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BATAVIA – The treasurer for the Corinne Pierog campaign for Kane County Board chairman has filed a complaint against Kane County Treasurer David Rickert, alleging he violated the Kane County Ethics Ordinance when he accepted campaign contributions from two county vendors, a bank and an alarm company in excess of what is allowed.
Pierog, a Democrat, and Rickert, a Republican are on the Nov. 3 general election ballot, both vying for Kane County Board chairman.
“We need to end pay to play politics in Kane County and we need to hold our elected officials accountable,” Pierog said, regarding the complaint. “I am committed to bringing transparency ethics and trust as the next chair of the Kane County Board.”
Pierog said Rickert needs to pay the money back to the donors.
Rickert sent a text message late Thursday afternoon saying he had just been made aware of the complaint and wanted to take a day to review before he responded.
Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon did not respond to an email requesting comment. Kane County Ethics Advisor Grant Wegner did not return a voice mail message seeking comment.
The complaint was filed Sept. 11 by Robert Krawczyk, Pierog’s husband.
It alleges that Citizens for Rickert accepted $2,500 on Aug. 4 from Ted Koch, vice president of commercial banking for Old Second National Bank, and $2,500 donation on Aug. 13 from Alarm Detection Systems Inc., Aurora, both in excess of the ethics ordinance limit of $1,000 for an individual and $2,000 for a vendor.
The ethics ordinance states that “no officer or candidate for office shall intentionally accept cumulative campaign contributions in any calendar year of more than $1,000 from an individual, $2,000 from any contractor, union or other entity, and $4,000 from any political action committee affiliated with such contractor, union or other entity.”
As a listed receiver of property tax payments, Old Second National Bank is a vendor of Kane County as selected by Rickert as the county’s treasurer, the complaint stated.
Old Second National Bank is one of several banks where taxpayers can pay their property taxes, records show. Other banking institutions that accept property tax payments include First American Bank, Elgin State Bank, Aurora Bank & Trust and Kane County Teachers Credit Union, records show.
Alarm Detection Systems Inc. is a county vendor that has been paid more than $150,000 in 2020, records show.
Krawczyk said he checked candidates’ financial donations, which are public on the Illinois State Board of Elections website, www.elections.il.gov, then checked the county's ethics ordinance.
“I determined that there seemed to be questionable transactions – not against state rules of election – but seem to violate Kane County ethics rules,” Krawczyk said.
The ethics ordinance states that the state's attorney may investigate the allegation; notify the person involved to get corrective action; recommend disciplinary action; or prosecute. The state's attorney will also notify the ethics advisor about the disposition of the complaint.
Pierog criticized Rickert for accepting the donations.
“The public deserves … better from our elected officials,” Pierog said. “‘Pay to play’ corporate politician influence has no place for those who have been entrusted to protect taxpayers hard earned dollars. We need to put a stop to it. That is why ethics reform is one of the cornerstones of my campaign platform.”
Pierog said when she is elected, she will review how the ethics ordinance is enforced and communicated to the county officials and employees.
State records show that Koch, who is also a Sugar Grove village trustee, also donated $1,000 to Rickert’s campaign on Dec. 19, 2019. His wife, Elizabeth Koch, donated $500 March 7 through her daycare business Specializing in Children LLC, which operates out of their home on Slater Street in Sugar Grove.