District officials say they have yet to be served lawsuit

Downers Grove, IL

The District 113A officials accused of mismanaging taxpayer money in a pair of lawsuits have yet to be served the lawsuits, according to school board President Lisa Wright, one of the defendants.

Wright said as of 2 p.m. Wednesday, 11 of the defendants named in the lawsuits had not received any lawsuit documents. She did not offer additional comment.

The two suits, filed by the Center for Open Government at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, allege that between 2007 and 2010, school board members engaged in or aided illegal spending, then took steps to conceal the expenditures.

One lawsuit was filed on behalf of Laura Reigle, Duane Bradley and Louis Emery, all of whom on Dec. 13 filed petitions for open seats on the Lemont-Bromberek School District 113A Board of Education in the April election. A similar lawsuit was filed on behalf of current school board member Janet Hughes, who filed petitions Dec. 20 and is seeking re-election.

Alleging financial mismanagement that they claim resulted in the loss of $12 million in taxpayer money, the lawsuits were filed against former and current school board members, as well as other district administrators.

Listed as defendants in the lawsuits are: 113A Superintendent Tim Ricker, Assistant Superintendent Mary Gricus, former district Treasurer Robert Beckwith and current school board members Wright, John Wood, Sue Murphy and Kevin Doherty.

Also included are former school board members Gwenn O’Malley, David Leahy and Al Albrecht, as well as Lloyds Illinois, a former insurance broker for the district, and Knutte Associates, the district’s former accounting firm that handled the district’s financial audits from 2007 to 2010.

The suits claim Knutte Associates facilitated the concealment of expenditures.

The suits allege that between 2007 and 2010, the defendants “repeatedly caused monies from the district’s working cash fund to be diverted or otherwise used in violation of law and without proper notice having been given to District 113A taxpayers.”

If the court rules in favor of the plaintiffs, all current board members could be ordered to forfeit their offices and pay up to $10,000 in fines, according to the statutory provisions listed in the suits.

If found guilty, they would be liable for any sum illegally diverted from the working cash fund, according to the complaint.

- Matt Piechalak contributed to this story.