HUNTLEY – Grafton Township Supervisor Linda Moore avoided serving 30 days in jail after she recently turned over a $10,000 check to a Northbrook company to conduct a thorough audit of the township’s finances.
Last week, McHenry County Judge Michael Caldwell found Moore in contempt of court after she didn’t pay the $10,000 retainer to Northbook-based ECS Financial Services for a forensic audit that the Grafton Township trustees approved in November.
Moore was the lone dissenter in that vote, with Grafton’s four trustees all endorsing the audit.
The trustees have pushed for a thorough review of the township’s books during their ongoing legal battles with Moore.
A forensic audit can be used in legal proceedings to uncover any financial wrongdoing, such as fraud.
In his ruling, Caldwell allowed Moore to pay the retainer or serve 30 days in jail. The embattled supervisor said she didn’t immediately pay the check because she received bad advice from her attorney, John Nelson, on whether she had the authority to sign the forensic audit.
“I have always been supportive of the idea of creating a forensic audit. It is the right thing to do to get this audit done,” Moore told the Northwest Herald. “I needed clarification on whether or not this was in accordance to township code.”
But Moore’s election challengers doubt the supervisor’s rationale. Both Pam Fender and Marty Waitzman said Moore simply didn’t want the forensic audit to proceed and was only forced to do so by court order.
The three candidates face off Tuesday in a primary election that has been dominated by Moore’s management of the township during the past four years.
“She looked to avoid or defer it, as far as possible. I don’t know if she thinks the forensic audit would affect the election or not. But I do wonder,” Waitzman said. “She is trying to avoid going to jail.”
Fender said Moore is to blame for the tumultuous state of the township’s finances during the past four years.
A forensic audit would definitely help Moore straighten out the township’s accounts that she was elected to oversee, but the $10,000 check was mailed far too late after the contract was approved, Fender said.
“To keep herself out of jail, she would do anything,” Fender said. “She will pay anything the judge tells her to pay.”
Defending her record, Moore pointed to clean, annual audits in the first two years of her term as proof of being a good steward of taxpayer dollars.
But more recent annual audits in 2011 and 2012 have yet to be finalized. Moore also has encountered resistance from one area bank as the township looks for a long-term solution to its increasingly dire financial situation.
The road district recently bailed out the township, after the Grafton Township Board nearly exhausted all of its cash in repaying the district for a loan on the defunct town hall project. The $110,000 loan from the road district will cover only payroll and other expenses until mid-March.
The bank informed Moore that it won’t lend money until last year’s audit is filed.