Attorney general looking into DuPage Forest Preserve open meeting complaint
Updated: June 4, 2012 11:09AM
The Illinois Attorney General’s Office is investigating a possible Open Meetings Act violation by the DuPage County Forest Preserve Board.
Last week, Assistant Attorney General Steve Silverman sent a letter to Forest Preserve President Dewey Pierotti Jr., regarding a complaint filed against the board.
The complaint argued the board should have discussed a decision on whether to sell forest preserve property in open session.
“We have determined that further inquiry is warranted,” Silverman wrote.
Silverman asked the board to provide copies of the agenda, open meeting minutes, closed meeting minutes and the closed session recording.
The complaint was filed by Steve Leopoldo, a Lisle resident running for the Forest Preserve Board. Leopoldo has made board transparency an issue in his campaign and says this is the latest example.
“It’s public land and they’re not even including us in the debate on whether to sell it,” Leopoldo said.
Bill Weidner, public affairs spokesman for the forest district, said the board followed its attorney’s recommendation that the issue could be discussed in closed session.
The issue came up for a vote at the April 3 meeting. The board wanted to discuss whether to sell a piece of property in Elmhurst. Which specific property has not been made public. During the meeting, Commissioner Roger Kotecki argued that the discussion about whether to sell the property should be held in public and a discussion about the price could be held behind closed doors. Negotiations are traditionally held in closed session.
Kotecki, a former assistant state’s attorney in Champaign County, said he felt state statute allowed them to discuss a decision on whether to sell in the open. Kotecki pointed out that if the board indicated an intention to buy a property in public, that could affect the price. However, those same concerns are not at issue in a sale.