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UPDATED: AG Office Requests Release of Closed Meeting Minutes

The Attorney General's office ruled that portions of closed meeting minutes not directly related to setting a sale price for village-owned property should be released.

Candidates fielded questions of government transparency at last month's candidate forum, and now residents are challenging that transparency.

The Attorney General's public access office is looking into potential Open Meetings Act (OMA) violations by the vilage's board of trustees.

A resident filed a request for review on Mar. 24, stating that the trustees had gone into closed session specifically to discuss the "sale of property" after their Jan. 17, Feb. 7, Feb. 21, Mar. 7 and Mar. 21 meetings. The request alleges that trustee Mark Boyle's remarks at the implied that trustees were meeting with developers in closed session to discuss redevelopment strategies.

A staff member with the Public Access office sent an advisement letter on April 5 requesting meeting minutes or recordings of the closed sessions. After the village's response deadline (seven working days) has passed, the Public Access office will either make a determination or request further information to make their decision.

Mayor Joe Broda said he could not comment at this time. Patch will update this story as more information is available.

What topics can public bodies discuss in closed meetings? Read the full list of exemptions (starts in Section P.A. 96‑1378).

 

UPDATED: April 27, 9:30 a.m.
The village confirmed receipt of the request for review on April 8. On April 15 an attorney representing the village requested a 21-day extension to provide requested materials to the Public Access office. However, the extension was denied.

The public access office has yet to confirm they've made a decision on the request for review.

 

UPDATED: May 24, 12 p.m.
The public access office ruled that the village board should release portions of closed meeting minutes on the dates previously mentioned. While talks focused on village-owned property and possible incentive packages in their sale, they found discussions did not directly relate to setting a sale price.

Village attorney Paul Keller explained in a statement to the public access office, dated April 21, that the village owned several parcels of land in the downtown area and were exploring various avenues to sell the property. Keller believed the discussion topics were compliant with OMA laws under two exemptions that allow closed meeting for discussions related to the sale or leasing of property, and setting a price.

“While the discussion of this matter extended over six separate meetings, the six meetings must be viewed as one continuing conversation concerning the same topic,” he wrote. “The discussion in all of the meetings collectively, has been for the purpose of providing the village board with information regarding the various conditions, options and factors affecting the value of village owned property.”

But resident MaryLynn Zajdel believed the board took some liberties with the exemptions’ language. She filed the request for review with the assistance of Elmhurst-based Citizen Advocacy Center, and its director, Terry Pastika.

“The discussions of how to purchase property to assemble it and sell it to a developer with financial incentives, if in fact that is what happened, is outside the appropriate scope of the exception,” Zajdel said in a statement.

The public access office agreed. In the determination letter from an assistant attorney general on May 23, they recognized that the village board did conduct discussions on items that affect the value of property, but ultimately did not relate directly to setting a price.

“I think this determination by the Attorney General is indicative of a broader problem with transparency in Lisle, certainly dating back to summer 2009 when the discussions regarding Navistar and TIF incentives were taking place in a series of closed session meetings,” Zajdel stated.

The public access office determined that no final actions had been taken on the closed meeting items.

Bill April 17, 2011 at 12:42 AM
There should be an update on this by now. I notice that there is no closed session scheduled for the next VB meeting! I guess all the prices to sell all that property is all set to go.
Karlie Baker (Editor) April 17, 2011 at 01:39 PM
The village had seven working days to respond, which places their due time around mid last week. In my experience keeping up with these requests it takes the AG's office more than a week to process.
Jane May 24, 2011 at 09:33 PM
It really a loss for Lisle citizens that these VIOLATIONS of the IL Open Meetings Act by the Lisle Village Board were not determined before the April election! Remember these statements from the candicate forum... "Boyle and Cawiezel both addressed accusations of ‘back room deals’ in executive session. Both trustees stated that executive session is guided by state guildelines, and an attorney is present to assure that discussion stays on topic." - Looks like Lisle needs a new attorney. “To suggest that things are being held in “back room” that shouldn’t be alleges fraud…. For there to be fraud would necessitate collusion among large number of people—the board, mayor, staff, village attorney… I’m just not buying that.” - Well, then maybe 'fraud' and 'collusion' is indeed the case..
Steve in Lisle May 25, 2011 at 11:50 AM
Have Broda and all Lisle trustees been fined $1,500 FOR EACH VIOLATION? If not, why not?
Don May 25, 2011 at 03:04 PM
6 months in jail (30 days for each violation) would be a good way to teach them all a lesson in transparency.
Richard May 25, 2011 at 06:32 PM
I think Lisle will just release the closed session meeting minutes without admitting that the Board violated the Open Meetings Act - six times. Similar to how Oak Park handled a similar determination by the IL Attorney General of their violation of the Open Meetings Act. http://triblocal.com/oak-park-river-forest/2011/04/20/responding-to-violation-oak-park-releases-closed-door-meeting-transcripts/ I certainly hope Lisle is not planning to use taxpayer funds to pay attorneys to appeal the Attorney General's determination. Bad enough that we taxpayers foot the bill for attorneys that don't seem to know the law well enough to advise the Board when they are doing something illegal. Not to say that the Village Board gets to point the blame at the attorney - they all know the law and show be held accountable individually.
Dan May 27, 2011 at 06:55 PM
Has Lisle released the minutes and audio recordings of these illegal meetings yet?
Geroge May 27, 2011 at 08:44 PM
Why would discussion of FINANCIAL INCENTIVES (for example, TIF Districts) ever be considered by our oh-so transparent Mayor as OK to discuss in closed session??
Tom May 29, 2011 at 02:29 PM
More secret back-room deals at these illegal meetings? Illegal meetings and secret deals is the "Lisle-way" ...and Mayor Broda wouldn't change a thing. He obviously thinks he's above the law. http://www.villageoflisle.org/docs/medianavistar-0210.pdf
Jan G May 29, 2011 at 04:14 PM
This tells me that Boyle and Cawiezel are either covering up or clueless. Either way, it is totally unacceptable!
M.K. May 29, 2011 at 04:38 PM
FRAUD & CONSPIRACY. Definately a violation of the Public Trust. I think we should demand the audio tapes be released and these people should resign now. I can image a Metra-type scandal or DuPage Housing Authority-type scandal will be the next Lisle headline on criminal activity by our elected officials....
Karlie Baker (Editor) May 29, 2011 at 06:12 PM
The determination from the Attorney General's office didn't indicate any further action was required past releasing the portions of the meeting minutes. I haven't put through a FOIA for these items yet, but the AG's office did state that no decisions were made during these sessions.
Ben May 30, 2011 at 10:26 AM
"The first sign of corruption in a society that is still alive is that the end justifies the means." - Georges Bernanos
Ben May 30, 2011 at 10:41 AM
“The very word ‘secrecy’ is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths, and to secret proceedings.” - John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Charles June 02, 2011 at 06:40 PM
I bet the Village Board tries to blame the attorney ... was the attorney even at these illegal meetings? Politically, what else can they do when the Attorney General determined that they repeatedly violated the Open Meetings Act? They have to blame someone...
Lisle Watchdog April 11, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Lisle Open Meeting Violations as per this determination of the IL Attorney General is brought up at the Forest Preserve... Sure enough, the FP commissioners try to use the attorney to justify their illegal actions. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yw-icKIbniU&feature=youtu.be
Jane April 11, 2012 at 10:08 PM
Lisle has become the poster-child of OMA violations in a village in Illinois. 6 illegal meetings in one year. You can bet that there were some illegal meeting on this UTI and new TIF as well. How else did the officials in Glendale Heights know about the $8Million tax deal before Lisle even hired Kane McKenna??
Joanne September 19, 2012 at 10:07 PM
Did Lisle ever approve and release the minutes from the illegal meetings? Were they planning tax incentives and TIF districts in closed session?
Jane September 28, 2012 at 01:10 PM
Is the Village Board planning another violation of the Open Meetings Act to discuss "sale of property?" Haven't they learned their lesson after the IL AG found 6 violations in 2011 that closed meeting discussions are limited to "setting the price" of property for sale?
Dick September 28, 2012 at 01:18 PM
A back-room meeting in Lisle? Just a reminder that a violation of the Open Meetings Act is punishable with a fine of 1500 or 30 days in jail. I am sick and tired of all these illegal "secret" meetings in Lisle.
Lisle Watchdog September 28, 2012 at 01:25 PM
Betcha they plan to talk about a TIF District in connection with sale of property - the same way the Navistar TIF went down. Its time for REFORM and TRANSPARENCY in Lisle.
Maria September 28, 2012 at 01:59 PM
Closed meeting discussion on "Sale of Property" is not allowed by State Law. Closed meetings are only allowed for "setting the price" of real property that the public body has already publicly decided to sell. If this were a legitimate closed meeting, the agenda would say: (6) The setting of a price for sale or lease of property owned by the public body. http://www.villageoflisle.org/docs/100112_vb_agenda.pdf
George P September 28, 2012 at 02:25 PM
It is illegal to hold closed meetings on "sale of property" This YouTube video explains it well and uses the Village of Lisle's violation of OMA for 6 meetings in 2011. After the FP went ahead with their closed meeting, the IL AG found it also in violation of OMA. Discussion of tax incentives, TIF Districts, etc in connection with "sale of property" is ILLEGAL. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yw-icKIbniU More background.. http://cleanlisle.blogspot.com/2011/06/update-on-illegal-secret-meetings-of.html
D R September 28, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Discussions of Lisle tax deals and incentives in closed session?! They should be charged and fined or jailed.
Chapman September 28, 2012 at 06:02 PM
"Back-room Broda" is at it again!
Bill September 28, 2012 at 10:21 PM
Mayor Joe "we've got no secrets in Lisle" Broda? http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20120719/news/707199684/
Frank F October 08, 2012 at 08:55 PM
Secret meetings on land sales... again!!
George P February 22, 2013 at 11:14 PM
More secret meetings on land sales in Lisle? While can't the taxpayers hear about the tax incentives and proposed new TIF District?
Maria February 28, 2013 at 01:33 AM
At the closed meeting on Feb 18th, word is out that the Board talked about things outside of the scope of "setting a price"....
Jane March 01, 2013 at 02:49 PM
Is Lisle violating the Open Meetings Act like Elmhurst discussing development in closed session? http://elmhurst.patch.com/articles/attorney-general-aldermen-violated-open-meetings-act-with-closed-talks-about-addison-development

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