Madison - St. Clair Record

Friday, August 23, 2019

Illinois Attorney General's Office seeks to vacate order finding conflict of interest in MC raid case

Lawsuits

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Jul 25, 2018


The Illinois Attorney General’s Office filed a petition to vacate an order finding that a conflict of interest exists in regards to a raid at the Madison County administration building six months ago, arguing that the circuit court lacks authority to order its appointment in the case. 

Visiting Associate Judge Jerry Crisel of the second Judicial Circuit entered an order June 8 removing the Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office from any investigation or prosecution of those involved in the raids and appointed the Illinois Attorney General “to carry out the task with all deliberate speed.”

In response, assistant attorney general Andrew McGinley filed a petition on July 20, arguing that the circuit court “is required to contact the Office of the Attorney General to determine if it is willing and able to accept the appointment.” McGinley claims the court did not first contact the office. 

“Further, the order is not binding because, as the Attorney General’s Office was not a party to this matter at the time the order was entered, this court did not have personal jurisdiction over the Office at the time the June 8, 2008 (sic) order was entered,” the petition states. 

In a memorandum of law in support of the petition, McGinley wrote that the court “cannot impose legal obligations” without having personal jurisdiction over the Illinois Attorney General’s Office when the order was entered. 

Crisel entered his order roughly a month after a May 10 hearing. 

He granted in part and denied in part two motions for an order finding a conflict of interest exists in the case, which involves a high-profile, mid-day raid on Jan 10. Computers and other records were taken from the offices of county administrator Doug Hulme, IT director Rob Dorman and the county’s former FOIA officer Cynthia Ellis.

He found that “an actual conflict of interest exists between the legal duties of the State’s Attorney and the Petitioners in their capacity as current or former county officials.”

However, Crisel denied the petitioners’ request to appoint private counsel at the county’s expense, finding that “the sitting State’s Attorney is still charged with that duty, the conflict having been removed.”

The motions seeking an order of a conflict of interest were filed by Hulme, Dorman, County Board chairman Kurt Prenzler and former county employee Stephen Adler. Adler is the current executive director of the Metro East Sanitary District.

While Prenzler’s office was not subject to the raid, he joined the other county officials as a petitioner in their conflict of interest dispute.

Hulme and Dorman were present at the May 10 hearing with attorney G. Edward Moorman of Alton.

Adler was present with Alton attorney Amy Sholar.

Gibbons was present with assistant state’s attorney Jeff Ezra.

Crisel was assigned to preside over the question of a conflict of interest on Feb. 28 after Madison County Chief Judge David Hylla requested a visiting judge be assigned to the case.

Ellis has not argued that a conflict of interest exists and was not present at the hearing. 

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