LA GRANGE – The Lyons Township Trustees of Schools Office has filed a $4.4 million lawsuit against Lyons Township High School District 204, said Mike Thiessen, the office's president.
The suit, filed last month with Cook County Court's Chancery Division, alleges the district owes the office for unpaid services dating to the early 1990s, auditing fees the office paid to accounting firm Baker Tilly, as well as over-allocated money the district received. Thiessen said the money belongs to the other 12 school districts whose funds the office manages.
District 204 said in August that it made an agreement with the office in 1999 to pay its own staff for bookkeeping duties instead of the township school treasurer.
“We paid our folks in-house to do this,” D-204 Superintendent Tim Kilrea said in August. “So, therefore, to insinuate that we have been receiving something for nothing is totally incorrect.”
The agreement Kilrea referenced was formed during the tenure of former Township Schools Treasurer Robert Healy, who on Aug. 15 was charged with stealing more than $1.5 million over a 20-year period from Lyons Township school districts under his financial management.
"They've got an agreement with an indicted felon," Thiessen said. "I hope that's not the legal position they're taking."
Thiessen said that since Healy's arrest, the office met several times with District 204 officials, but no agreement was reached.
"We just thought it was in the best interest of our other school districts [to file the lawsuit], and we wanted to get their money back to them," Thiessen said.
District 204 released a statement from Kilrea regarding the lawsuit: “The purpose of Lyons Township High School is to educate students, not to engage in litigation. It is disappointing that the TTO has chosen a path that does not benefit the students or communities served by its member school districts. Because legal proceedings are pending, I cannot comment on the specifics of the litigation. However, the district strongly disagrees with what’s in the complaint and looks forward to presenting a complete picture of these events."