CHARLESTON, Ill. (WCIA) — The Concerned Taxpayers of Coles County have filed a new lawsuit against the county over issues stemming from commercial assessments and health insurance benefits for three board members.
The two-count lawsuit, filed by Tom DeVore on behalf of his plaintiff, Charles Lee Stodden, accused the board of making an illegal hire back in 2015.
The group has previously sued over Bob Becker’s hiring, arguing documentation shows Becker was hired illegally and he was unqualified to do the first countywide reassessment of commercial and industrial properties in 16 years.
“This was an illegal hiring when they hired Mr. Becker to do the commercial assessments on the property,” Stodden said.
After past lawsuits failed to go far, Stodden hopes his will lead to action.
“We’d just like the citizens to be concerned,” he said.
The second count of the lawsuit accused three board members, Chairman Stan Metzger, Darrell Cox and Rick Shook, of getting compensated $11,400 yearly for health insurance. According to documents the group requested through the Freedom of Information Act last month, Cox and Shook should only be compensated $4,800 annually, while Metzger should only receive $6,000.
“We’ve got people here taking public funds that they don’t have a right to and it’s not getting any better,” Stodden said.
“They are legally entitled to take insurance if they do it properly,” Charleston business owner James DiNaso said. “But they didn’t do it properly and haven’t been doing it properly since they began taking insurance. Just like anything else, you have to follow the law.”
Just as they’ve been present at countless board meetings over the last several years, DiNaso says the Concerned Taxpayers will continue to show up.
“Government is supposed to work for us,” he said. “It’s supposed to work for the people. When it doesn’t, you’ve got to find some sort of way to get their attention.”
WCIA reached out to Metzger for comment. He has not responded to requests as of this publication.