Follow the Benford/Jones Audit Trail - Set Up First, Then Accuse?
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CALUMET CITY, Ill. - illiNews -- Back when he took office, State Representative and Mayor Thaddeus Jones issued an "executive order" ordering a forensic audit of the city's finances. He hired Alyssia Benford of Benford and Brown and Associates to conduct this audit. (Incidentally, Benford had previously run as a Republican against Jones' colleague in Springfield, State Representative Natalie Manley. Jones gave Benford $500.)

Next, Jones had members of his staff order Clerk Figgs to move old files out of City Hall for shredding. She complied. Now the Mayor, according to his press release, is "appalled and insulted of the abuse of public funds" to remove and shred the documents which he actually directed in an attempt to set up and discredit Clerk Figgs.

Jones is a donor to Benford, is he getting a fudged audit in return?

Officials in Calumet City were tipped off months ago that the moves that Benford and Jones are making are strikingly similar to moves that Benford and colleagues with the "Edgar County Watchdogs" group have made in other municipalities. Their modus operandi seems to be to tie up municipalities in court and make money from the legal fees. Jones and Calumet City are just their latest  pawn and playground.

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Reporters should examine the situations that Benford and the Edgar County Watchdogs have been involved in other locations in Illinois. The pattern of behavior is reported to be that Benford comes in to do her audit and certain files go "missing".  In other cases, Edgar County Watchdogs (ECW) then file FOIA requests for the disappeared documents which the unit of government can't comply with for obvious reasons. ECW then sues the unit of government and everyone gets a nice pay day.

Amazingly, things are playing out exactly this way in Calumet City as they have in municipalities where Benford has previously been engaged. First Benford, using Mayor Jones employees, came in and demanded boxes of documents from City Clerk Nyota Figgs. The Clerk cannot find some documents after Benford and Cleo Jones (who the mayor hired as an office manager in the City Clerks office) gained access to the clerk's office while the clerk was out of the building.

NOTE: Clerk Figgs has filed a police report regarding the missing documents as well as a police reports alleging that the mayor's office is using a copy of her signature on certain documents that she has not authorized the use of her signature on.

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The mayor has said that the audit will detail shocking abuse, waste. How does he know this? Is it because his workers have been setting up these situations since they took office in the spring? There are multiple emails directing the Clerk to shred documents, people under the direction of the Mayor have come in to the Clerk's office and taken the City Clerk's credit card machine, changed the locks on her office, taken documents from the safes in the Clerk's office. She has no idea what the Mayor's people have done with the documents and items that they have taken. She does know that they have made it impossible for her to do her job.

LINK to Chicago Tribune article (

Kitty Kurth

Source: Kurth Lampe Worldwide
Filed Under: Government

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