Monday, March 13, 2006

National Taxpayers United of Illinois BUST MORTON DIST. 201 LAWBREAKERS

The following press release was sent to us by the National Taxpayers United of Illinois.

FOR RELEASE: Monday, March 13, 2006
Contact: Jim Tobin (312) 427-5128 (office), (773) 354-2076 (cell)


BERWYN--The president of Illinois' largest taxpayer organization announced today that the group has reported J. Sterling Morton High School District 201 to the Cook County State's Attorney for violating the Illinois Election Interference law in the campaign to increase the school district's property tax rate.

On Thursday March 9, NTU Vice-President Jeffrey Babbitt spoke with the General Counsel for the Illinois State Board of Elections, Steve Sandvoss, regarding District 201's illegal activities. Sandvoss advised that District 201's actions violated criminal law and should be reported to Mary Bucaro at the Public Corruption and Financial Crimes division of Cook County
State's Attorney Dick Devine's office.

NTU outlined several violations committed by District 201 in its complaint filed with the State's Attorney on March 9, including the distribution of "a fax promoting a fundraising event for the Morton Quality in EducationCommittee ... and urging support for the referendum ... through a District 201 fax machine paid for with public funds and using telecommunications services paid for with public funds," listing a District 201 phone number as a contact number for the pro-referendum political action committee, and displaying a large pro-referendum banner on school property. All of
these charges have been substantiated by reporter Johnna Kelly and city editor Robert Carr at The Life newspapers.

The complaint also stated that public employees on District 201's staff may have further violated the Elections Interference law by performing political pro-referendum work while on the clock. NTU's complaint ended by urging the State's Attorney's office "to take immediate action on this violation of election law."

"District 201 teachers and administrators want a substantial property-tax hike--more than $400 every year for the average homeowner--in order to line their pockets with more $100,000 salaries," said Jim Tobin, president of National Taxpayers United of Illinois (NTU) and a 23-year-resident of the school district. The district taxes Berwyn, Cicero, Stickney, Lyons,
Forest View and McCook. "Apparently it's hard for them to convince the taxpayers while playing fair. They have broken the law on several counts, and it's time for them to take the consequences."

"Giving District 201 more money would do nothing for the children, but it certainly would support District 201's culture of corruption and greed," said Tobin.

Founded in 1976, NTU is the largest taxpayer organization in Illinois with over 10,000 members and affiliation with more than 200 local taxpayer groups.

Jim Tobin
National Taxpayers United of Illinois

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