LC Schools PAC found not to have violated reporting requirements
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent January 15, 2013 3:36PM
Updated: February 17, 2013 6:30AM
CROWN POINT — The Lake County Election Board found the Friends of Lake Central Schools’ political action committee did not violate the campaign finance reporting requirements when lobbying for the school district’s $160 million referendum in 2011.
It was the last outstanding claim against the referendum-friendly political action committee filed by Richard Hucker and Joe Hero in a more than a year-long battle regarding a variety of charges pertaining to the referendum, all of which have been resolved or dismissed by the board.
In the complaint Hucker and Hero alleged the PAC took in-kind contributions from the school corporation in the form of work performed by school district employees for the PAC while they were being on the clock for their jobs.
Jeffrey Gunning, Election Board attorney, said the findings of fact take into account a Sept. 24 hearing where members of the PAC including chairman Chuck Pollen, secretary Jeremy Gorelick and custodian of records Robert James denied any knowledge of work performed for the PAC by school employees while they wereat work.
Gunning said at that hearing no additional evidence was presented by Hero or Hucker to support the claim. He recommended officials dismiss the complaint and accept the findings of fact.
Kevin Smith, Election Board vice chairman, said based on the testimony the PAC members did not have knowledge of any activity that would have to be documented as an in-kind contribution.
“The conclusion is we don’t believe there was any violation,” Smith said, adding the board’s actions are appealable in Circuit Court.
After the meeting Hero said the findings of fact only state the PAC members were not aware of any activity by employees while they were being paid on school time, not that it did not occur.
Hero said he and Hucker continue to look into issues surrounding what they say were inappropriate actions by the school corporation and the PAC and will decide whether to pursue further action.