The village of Hebron’s struggles with leadership continue. This should surprise no one, particularly not the people of Hebron.
The latest embarrassment involved Village President John Jacobson shaking down a homeless veteran’s shelter to benefit a town tavern. Jacobson was willing to hold hostage a shelter grant that was completely unrelated to an ongoing dispute over a water main.
For the record, Gus Kordopitoulas, owner of the neighboring bar Hoops, said he was unaware of Jacobson’s actions to try to force Transitional Living Service to pay Hoops $5,000 to help build a new well.
Jacobson made that decision of his own accord, despite the wishes of Hebron’s Village Board of Trustees, who already had approved Transitional Living Services’ grant application without any conditions.
Under the pressure of public scrutiny and the condemnation of rightfully angry veterans, Jacobson relented and signed the grant application while stressing the nonprofit agency’s responsibility to build a larger water main according to an annexation agreement from 14 years ago.
We don’t take issue with Jacobson trying to enforce the annexation agreement and asking Transitional Living Services to comply, but withholding signatures to an unrelated grant application that would have affected the lives of homeless veterans is unconscionable.
Without pressure, without scrutiny, Transitional Living Services stood to lose $25,000 because of Jacobson’s rouge decision. Anyone who knows anything about nonprofits, particularly smaller ones, knows what kind of damage losing that amount of money can do.
To say that the voters of Hebron elected Jacobson last spring under a cloud is an understatement. He was elected despite facing well-publicized charges for possession of crack cocaine. While on probation for a related misdemeanor, he was charged with drunken driving in Walworth, Wisconsin, after his election and pleaded guilty to reckless driving.
We hope the Hebron Village Board and the residents of Hebron are paying close – or closer – attention to what’s happening in Village Hall.