A public official is calling for an investigation of Andy Economy, Metro East Sanitary District’s president of the Board of Commissioners, to determine if his car repair business is improperly profiting from the sanitary district.
“If the alleged activities are true, this board member should resign immediately and if he refuses, the county board chairman and the county board should remove him, which is allowed by Illinois law,” Madison County Treasurer Kurt Prenzler told the Madison County Record. “An investigation should be conducted into the reports of these activities, as well.”
Prenzler, who is running for County Board Chairman against incumbent Alan Dunstan, said state law is clear – board members are not to be “enriched financially from their position.”
Economy’s repair shop, Andy’s Auto Body & Towing in Madison, has brought in $33,150 in total work on district cars in three years, according to a report in the Belleville News Democrat. The paper reported that $18,400 of that comes from the many wrecks of a district-owned car driven by executive director Bob Shipley.
“Too many times in Madison County we have seen pay-to-play politics in plain view of the county board chairman," Prenzler said. "This appears to be another example of the lack of ethics surrounding the political machine that runs Madison County. We not only see pay-to-play politics, but we see numerous cases of nepotism throughout the county.”
Andy Economy was appointed to his position by Dunstan. A check of Dunstan’s campaign contributors on illinoissunshine.org reveals Economy as one of his largest donors – giving $15,000 to Dunstan’s campaign both personally, and through his car repair shop.
“This appears to be another case where ethics takes a back seat to political donations,” Prenzler said.
Economy recently spoke with the Record about the business his company earned in repairing district-owned vehicles. He acknowledged that his repair shop works on the vehicles, but denied any impropriety.
“If the levee paid it out of their pocket it would be a different story, but the levee board’s insurance company is paying for it,” Economy said. .
Economy and Shipley are also on the Board of Commissioners for America’s Central Port.
Economy has also come under fire recently for alleged nepotism involving the hiring of his wife. According to FOX2now St. Louis, Economy hired his wife Debbie as his assistant.
“Not only is his wife paid $61,000 a year, but Supervisor Andy Economy gets to decide his wife’s pay raises and her salary has doubled over the past year,” according to FOX2now.
“You want to talk like an idiot, I’ll treat you like an idiot,” Economy is quoted as saying by the news station, in response to questions about why he hired his wife. “I’m not the only one doing it."
Prenzler, who is running for Dunstan’s position, said Economy's actions are in direct violation of state law.
The Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act states, “No person holding any office, either by election or appointment under the laws of the constitution of this State, may be in any manner be financially interested directly in his own name” (50 ILCS 105/3).
The statute further states the county board chairman and the county board are allowed to remove Economy from his position.
Prenzler told the Record if he is elected, he would appoint someone new to the board, but that the board itself would have to decide on a new director.