Gail Borden Trustee banned from library for third year

The only time Gail Borden Public Library Trustee Randy Hopp will be allowed in the library is for monthly board meetings, but he won't be able to check out books.

Fellow board members voted last week to extend an existing ban on Hopp from library grounds, citing harassment of library staffers.

It's the third such ban that's been imposed on Hopp since he was elected to the board in 2009, and it follows another ban in 2000.

Library Executive Director Carole Medal said Hopp has continuously harassed and threatened employees and “created fear among them.”

Medal said Hopp orders staff around after routinely submitting Freedom of Information Act requests to the library. Hopp has not been banned because of his records requests, she said, but due to his resulting behavior to staff.

“Trustees do not hold themselves higher than the public. What is expected of the public is expected of trustees in behavior and demeanor,” Medal said.

Soon after he was elected in 2009, Hopp requested minutes from a previous board meeting, but staff told him the minutes had to be updated and Hopp became agitated and threatened them, Medal said.

“He stormed into my office as I was trying to explain to him we wanted to get them up to date before giving them to him. He wasn't having any of it,” she said.

After the incident, Hopp was ordered to remain off library grounds until June 2010. That ban was extended another year after an October 2009 incident in which Hopp pushed aside a security guard charged with escorting him to board meetings.

Now Hopp has been told he can't come to the library for the third consecutive year except for meetings after another harassment allegation because of a records request.

That ban expires in June 2012. His term on the library board ends in April 2013.

In response to the latest ban, Hopp said: “It's completely wrong, but Carole Medal and her puppet trustees and administrative staff did whatever they want.”

He said their allegations of harassment are “what they say to make me look bad.”

His latest FOIA request was of bank bills he and other board members signed. Hopp said he was rushed into signing the documents without having a chance to review them.

In a separate case, Hopp had been banned from the now-closed Elgin State Bank in Carpentersville in 2005. Charges that Hopp threatened a bank manager there were dismissed last May.