The inspector general for Joliet has concluded that Council Member Pat Mudron’s involvement in an insurance deal with the Joliet Area Historical Museum violates state law, and a city ordinance and should be sent to the Illinois Attorney General for review.
The report from the inspector general also identifies City Manager James Capparelli as the source on Mudron’s involvement in the museum insurance and recommends whistleblower protection for the city manager.
Inspector General Sean Connolly provided a supplemental report to the city dated Aug. 14, concerning the museum that follows a previous report that made the same recommendations concerning Mudron’s role in an insurance policy for the Rialto Square Theatre.
Mayor Bob O’Dekrik, who oversees the inspector general, said Monday that he believes Connolly has sent his recommendation to the state attorney general.
He also said the City Council is likely to discuss the Mudron matter in closed or open session at its meeting next week.
Mudron is a partner in Mudron Kane Insurance, which handles both policies, although Mudron said he was not directly involved in providing coverage for the museum or the Rialto.
The report states that Mudron, as a partner in the firm, benefits from the insurance contracts.
“Even if Councilman Mudron is/was not directly involved in providing brokerage services to the JAHM (Joliet Area Historical Museum), on behalf of Mudron Kane, it is still a conflict of interest and violates the Joliet Code of Ethics and Illinois law,” the report states.
The report notes that while the museum is not a unit of city government, it is a “component unit,” an accounting term that refers to entities which can have a financial impact on the city. The Rialto also is a component unit, although the city relationship to the museum is closer since they are partners in the opening of the former Joliet Correctional Center for tours and events.
Mudron said he is not concerned about a review by the attorney general.
“I did nothing wrong,” he said Monday.
The museum policy previously was handled by Northern Illinois Insurance, which was owned by the late Jeff Thompson, Mudron said. Joe Kane with Mudron Kane is currently handling the policy and Mudron Kane Insurance is trying to acquire it “but it belongs to the estate of Jeff Thompson,” Mudron said.
Mudron, at a Rialto board meeting last week, said he considered the investigation into the insurance matters “just a political game” and that he had assurances from lawyers that he had acted properly.
Mudron has been at times a political foe of Mayor Bob O’Dekirk and was the lone vote against hiring Connolly, who was approved by the council without any information provided on his background or the terms of his contract.
Connolly is a private attorney out of Westmont, who serves as needed as the city’s inspector general.
In his report on the museum matter, Connolly said he was contacted by the city manager.
The report states that Capparelli provided “this information as a whistleblower in accordance with the Whistleblower Act in state statutes. Connolly recommends whistleblower protection for Capparelli.
Capparelli on Monday did not return a call for comment.
Mudron was among a number of council members who clashed with the mayor over the hiring of a city manager before Capparelli got the job in January 2021 in a 5-3 vote. Mudron was among the no votes, although he approved a one-year renewal of Capparelli’s contract in December.