LIHTC Fraud at Emma’s Landing: Who Knew What, and When?


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 (

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 (

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:

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).

Item 3 of 41 in IHDA Due Diligence for Closing – the Zoning evidence for Emma’s Landing was fraudulent
Astonishing as it seems, there was no Identity of Interest Found between the President of the Burton Foundation and One of the three corporate managers of Door Creek Construction in 2021 even though they were husband and wife. Corporation/LLC Search/Certificate of Good Standing (

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?