Democracy is a fragile notion, yet the etymology of the word is straightforward: “Democracy, literally, rule by the people. The term is derived from the Greek dēmokratia, which was coined from dēmos (“people”) and kratos (“rule”) in the middle of the 5th century BCE to denote the political systems then existing in some Greek city-states, notably Athens.” democracy | Definition, History, Meaning, Types, Examples, & Facts | Britannica
“Rule by the People” can mean many things. In the United States, a “republic” according to Article 4 of the U.S. Constitution and to the sworn Pledge of Allegiance often mouthed by our elected officials, the people’s rule is based upon and tempered by the Constitution and the Rule of Law.
The two political parties, Democrats and Republicans, loosely and erratically, both hew to the same small “r” republican doctrines but often come to seemingly diametrically opposed platforms. A republican form of government is distinguished from a direct democracy, which the Founding Fathers had no intentions of entering. As James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 10, “Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”
The “great issues” of today capture the most attention, but the small hyper-local issues often almost completely escape notice. In Illinois, the 7000 local governments too often use their near anonymity to make decisions based on what they can get away with while ignoring their written rules. Geneva is a classic example. But the Geneva City Council has gone one step further. The Council simply ignores evidence and rules it does not like, and lies about the facts.
In these posts, I have focused on four specific Geneva instances involving gimmicks, chicanery, and fraud: Emma’s Landing, Malone Funeral Home, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Mill Race Inn. Abuse and violation of the Open Meetings Act have been rampant. “Fact Sheets” containing outright lies have been issued on Emma’s Landing. Malone Funeral Home was expanded illegally twenty years ago and thus lost its “pre-existing, non-conforming” status granted under the 1995 Zoning Ordinance. A Malone’s Funeral Home application in 2012 for a Special Use was denied, but, (in Roe v Wade fashion) approved in 2021 while never mentioning the prior illegal expansion. Malone Funeral Home was not eligible to even apply for a Special Use in 2021 under the Zoning Ordinance. Director of Development Untch testified to the “error” (made by both Plan Commission and City Council) at a formal hearing a decade ago. Dunkin fraudulently “skipped” the Illinois statutory requirement for an IDOT permit and Geneva “winked” and looked the other way. Then the City Council granted a Special Use while “allowing” prohibited encroachments in the ROWs of both Crissey and State Streets in clear violation of Standard 8 of the Special Use Ordinance. The Geneva Code requires all nine standards to be met. The City Council winked and nodded as usual. Genevans footed the entire $300,000 consultant fee for the failed Mill Race Inn “Charette,” and irregularities in the accounting for this expenditure exist. The total bill came due when the developer, who was to pay half, was double-crossed by the City.
Perhaps the most illustrative example of the mayor’s “Geneva Way” came with the Plan Commission actions in the Malone Special Use application a decade ago. The Ordinance requires that all nine Special Use standards “shall” (defined in the Ordinance itself as meaning “must”) be met for a Special Use to be approved. The staff’s “findings of fact” found the application failed to meet over half of the nine. A motion was made to accept the findings of fact and it passed unanimously. Then two of the commissioners voted to approve the Special Use! I vowed never again to attend such a sham proceeding. The “deal” is done under the “Geneva Way” by the time the public first learns of a proposal.
For Malone Funeral Home (featured in the Mayor’s election literature) a Variance was granted simultaneously with the Special Use even though the Geneva Code says that when two rules can apply, the more restrictive provision “shall” prevail. Illiteracy or arrogance can be the only explanation for the Council and Plan Commission actions.
This is a shameful record of the “What can we get away with?” group of “professional” hired minions of the current Mayor and his mostly self-appointed city council, boards, commissions, etc. Checks and balances do not exist. Questions are not answered under Geneva’s McKittrick/Dawkins Doctrine. Aldermen’s questions are anonymous and the hard ones are never answered. The City has no Inspector General. Municipalities in Illinois have lost hundreds of millions of dollars through corruption in spite of hiring big-name auditing firms. No one knows the extent of this because no one is watching.
Individual natural rights are at the heart of our form of government. “Majority rule” has its rightful place, but it is blunted in our republic by checks and balances, and the rule of law. Under the current failed administration, Geneva, as Genevan Walter Stackman once heroically proved, [STACKMAN v. CITY OF GENEVA | FindLaw] became a place where you can have just as much justice as you can afford. In Walter Stackman’s case, his property rights cost him $70,000.
Wake up Geneva. Start asking the hard questions.
Geneva’s Mayor and his minions received a free “preplay” “call” from an industry expert on how Emma’s Landing would score using IHDA’s Qualified Allocation Plan score sheet. They buried this preplay and used various forms of “stick em” (2494) Pitching Trick – Legal Stick Em For Pitchers – YouTube to defraud other applicants and Geneva voters and taxpayers.
From: Hume An
Sent: Monday, July 1, 2019 12:02 PM
To: DeGroot, David; Tymoszenko, Cathleen
Subject: Thank you and follow up
Hi David and Cathleen:
Thank you for taking the time to meet with me on Friday. I found the meeting highly productive. After the meeting, I had a chance to drive the sites you suggested, and I had a chance to score them based on IHDA’s 2019 application. I have strong interest in the two City-owned sites, particularly the site along the river (I believe it’s 306 Crissey). That site scores very well, and I think would be suitable for workforce housing. I also like the City-owned site on Lewis Rd. near
the townhome development. It scores a little lower as it’s a little further from amenities and public transportation, but I think it still scores pretty well. After the two City sites, I really like the site behind the Walgreens. I would love to explore how to advance discussions on the two City sites. What is the best way to do so? Should I send LOIs for the two properties? Would you like to set up a call to discuss further?
Senior Vice President of Development [MVAH]
Upper Midwest Region
“Pretty well” may not have made the cut in an un-rigged process. Remember that IHDA announced Geneva/Burton as a “winner” but believed the site was donated to the Burton Foundation by Geneva’s taxpayers. The Mayor and City Council did nothing to disabuse IHDA of its mistaken belief. Or IHDA employed the “wink and nod” gambit that is deeply embedded in the “Geneva Way.” How long will the “Geneva Way” set the ethical standard for how we “play ball” in Geneva?
The answer lies in the tenets of the “Geneva Way:” ambush, smoke and mirrors, sleight-of-hand, distortions, selective and restricted dissemination of information, cheating, abuse and unlawful usurpation of municipal powers, and outright fraud.
During an illegal secret City Council meeting on August 26, 2019, [Geneva Economic Development Director] DeGroot informed the Council that Geneva had been “approached by two developers regarding affordable housing sites; namely the Lewis Road site. Burton Foundation offered a letter of intent to build 49, 2-story townhome units with an initial offer of $700,000 for the City’s property. An earlier, additional letter of interest from MVAH Partners out of Ohio was also received, for the same property but with I-story units and a more diverse mix of income levels. Discussion centered on what type of development would be more attainable.”
About a week later, Degroot sent this message to a disappointed Hume An, an executive vice president for MVAH Holding, LLC, a large developer of LIHTC housing. An had expressed “surprise” at the turn of events that resulted in a rejection of MVAH’s offer and asked if a counteroffer would be possible. An indicated that flexibility was integral to MVAH’s approach.
From: DeGroot, David>
Sent: Wednesday, September 4, 2019 8:41 AM
To: Hume An >; Tymoszenko, Cathleen >
Subject: RE: ? Re: ? Re: ? Re: ? Re: ? Re: Conference Call on Lewis Road
Good morning Hume,
I understand your surprise. We did not intend to mislead you in any way. We honestly received the other offer as we were preparing the agenda for the Council to discuss your interest in the property. I would be happy to discuss in more detail with you. I am available this morning until about 9:45 am, tomorrow afternoon around 4 pm, or any time Friday afternoon. Please let me know what works for you.
David DeGroot, AICP
Director of Community Development
City of Geneva, Illinois
Remember the City of Geneva published a “Just the Facts” sheet on Emma’s Landing that stated that only one proposal for the site had been received in 2019. This was a pure canard. Oddly, the minutes of the secret meeting did not include the MVAH proposal. The reader is left to believe that the secret meeting was already set to (illegally) consider the MVAH proposal and that the agenda was being drafted at the very moment the Burton Foundation “honestly” arrived.
The above letter also acknowledges that illegal action was taken in secret to select the Burton application and reject the MVAH proposal. Obviously, MVAH was “surprised” by the ambush, but then they were not familiar with Geneva’s fondness for ambush as a political weapon. MVAH submitted a formal “Letter of Proposal” for the Emma’s site on July 30, 2019 (the reader is re-reminded of Geneva’s public prevarication claiming Burton’s was the only proposal). If any member of the City Council was aware of the MVAH proposal, evidence of this awareness has not yet been found. Call your alderman and inquire about this. Please see the FOIA file below for details. The author apologizes for the snail’s pace of this investigation. Geneva has imposed a 21-business day impoundment for the author’s FOIA requests – yet another example of the “Geneva Way.”
On June 18, 2019, MVAH wrote this to DeGroot: “Based on initial research, I’ve identified Geneva as a good place in which to develop senior and/or workforce housing. I would really appreciate the opportunity to meet with you in person, provide further information about MVAH and what we do, and learn more about your specific housing needs.” “Senior and/or workforce” LIHTC housing was taken by the woke Geneva mayor and his administration as a dog-whistle phrase for “insufficiently attainable.”
Can there be any serious belief that the mayor and his staff did not inform the Burton Foundation of the MVAH proposal well in advance of the secret illegal closed-session meeting?
Geneva had an opening offer from MVAH of $400,000 cash for the site (at a time when gifting the site to Burton was the hidden plan, and IHDA’s ultimate mistaken belief) and 50 units of LIHTC affordable housing from a large, experienced, multi-state organization that is highly rated. Geneva threw the MVAH opportunity in the trash. Rather, Geneva chose a small Fellhauer husband and wife firm, an outfit with controversial ties to Geneva. Increasing evidence is accumulating that Emma’s Landing is a product of coordinated fraud. However, The “Geneva Way” dovetails perfectly with the “Illinois Way.” Maybe this explains why Illinois has the second-highest property taxes in the country. Growing out of control: Property taxes put increasing burden on Illinois taxpayers | Illinois Policy
“If I’m a neighbor and I have small children, I’d be pretty concerned,” said Dr. Gabriel Filippelli, a professor, and executive director of Indiana University’s Environmental Resilience Institute. “Once you burn [a] home, the paint degrades and turns into ash. And if there was lead in the bottom layer, for example, that does have the potential then to scatter around and be potentially quite harmful to children.” Bloomington fire exercise believed to have spread lead debris | wthr.com
Site Control Requirements and Deadlines: The Illinois Housing Development Authority’s Distorted View of the Emma’s Landing Application that Genevans Never Saw
The “bait and switch” gambit is alive and well in Geneva. Provided here is the Illinois Housing Development Authority file concerning the required “Site Control” documents for the LIHTC Application #11831 (Emma’s Landing).
Please take special note of the following:
- The claim that the City of Geneva would donate the land and waive fees for a fraudulent Planned Unit Development Special Use that was granted via Geneva Ordinance 2021-03. Then the PUD Plan was filed with Kane County with the sworn statement by Joy Nelson certifying herself as the owner. The real owner was the City of Geneva. AFTER the Emma’s Landing LIHTC application was approved, AND after the credits were distributed and sold, Mayor Burns WITHOUT authorization from the City Council filed a “correction” that claimed both the City of Geneva AND Joy Nelson owned the PUD parcel.
- The improper letter of DeGroot to Manning (page 22 – the red box is on the IHDA document as it was received) relays the Council’s decision to approve the project and donation. This decision was made in a closed session in violation of the Illinois Open Meetings Act so Genevans were left in the dark.
- On page 20 of the document is the message from Quigley (for Burton) to Radovich (for Geneva) that says “On Monday, April 13, 2020, 09:43:35 AM CDT, Peter Quigley firstname.lastname@example.org wrote: I realize this is coming at you last minute but the deadline is at 12:00 Is there any way that this can be expedited? Thanks” Mayor Burns and his administrator found “a way” – The “Geneva Way.”
- ” All of the IAHTCs generated by the City Parcel/ permit fee waivers will be allocated back to the project to obtain equity to fund the projects costs (page 1).” The developer’s fee (and General contractor’s fee) is based on a percentage of the costs. Essentially this is a way of laundering cash equivalents donated by the City to the Burton Foundation, which has one employee, Tracy Manning Fellhauer, and to Deer Creek Construction of which Bryan Fellhauer was one of three controlling managers. The parcel was ultimately sold to Burton for $576,000 but this still put more cash in Fellhauer developer/general contractor pockets since the parcel was valued by IHDA at over $1 mil for purposes of arriving at a project cost total.
Finally, please note that AFTER the successful Emma’s preliminary application, IHDA/Gov. Pritzker announced on July 17, 2020 the LIHTC winners, stating that the City of Geneva donated the Emma’s PUD parcel. IHDA was either duped or resorted to the “wink and nod” tactic embedded in the “Geneva Way.”
“Emma’s Landing (Geneva): A new-construction project by the Burton Foundation will bring 45 units of affordable housing to the western suburbs. The apartments will be spread across 12 townhomes with attached garages built on land donated by the City of Geneva.” 21827-LIHTC_Announcement.pdf (illinois.gov)
In the FOIA’ed papers I have in my possession from IHDA I find nothing that alters the “Site Control” contained in the IHDA document attached above. In other words, the City of Geneva was played like a cheap violin by the Burton Foundation to beat an IHDA deadline. The puppet Plan Commission’s ceremonial but meaningless hearings wasted everyone’s time, and the City Council looks like the Ten Stooges groping in the dark. The villains were the Mayor and his personally appointed administrator, who orchestrated the fraud while usurping authority they did not possess.
The Emma’s Landing website is a clumsy clone of the Marison Mills LIHTC project in South Elgin. see: Home – Marison Mill Suites
The Marison Mills Burton Foundation building appears to be under the same management as Emma’s Landing, also a Burton Foundation building. The City of Geneva’s logo is on the Emma’s Landing website, indicating City sponsorship/endorsement.
An attempt will be made to get further information on this situation. However, here is how Mayor Burns views transparency when it comes to “curious” people, even aldermen:
Apparently among Council’s “goals and objectives” are to exploit and violate the Open Meetings Act by secretly setting Emma’s Landing as a goal and appointing Burton Foundation as the developer while cloaking the fact that another developer (MVAH) was interested. MVAH was black-balled because its proposal wasn’t sufficiently “attainable,” which is dog-whistle for insufficiently “woke.”
Now the Council is “permitted” under the “Geneva Way” to submit anonymous questions before each meeting. This, of course, permits the “professional staff” to answer without an opportunity for further probing, or rebuttal. This practice should cease, since it kills deliberation and debate, which is the Council’s primary duty. The above article demonstrates Mayor Burns’ “Geneva Way” of bullying any opposition. He seems to have forgotten that the staff are paid by the people of Geneva and the people are represented by the Council. Although they act the part, the staff members are not the Mayor’s minions.
The City of Geneva has governing and police powers that are limited and defined by the Illinois Municipal Code. 65 ILCS 5/ Illinois Municipal Code. (ilga.gov) The basic form in Geneva is that of a weak mayor/strong council. The mayor has no veto power and only votes in a few situations, including casting a tie-breaking vote (see Dunkin’ Special Use, as an example.) The City Administrator has very limited executive authority and even more limited legislative authority. The mayor and administrator have employed Scope Creep to expand their authority. The Council is either too disinterested or too intimidated to reel in the usurpations.
Examples are the administrator granting unauthorized changes in ordinance-based contracts as seen with the extensions of the government contingency provisions (a free call option) and the reverter provision (a free put option) in the Emma’s Landing sales agreement. Another example is the mayor’s unilateral filing of a major revision in the Ordinance (2021-03) granting Emma’s Landing Planned Unit development special use. The mayor “corrected” the sworn and notarized ownership certifications, but only after the document in question was used to obtain Federal LIHTC Funds. He also did this without the requisite authority created by a majority vote in open session or even the knowledge of all the council members.
By virtue of his very long tenure (into his 6th 4-year term) the mayor has appointed many aldermen and virtually all the upper echelons of professional staff. Many of these people were advanced from within rather than seeking fresh perspectives. Such entrenchment presents risks of fraud and abuse of power. We have seen evidence of both.
How did the City of Geneva Seal get on the Emma’s Landing web page? Who authorized it and when? Was it the same person, Mayor Burns, who upon his own authority fraudulently altered the Final Plat of Emma’s Landing contained in Geneva Ordinance 2021-03? Who owns the management company for Emma’s Landing? Does the owner’s name rhyme with Fellhauer?
The above single-page document 2021K062993 purports to “correct” 2021K033144. The latter document, of course, is the fraudulent Plat of Emma’s Landing Planned Unit Development that certifies in two separate places that Joy Nelson is the owner of the PUD. Document 2021K062993 is a clumsy attempt to retroactively “paper over” a fraud.
The Low Income Housing Tax Credit program is rife with fraud and processes so convoluted as to be nearly inscrutable. Report Warns of Fraud Risks in Low Income Housing Program | Poverty, Politics and Profit | FRONTLINE | PBS | Official Site
If you think the Illinois Housing Development Authority was keeping track of all this, think again. From IHDA’s Press release of July 17, 2020: “Emma’s Landing (Geneva): A new-construction project by the Burton Foundation will bring 45 units of affordable housing to the western suburbs. The apartments will be spread across 12 townhomes with attached garages built on land donated by the City of Geneva.” The Burton Foundation got $18 mil from IHDA and had $576K in spare change to buy the site, albeit at a steep discount to the site’s real value. 21827-LIHTC_Announcement.pdf (illinois.gov)
IHDA uses a 1-100 scoring system in deciding which applications will receive approval. Did Emma’s Landing get points for the land donation? The twenty-one applicants who did not receive grants were defrauded because the City of Geneva duped IHDA into believing the land would be donated until that changed at the last possible moment in a procedural ambush.
Remember that the Fellhauer couple, (aka The Burton Foundation and Door Creek Construction), the developer and general contractor for Emma’s Landing, will each pocket seven-figure fees while putting zero capital at risk. Joy Nelson pocketed $650,000 (more than double the price per acre paid by Burton to Geneva for Emma’s parcel) from her sale of the access road property. That deal was also contingent on Emma’s approval by the City.
The mayor threw all his political chips in the Emma’s pot and called secret closed Geneva City Council meetings in violation of the Open Meetings Act. Then the mayor made sure only the Burton Foundation found out what was illegally decided (see DeGroot to Manning email). Emma’s Landing: Persisting Questions about Geneva’s Low Income Housing Tax Credit (“LIHTC”) Affordable Housing Project – Rod’s Ramblings and Ruminations (genevanotes.com)
Sure, fraud and ambush were necessary to meet deadlines. But this is Kane County where the death of an unleashed dog shot while assaulting a neighbor on his own property is presented to a grand jury, but helpless human victims of official fraud get only added angst amidst the throes of an unprecedented pandemic while being taxed out of their once-affordable homes.
Remember that the fraudulent PUD Plat was statedly “Made for the Burton Foundation” (not Joy Nelson or the City of Geneva)* by David M. Riendeau, a surveyor. Mr. Riendeau signed his Surveyor’s Certificate on the PUD Plat on 9 March 2021. The only other signatures on the fraudulent Plat by 9 March 2021 were those of Mayor Burns and City Clerk Godeskesin. The latter two signatures were dated 22 February 2021. (See excerpt from the fraudulent PUD Plat below.) How, and by whom was Riendeau induced to “find” an owner’s “certificate error” that had nothing to do with the actual survey, the only thing that he personally certified? How was he qualified to decide what constituted an “error” – no supporting evidence was provided. Was he paid for his services related to the “error”? Who, exactly, brought the “error” to his “attention? And, what did this informant have to gain?” Fraud is not an “error” to be corrected by a cover-up, it is a crime to be punished.
Many problems with the “stricken/replaced” document of Burns/Godeskesin/Riendeau exist. The fraudulent Plat of PUD document was a required element in Ordinance 2021-03 passed by the Geneva City Council to grant the Planned Unit Development Special Use. That Ordinance along with the fraudulent PUD Plat were also both required before the deadline set by the Illinois Housing Development Authority for it to fund Emma’s LIHTC grant. The “stricken/replaced” document appeared after IHDA approved Emma’s Landing for funding. The fraudulent document accomplished what its framers wanted.
The “stricken/replaced” document is not a wispy cloud in an otherwise sunny sky that cast a momentary shadow on the real estate title to Emma’s Landing. Now the title is engulfed in a dense fog. Two different owners, the City of Geneva and Joy Nelson, are now certified on the PUD Plat. (Burns/Godeskesin forgot to “change” Joy Nelson’s certification as “owner” for the statute-required identification of School District 304.)
Here is the requirement for City Council Approval of changes in the PUD Plat contained in Ordinance 2021-03:
“SECTION 2: PRELIMINARY/FINAL PLAT OF SUBDIVISION APPROVAL
The plans and specifications for this application that are listed below and attached hereto at Group Exhibit “Β” are hereby approνed. Any modifications, changes, updates, or refinements made to any plans and/or specifications after the date of this approνal, except those that are required conditions of approval as set forth in Section 5, or those that are minor or technical in nature, shall require approval by the City Council.” [emphasis added]
Note that the Burns/Godeskesin signatures on the “stricken/replaced” document does not contain the “BY THE CITY COUNCIL” phrase that was included in the fraudulent original PUD Plat City Certification. If a complete change in the identity of the owner is a “minor or technical” “refinement” in a real estate deal, then God save the Republic.
Once again, the mayor and his posse of quislings have ignored the law, including a directly applicable Geneva Ordinance. When was the ownership change in the Emma’s PUD Plat and the “modification” of Ordinance 2021-03 on the City Council’s agenda and what was the vote? Or was it done illegally in a secret session? If you own property in Geneva, be very afraid. You may be the next to be put through the Burns/Dawkins kangaroo process and have your taxes raised and your home made unaffordable.
Where did the City Council and the Mayor plus his puppet Plan Commission find the authority and ethical grounds to make an application to themselves for a Special Use PUD in order to advance a political agenda they themselves created?
A “Special Use” requires the City Council to apply criteria designed to consider adverse effects of an approval, direct and indirect, on nearby Genevans and on all Genevans. Now we learn that the Geneva City Council “…caused the same [Emma’s Landing “property”] to be subdivided and platted.” City of Geneva approved the special use PUD Plat that City of Geneva (caused to be) created???? This is government of the government, by the government, and for the government (plus for the Fellhauers and Joy Nelson (and as yet unknown others?) to the tune of millions of dollars).
The Geneva City Council was inept or was duped if it did not know about the “stricken/replaced” document 2021K062993. The “stricken/replaced” document is not accompanied by an amendment to Geneva Ordinance 2021-03 that had been filed prior and includes the original Plat. The only valid Plat both when the Ordinance was passed and when it was officially recorded with the County was the one existing with Joy Nelson’s certification as the owner. If a Council member knew of the filing of the “correction” without a Council vote, that one member of the City Council is an accomplice to fraud. The title to real estate is not marketable if it includes the product of zoning fraud. Geneva taxpayers “enjoy” that liability.
Who knew about all this, and when did they know it? Call your aldermen and ask them when they approved by majority vote in an open session the “stricken/corrected” document? Ask them if they even knew about it.
*The Geneva Planned Unit Development Code begins with this: 11-9-3: – INITIATION: The owner of the property for which a planned unit development is sought may initiate a request for a special use planned unit development. (Ord. 95-28, 5-1-1995)
Burton Foundation was not the owner of Emma’s Landing until long after the PUD Special Use was approved. The purchase agreement between the City of Geneva and Burton was sweetened “administratively” with a time extension without a Geneva City Council vote taken in an open meeting, although the topic was discussed in an unlawful closed secret session. Many closed session meeting minutes and audio tapes during this time frame have not been released. Why?
Memorial Day is about remembering the individuals who knew where the devil lived and their duty lay. They knew that a single individual’s effort was unlikely to be acknowleged. Richard Best sank the IJN’s premier carrier, Akagi, at Midway on June 4, 1942 with a single one thousand pound bomb dropped from his Scout Bomber Douglas 4 (SBD4) dive bomber (“Slow But Deadly” to its pilots). Best accomplished this with a little luck but primarily by following his Navy doctrine and training coupled with skill and courage. Many other anonymous bombs and bullets also hit their marks that day.
Over the weekend, I visited the final resting place of another WWII Navy Vet who went from Brisbane in ’42 to Tokyo Bay in ’45. He was a meticulous man who believed that details mattered. The Navy made him the ship’s bookkeeper aboard Haddo (SS-255, Gato class submarine). She and several other U.S. submarines were tied up to the Poseidon, a submarine tender, near Missouri when War II ended on 2 September 1945. The Pacific submarine crews suffered a higher mortality rate (20%) than did the 8th Army Air Corps (7.5%) over Europe. Jack made it home and got a job as a record-keeper at the Mark 15 torpedo factory on Roosevelt Road in Forest Park.
Today the assaults on our liberty that earlier generations created and preserved for us are often subtle, difficult to identify, and easier to ignore. An urban myth holds that if you put a frog in a pot of boiling water, it will instantly leap out. But if you put it in a pot filled with pleasantly tepid water and gradually heat it, the frog will remain in the water until it boils to death.
“Fraud” is any activity that relies on deception in order to achieve a gain. Fraud becomes a crime when it is a “knowing misrepresentation of the truth or concealment of a material fact to induce another to act to his or her detriment” (Black’s Law Dictionary). Frauds committed and then covered up by elected officials and their employees, whether out of personal avarice or for political gain, are acts of sedition and insurrection that destroy liberty.
Here is an example of a “knowing misrepresentation of fact:”
Above the self-proclaimed owner of the Emma’s Landing Planned Unit Development certifies that she is the owner of the PUD parcel and “caused same to be subdivided and platted…” But the City of Geneva owned the PUD parcel and caused (and then self-approved) the PUD to be platted.
Then consider that Joy Nelson was the owner of parcel 12-08-224-00 that abuts the Emma’s PUD and provided the access from Lewis Road for the Emma’s PUD that was actually owned by the City of Geneva on April 21, 2021. Also consider that Joy Nelson sold that abutting parcel to James Bergman on June 29, 2021 for $650,000. Mr. Bergman’s address on the deed is given as 2090 Larkin Ave, Suite 5A-1, Elgin. This happens to be the address of the Burton Foundation that is now listed on the tax bill as the owner of the former Joy Nelson property.
Geneva taxpayers sold the PUD to the Burton Foundation for less than $100,000 per acre while Joy Nelson received over $200,000 per acre, well above the City’s appraisal for Emma’s Landing. The City’s appraisal put the value of the Emma’s site at about $120,000/acre. No doubt Joy Nelson’s sale was contingent upon the approval of the Burton Foundation’s successful application for LIHTC funds which she improperly facilitated by a “knowing misrepresentation of fact.” Most Genevans were victims of that fraud, but some benefitted. Big losers were the 22 applicants for LIHTC funds whose applications were denied in favor of a fraudulent one.
But this could become much worse for Geneva property tax payers. Both buyer (Burton/Bergman) and seller (City of Geneva) knew that the required PUD Plat was fraudulent but the PUD Plat was also a required time-critical element for success in getting LIHTC funding from the Illinois Housing Development Authority’s once-a-year cyle. So the parties winked and nodded simultaneously, as per the “Geneva Way.'” The IRS, IHDA, the Kane State’s Attorney, HUD, the Illinois Attorney General and the HUD IG may not deign to take notice of the “irregularities” in violation of the Illinois Open Meetings Act, unauthorized changes in contracts, and the blatant falsehood that is represented by the Emma’s Landing Planned Unit Development Special Use Zoning Plat.
Ominously, a violation of a city’s zoning ordinance can render the title to Emma’s property unmarketable. https://www.tourolaw.edu/Academics/uploads/pdfs/5_Marketable_WWW.pdf The lenders for the Emma’s Landing project and the underwriters for the LIHTC income tax credits will not go quietly into the good night should the project go into default. Real estate held as collateral that turns out to have an unmarketable, clouded title could make those third parties, including the title insurer, anxious to be made whole by the purveyor of the bad title. Ultimately, that seller’s liability falls upon the Geneva voters and taxpayers.
Geneva has a city government focused more on what it can get away with than on what the statutes and ordinances require. Not one elected, appointed, or employed official has attempted to explain why this fraud was perpetrated. We have descended into local vigilanteism, and likely worse. The devil often now dwells in the “minor” details, and so does the danger to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.