Special Prosecutor Named For City Council Allegations Investigation

(MT. VERNON, IL) — Allegations into secret meetings held by the Mt. Vernon City Council have led to a special prosecutor being named to investigate those allegations. According to Jefferson County State’s Attorney Doug Hoffman, the Second Circuit Court has appointed the Illinois State’s Attorney’s Appellate Prosecutor’s Office as special prosecutor on the matter. Hoffman says he asked for a special prosecutor after reviewing a formal complaint that spelled out the allegations against the city council and because some members of the council helped with his election campaign. Because of those issues, he said he felt it would be inappropriate for him to oversee any investigation of the allegations, or to ultimately decide whether to pursue civil, or criminal actions based upon the results of the investigation. Hoffman says he is forwarding all materials he has in his possession regarding the alleged violations to the special prosecutor. Mt. Vernon resident Kent Southers, filed a complaint with the Illinois Attorney General’s office claiming Mayor Mary Jane Chesley, and the Mt. Vernon City Council violated the Open Meetings Act by holding secret meetings to discuss the possible sale of the city’s water and sewer treatment systems. Chesley has responded to questions from the Illinois Attorney General’s Office about those allegations and denies that she created a committee of two councilmen to handle negotiations. However, minutes of a meeting that Mt. Vernon resident Kent Southers forwarded to the attorney general’s office claim otherwise, and quote Councilman David Wood as saying the Mayor, acting as the overseer of the water and sewer system sale effort, appointed him and Councilman Dennis McEnaney to a committee of two, and that they met with three companies in the initial informational and due diligence meetings.