Vernon Township assessor sues board, supervisor over meeting

Vernon Township Assessor Gary Raupp has sued the township board, supervisor and highway commissioner, alleging they held an illegal meeting this week.

Supervisor Daniel Didech and the board met Tuesday night at the township community service building in Buffalo Grove to discuss accusations that two employees in the assessor's office "are creating a hostile work environment" for female co-workers, the agenda for the meeting states.

The agenda - a public document - also accuses the employees of "using taxpayer resources to distribute illegal drugs."

The employees, one of whom is a relative of Raupp's, were named on the agenda, but the Daily Herald isn't identifying them because neither has been charged with a crime.

Didech said he received multiple complaints about the two employees. They are "terrorizing the women in the office," he said.

Didech said he has copies of computerized messages the two employees sent to each other that reveal an attempt to acquire marijuana. The messages were provided by a "whistle-blower," Didech said.

Raupp's lawsuit, filed in Lake County circuit court, alleges the board held the meeting without first giving the public at least 48 hours' notice as required by the Illinois Open Meetings Act.

Didech said the meeting was an emergency session that was exempt from the 48-hour requirement. The meeting qualified as an emergency, he said, because Raupp hasn't taken action against the two employees.

"The purpose of the meeting was to persuade Gary Raupp to do the right thing," Didech said.

But Raupp's lawsuit maintains neither the supervisor nor the board has any legal authority over employees in the assessor's office.

When reached Thursday, Raupp declined to comment.

Raupp's attorney, Keith Hunt, accused Didech of trying to exact "political retribution" against Raupp. Didech was elected township supervisor in April and now is running for the Democratic nomination for the 59th District state House seat.

Raupp was a member of the Republican Party-backed political slate that ran against Didech's Democratic slate in April.

Didech and the trustee candidates who ran with him won. Three of them - Roger Addelson, Adam Broad and Philip Hirsh - are named in Raupp's suit, as is Highway Commissioner Michael Lofstrom, who also was part of the Democratic slate.

Raupp's lawsuit seeks to prevent Didech and the board from holding future meetings without first giving the public 48 hours' notice, among other sanctions, including paying the assessor's legal fees.

The litigation also asks a court to rule that the employees' computer messages obtained by Didech are not public documents subject to Freedom of Information requests.

Vernon Township Supervisor Daniel Didech
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