating these matters. Morris must insure impartiality. In the event that he determines a conflict of interest, he should recuse himself and seek resources in City of Waukegan government who can be independent and impartial.

During these investigation, Hanna should be suspended from

making any financial decisions or rendering any votes for WPS60



No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.