The clock is ticking for Algonquin Township officials.
A paragraph in a $40,000 settlement agreement getting the road district out of a public records lawsuit from a downstate watchdog group gave the township board 10 days after its Oct. 10 meeting to audit the payment, according to a copy of the agreement obtained by the Northwest Herald using the Freedom of Information Act.
“In that the Board of Trustees shall refuse to audit the payment referenced in this paragraph, the amount of the settlement shall increase at a rate of $5,000 per month until paid in full,” the settlement reads.
Before township officials can audit the payment to the Edgar County Watchdogs, they must call a special meeting to transfer money into Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser’s legal fees budget. Paying the bill without doing so would put the road district $4,000 over his $150,000 budget, Supervisor Charles Lutzow said.
Gasser could not be reached for comment on this story.
Township officials have not yet scheduled a special meeting to sort out Gasser’s legal budget.
Road district attorney Robert Hanlon negotiated the settlement deal with Crystal Lake attorney Denise Ambroziak to pay $40,000 to take the road district out of the lawsuit.
Township officials still are tied to the lawsuit. The April complaint alleges the governments did not comply with the Freedom of Information Act on 16 occasions.
If the Edgar County Watchdogs win in court, the township must pay for lawyer’s fees and could face fines up to $5,000 for each FOIA violation.