Kirk Allen and John Kraft; vets saving their county

| November 19, 2014


Someone sent us a link on Facebook about two veterans, Kirk Allen and John Kraft, who got tired of the corruption in their county, Edgar County, IL and decided that they’d do something about the local government which overspent into $79 million of debt for their 18,000 constituents. Allen and Kraft founded the Edgar County Watchdogs;

Through a combination of public pressure, Freedom of Information filings, lawsuits, and media exposure, they have created a system that deeply threatens Illinois’ corrupt, entrenched political establishment. They operate a blog called Illinois Leaks that exposes corruption at the state and local levels. The blog is so popular that, it is trusted more than the local paper.

The main thrust of the article though, is about the time that they arrested the entire Clark County Park District Board for violation of the Illinois Open Meetings Act.

When asked if there would be public comment, one of the board members said, “I vote no.” Followed by five other board members.

Board attorney, Kate Yargus, could be heard on video saying there would be no public comment that night, and told the board members they were “free to go,” even after Kraft’s citizen’s arrest announcement. She tried to cite statute to Kraft, but before she could finish, he said, “Just sit down, you are making yourself look like a fool.”

Deputies were dispatched to the scene, but instead, Clark County Sheriff, Jerry Parsley, personally responded that night. Parsley said he knew it was a heated situation and felt it would be best if he handled it. He said that Kraft handled the citizen’s arrest responsibly, and the board was definitely in violation of the Open Meetings Act by not allowing the public to speak.

“It’s not that they should have. They’re mandated to,” Parsley said. “The people need to have their voice. It’s not a dictatorship. It’s a democracy.”

The sheriff arrested six of the board members.

Here’s a link to Illinois Leaks. These guys kick serious ass.

Category: Veterans in the news

Comments (13)

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  1. Sparks says:

    “The sheriff arrested six of the board members.” Now THAT is a feel good story! Man I’d love to see that in my state, especially King County. Good on these guys! Rock on Kirk Allen and John Kraft.

  2. Pinto Nag says:

    Beautiful. Simply beautiful.

  3. AW1 Tim says:

    These United States would be well served if we could find enough good men and women to follow the example of these two good citizens.

  4. GDContractor says:

    I would like to donate 55 gallons of tar and 10 pounds of feathers.

  5. gitarcarver says:

    I looked into this story – specifically the “citizen’s arrest” part and think there is more going on there than meets the eye.

    According to the Illinois law, a violation of the open meetings statute is a civil offense – not a criminal offense. I am not sure why the sheriff would intervene in a civil matter.

    The two men are dead solid right on the meetings must allow for public comments, but whether a violation of that law can result in the arrest or detention of people is another matter.

    • Jonace says:

      He is the Sheriff he has criminal and civil authurity unlike a Police Officer that only enforce criminal violations.

      • 2/17 Air Cav says:

        No and no. A sheriff’s authority to serve papers in civil matters has nothing to do with his arrest authority. A sheriff can no more arrest someone for a civil matter than he can sentence someone for a criminal matter. The IL statute that was violated by all but one of the board members is a Class C misdemeanor. That is to say that it is a crime. It may also be a tort and likely is.

        I watched the video of the citizen’s arrest. It was a hoot.

    • John Kraft says:

      gitarcarver: In Illinois, a violation of the Open Meetings Act is a criminal offense. Specifically in Section 4, [5 ILCS 120/4], that states violators shall be guilty of a Class C Misdemeanor.

      That said, Illinois Code of Criminal Procedure specifically allows citizen’s arrest as long as it’s not a local ordinance violation [725 ILCS 5/107-3] and tells you the method of arrest [725 ILCS 5/107-5].

      In short, if you witness a criminal act, felony or misdemeanor, you can citizen arrest until proper law enforcement arrives, then you hand the suspects over to them.

      Incidentally, Ancel-GlLink law firm has started placing citizen arrest for Open Meetings violations in the training they provide to local public bodies.

  6. jonp says:

    I think he should meet the Milwaukee Sheriff halfway between the two places and kick ass all the way there. Good men in law enforcement are still out there.

  7. streetsweeper says:

    Well, gentlemen and women, that’s your queue to get involved in your local, county and state government affairs. I’ve said before, it is going to take veterans becoming involved in turning things around for the betterment of this country. Speaking of that, I have a series of city/county meetings to attend and see how many elected and appointed “officials” I can piss off again.

    • AW1 Tim says:

      The local city council ans school board already hate it whenever I show up, because they know I’m going to be calling someone out for something.

      It’s funny because when I stand up, I take a moment before I walk to the podium just so I can watch all of them roll their eyes. 🙂

  8. 19D2OR4-Smitty says:

    Speaking as a loyal (and often irked) citizen of the Great State of Illinois abroad, I can say that the IL State government would have FAR less corruption and issues (Pretty sure we hold the Governor getting arrested record at this point) if they would section off everything north of I-80 and make that a separate state entity. Everything south of I-80 would be much better off. Let Chicago politics stay in Chicago. Let the rest of us govern ourselves.