Madison County Chairman Alan Dunstan said in a press release he wants to make sure “something like what happened in the Metro East Sanitation District doesn’t happen again,” regarding allegations that MESD President Andy Economy’s car repair business may have improperly profited from repairing county owned vehicles.
Dunstan said he would request a review by a County Board Committee of all policies and procedures used by boards and commissions under Madison County governance. The review would be conducted on all boards whose members are appointed by the Madison County Board.
Andy’s Auto Body & Towing in Madison has brought in $33,150 in profits from repairs to district owned vehicles, according to a report in the Belleville News Democrat. The paper reported that $18,400 of that came from the many wrecks of a district-owned car driven by MESD executive director Bob Shipley.
Economy spoke with the Madison County 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 told the Record.
Dunstan appointed Economy to his position of MESD president.
Economy is one of Dunstan's largest political donors – having given at least $15,000 to Dunstan’s campaign both personally and through his car repair shop, according to illinoissunshine.org.
Dunstan’s office told the Record he was not available for an interview – but did send a press release.
“It is important that these taxing districts operate in a manner that follows legal, ethical, and best management practices and in a way that is completely open and transparent to the public,” Dunstan said in the release.
According to the release, Dunstan has already taken action in the case of the district vehicles.
“The day the allegations were brought to his attention, on October 16th, concerning a possible conflict of interest regarding a district vehicle being repaired by one of the Metro-East Sanitary District’s Commissioner’s business, he immediately requested the Attorney representing the Metro East Sanitary District stop the activity and that a thorough review of the situation take place,” the release states.
Madison County Treasurer Kurt Prenzler is running against Dunstan for County Board Chairman. He said he wants an investigation into the alleged activities of Economy – not just an investigation of policy.
“If the alleged actives 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,” Prenzler said. “An investigation should be conducted into the reports of these actives, as well.”