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Opinion

Not all that glitters is gold

Many of us are getting sick and tired of people who run justice departments for their ego gratification and political ambition. Whether it’s U.S. Department of Justice improper political surveillance, Cook County State’s Attorney Jussie Smollett and LaQuan McDonald scandals, or Kane County State’s Attorney abuses, regular citizens expect those who head these most powerful law enforcement agencies to be the first to scrupulously follow our laws and to act decently.

Remember how impeccably popular political figures like Denny Hastert, George Ryan, Rod Blagojevich, and even Kim Foxx were before the surface patina was scratched away. I have seen each one of these examples develop up-close and personal during my 27 years of serving you.

Eventually, you will find the same pattern with Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon. Desire for publicity and ambition are fickle weaknesses.

The Civil Division of the Kane County State’s Attorneys Office has not been properly supervised since Joe McMahon applied to prosecute the Cook County LaQuan McDonald case nearly three years ago.

During that time, Kane County taxpayers have lost millions of dollars due to McMahon’s distraction and lack of transparency.

He has refused to admit what portion and amount of seven (7) people’s salary and benefits totaling $1,614,000 paid over two years by Kane County taxpayers went to build his political career and personal ambition in the LaQuan McDonald case.

McMahon spent $500,000 tax dollars on outside attorney’s costs to prosecute, rather than defend, the Kane County Board of Appeals that three times refused to be bullied into approving the Maxxam-Glenwood School for Boys. His intimidation of the Kane County Board with unreasonable fears led to their split approval of the additional $6.5M settlement that he had negotiated. Our liability insurance carrier then dropped the county for future coverage.

Again, the Civil Division lawyers-negotiators, who are supposedly supervised by the State’s Attorney, failed to follow the clear, consensus instructions from the County Board’s Labor-Management Committee for labor contracts. This failure has resulted in a debacle that McMahon shirks responsibility for and could cost Kane County taxpayers an unnecessary extra $1,200,000, if we can’t correct the situation.

There are many more examples of incompetence and dishonesty, but the most recent case of bizarre judgement is Joe McMahon’s written opinion that the Board vice-chairman, elected by 23 members of the County Board, can sign collective bargaining agreements that the chairman, who is elected by 146,0000 voters, will not sign until obvious errors in the labor contracts are corrected.

I understand that Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon is the Chicago media darling-of-the-moment for the prosecution of the police officer who shot LaQuan-McDonald. However, McMahon is paid two hundred thousand tax dollars to work for Kane County citizens, and I say there are too many examples of terrible civil division legal services.

All that glitters (for now) is not gold.

Chris Lauzen

Kane County Board Chairman

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