Originally Posted Online: March 21, 2013, 9:50 pm
Last Updated: March 21, 2013, 11:38 pm

Cordova mayor won't sign check for trustee's legal bill

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By Lyle Ernst, correspondent@qconline.com

CORDOVA -- Mayor Bob VanHooreweghe said on Thursday night he does not intend to sign a check covering a trustee's legal costs until instructed to do so by the Illinois Attorney General.

Village trustees have voted to pay the $1,000 in legal fees incurred by Cordova Trustee John Myers to defend an order of protection sought against him by former Cordova police officer Ray Goossens. The order of protection was denied and, in December, board members approved paying Mr. Myers' legal fees.

Mayor VanHooreweghe vetoed the action, which trustees overrode at their February meeting.

"I will not sign the check until the Illinois Attorney General tells me it's legal," the mayor said on Thursday night.

Also at Thursday's meeting, former Cordova trustee Jon Noland read aloud a letter addressed to the village board claiming trustees violated the Illinois Open Meetings Act by voting for the payment in closed session. In doing so, Mr. Noland said trustees also ignored advice from the village attorney, Clayton Lee, who repeatedly told them "this is not a village expense."

Mr. Noland said his March 8 Freedom of Information Act request on the vote was denied because much of the information was reportedly discussed in closed session. Illinois statutes do not allow discussion of bills in a closed session, Mr. Noland contends.

Trustees John Haan and Dean Moyer disagreed with Mr. Noland's assertions. Mr. Moyer said the protection order request was prompted by Mr. Myers checking into the unemployment benefits situation of Mr. Goossens.

After the meeting, Mr. Noland said he plans to contact the attorney general's office with his concerns.