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updated: 3/15/2010 10:48 AM

Grafton Twp. trustees countersue supervisor

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Grafton Township trustees fired back Monday at township Supervisor Linda Moore, suing her over claims she destroyed or hid vital public records, leaving the government body's operations "fraught with chaos."

The litigation, filed as a counterclaim to a lawsuit Moore filed against trustees last week, accuses Moore of deleting computerized records and removing computer memory and backup drives from township offices in recent weeks.

Moore removed the files, the suit claims, to prevent trustees from investigating budgetary discrepancies.

"She's hidden these away and there is essential business of the township that is not being done because she has refused to relinquish them," said Thomas DiCianni, an attorney for trustees Rob LaPorta, Gerald McMahon, Barbara Murphy and Betty Zirk.

The records, DiCianni said in court Monday, include senior bus schedules, bills that have gone unpaid and budget-related documents.

"We're asking for access to public records the supervisor has no authority to keep from the board or staff," he added.

Moore attorney John Nelson accused trustees of trying to usurp the supervisor's legal authority.

"The role of the board of trustees is very limited," Nelson said. "They have to follow the law and that's what we're asking them to do."

Nelson later described the operations of Grafton Township as "massively dysfunctional, and that's being generous."

Moore's suit last week accuses trustees of trying to prevent Moore from doing her job by, among other things, changing locks on her office door, moving her office furniture into a "closet-type room," rerouting her e-mail and denying her access to the township phone system.

Besides ordering the trustees to stop those actions, Moore's suit asks a court to forcing trustees to "address her in a civil manner and avoid calling her incompetent and requiring that she be addressed with respect and in a normal tone of voice."

Moore also asks the court to affirm her firing of Pam Fender, who trustees hired as township administrator recently without the supervisor's approval.

McHenry County Judge Michael Caldwell scheduled an April 14 court hearing to listen to arguments and possibly testimony on both lawsuits.