Open Meetings Act.
ELWOOD — The attorney general’s office is looking into allegations that the village is in violation of the Open Meetings Act.An attorney representing Ron Plunk Sr. in a civil lawsuit filed earlier this year in U.S. District Court asked the attorney general’s office to look into the matter.
Plunk is the owner of Allied Nursery Inc. He claims he was falsely arrested after a dispute that began in 2005 over a charge that his company was not given an opportunity to bid on a tree program. Allied Landscaping Corp., a company owned by Plunk’s wife Margaret, is also listed as plaintiff on the court documents.
Former Village President Bob Blum, Police Chief Dave Albert, Village Administrator Aimee Ingalls and Police Officer George Donchez Jr. are also named in the lawsuit.
Ian Johnson, the attorney representing Plunk, prompted the investigation after trying to obtain meeting minutes. In a letter dated Oct. 24 sent to village officials from the attorney generals office, “Johnson alleges the Village of Elwood Board is in violation of the Open Meetings Act as it allegedly failed to make and/or keep verbatim records of its closed meetings and failed to conduct statutorily-mandated closed meeting minute reviews.”
The letter goes on to say, “It is further alleged that full-time village staff maintains a village Web site, yet fails to post the minutes of its regular meetings hereon as required by the act.”
Last month during a regular village board meeting, Ingalls was asked if the village was working to update its Web site. She said yes, but a check to the site Tuesday revealed that the only change was an update on new officials. There were no meeting minutes to be found.
“We have furnished the attorney general with all the information they have requested,” said Jan Ruban, acting village president.
The letter requests the board respond in writing a response to the allegations and any documentation addressing its position in the matter.
The lawsuit alleges that Scott Haywood, Elwood’s public works supervisor, lied during a regular trustee meeting when he accused Allied of having done a poor job mowing village property.
“I do not know about that one because I had no reason to go back there (CenterPoint Properties),” Ruban said. “I was not mayor at that time.”
Ruban said the village is working with its attorneys to absolve the matter.