Cordogan Clark's $2,500 donation to Friends for Lauzen delays contract extension

After ethics, contractor disclosure probe, contract goes to new board

GENEVA – Cordogan Clark’s contract renewal with Kane County was halted at Monday’s Kane County Board meeting amid concerns that it donated $2,500 to Friends of Lauzen, a possible violation of the county’s ethics ordinance and contractor disclosure requirement.

In a 16-3 vote, the board tabled the motion for the next County Board meeting Dec. 8. That meeting will be after the newly elected Board Chair Corinne Pierog, and board members, will have been sworn in.

Cordogan Clark & Associates has provided professional architectural, construction management and engineering services for the county’s capital projects on an as-needed basis, documents show.

Kane County Board member Matt Hanson, D-Aurora, objected to the contract extension.

“My concern was not with the caliber of work that Cordogan Clark has done for our county over the years. My concern is they’ve had an eight-year no-bid contract for some time,” Hanson said.

Cordogan Clark’s $2,500 donation to the political fund of Friends of Lauzen was made on Oct. 26, Hanson said.

“That amount alone is a violation – or potential violation – of our ethics ordinance under section 3.3 and to me the more curious part is the timing,” Hanson said. “This went through the Administrative Committee with the proper documentation indicating that Cordogan Clark had not made any political contributions in the past year.”

The Administrative Committee met Oct. 14 and recommended approval of Cordogan Clark’s continuing services through June 2021 at 2015 price points.

“And since then, they made a pretty hefty one to Friends of Lauzen,” Hanson said. “Knowing that, frankly, the chairman does get involved with political races within the county board seats – including people that have a vote on this contract ... I think it’s completely inappropriate.”

Lauzen disputed that the donation violated the ethics ordinance.

“First of all, I’d like to make it clear that it is not a violation of the ethics ordinance,” Lauzen said. “We will have people who are more lawyer than I am or you are to get that sorted out. And it’s certainly your prerogative to make that assertion.”

Further, Hanson said it is his opinion that the donation violates the county's contractor disclosure requirement, which is on the Purchasing Department's webpage, countyofkane.org.

Any contractor that will be doing greater than $15,000 of business with the county, must disclose that owners, officers or executives of the company have not made any political campaign contributions to elected county officials in the last 12-month period, according to the website.

Agenda documents included Cordogan Clark's $2,500 donation to Friends for Lauzen on June 12, 2019.

The disclosure does not bar contractors from working for the county, it just requires that the disclosure be made, records show.

“So at the end of this meeting, I will be formally asking our ethics advisor to look into this,” Hanson said. “Should we vote on this today – I’m asking you to vote no – but I think probably the more appropriate thing is to table it and let the next board review this next month.”

According to the Illinois Board of Elections, Cordogan Clark and Associates has donated to Friends for Lauzen several times.

Donations listed include $2,500 on July 2, 2019; $1,000 on Sept. 27, 2018; $2,500 on July 30, 2018; $2,500 on June 2, 2017.

Sugar Grove resident, John Cordogan, an architect for the company, donated $500 on Oct. 12, 2015 and $500 on Oct. 20, 2012;

Another donation, $750 was made on June 5, 2020, which identified John Cordogan as a partner in Cordogan Clark.