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Algonquin Township Board rejects $107,000 in road salt bills – again

Order remains at center of misconduct investigation now with Illinois AG

Algonquin Township trustees meet during their monthly meeting on March 20 in Crystal Lake.
Algonquin Township trustees meet during their monthly meeting on March 20 in Crystal Lake.

Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser again submitted more than $107,000 in road salt bills for the township board to audit last week.

And, again, the board rejected them.

With a unanimous vote of 4-0 at the board’s monthly meeting last week, the leaders of McHenry County’s most populous township refused to approve payment for the road salt – an order that now is at the center of an official misconduct investigation inside the McHenry County Sheriff’s office.

“The board of trustees performed its statutory duty when it again unanimously rejected the resubmitted bill which did not follow lawful competitive bidding practices,” Trustee Rachael Lawrence said in a statement to the Northwest Herald. “The board simply cannot disregard its duties to correct the mistakes of the Highway Commissioner.”

Gasser could not be reached for comment.

At the Algonquin Township Board’s February meeting, trustees voted, 5-0, to reject payment to Kansas-based salt supplier Compass Minerals. In 2018, the sheriff’s office opened an official misconduct investigation into the case of almost 1,200 tons of road salt delivered to the Algonquin Township Highway Department.

That salt order did not go through the competitive bidding process in an apparent violation of state code – a move that cost the road district much more than the going road salt rate charged to other highway departments that went through the bidding process.

On Dec. 3, the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office served a grand jury subpoena to Algonquin Township Clerk Karen Lukasik to collect records for the sheriff’s office, according to documents reviewed by the Northwest Herald.

The findings of the sheriff’s office investigation were turned over to McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally, but he declined to determine whether Gasser should be prosecuted and referred the case to Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul.

Kenneally passed on prosecuting, he said, because of conflicts of interest.

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