Secretary of state demands Atlanta Public Library District return $25,000 grant
The Illinois Secretary of State's Office of General Counsel has declared in a letter its intent to recover $25,000 in grant funds from the Atlanta Public Library District due to a prohibited financial interest on the part of one of the library trustees, according to a citizen oversight group.
The Edgar County Watchdogs has been covering the issue for several months, revealing alleged discrepancies and conflicts in the library district’s Live and Learn grant application.
“[W]e wrote about how this grant application was flawed, only a paper shuffle, and never intended to be complied with,” Watchdogs co-founder John Kraft wrote in the group’s report. “[W]e detailed the timeline on how [Trustee] Bill Thomas used his position to obtain grant funds from the State Library, allegedly knowing they were obtained fraudulently – including self-serving lease provisions.”
The secretary of state has demanded that the grant funds awarded be returned, citing Thomas’ prohibited financial interests in the contract. According to the group, the grant explicitly required recipients to adhere to all state laws, and the letter alleges that Thomas’ interests violate the Public Officers Prohibited Activities Act. The library district can either accept the request or challenge it with a hearing, which would be public.