Island Lake officials mum about state grant controversy after meeting
Island Lake officials are being tight-lipped about a meeting this week with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources regarding a $239,000 grant the state agency wants returned.
"It's still in negotiations, and that's all I have to say," village Treasurer Ed McGinty told the Daily Herald.
An IDNR spokesman isn't saying much about the meeting either -- other than that it was an informal hearing and that more will come.
The meeting was held Tuesday at the state agency's headquarters in Springfield. McGinty, Mayor Charles Amrich and attorney David McArdle represented Island Lake.
They were there to discuss the grant, which was delivered in 1992 to help the village purchase about 12 acres now called Greenleaf Woods Park.
The park is on the east side of town, near Route 176 and Westridge Drive. Aside from some trails, the space is undeveloped.
In a March letter to Amrich, the agency claimed the village misrepresented and omitted facts regarding the project and failed to use the grant as promised.
The IDNR made identical claims in 2008. That request came less than two years after a criminal investigation into the grant and the land acquisition, documents acquired under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act revealed.
Nothing came of the investigation or the IDNR's 2008 effort to recover the money.
According to McArdle, Tuesday's meeting lasted about 90 minutes and included an impartial mediator.
"We are negotiating a resolution," McArdle said in an email.
In an interview last month, McArdle said he didn't know why the IDNR has revisited the issue. When asked if the agency's motives were made clear this week, McArdle declined to say.
"I cannot discuss this further until it is finally resolved," he said.
Amrich couldn't be reached for comment.
IDNR spokesman Chris Young said he couldn't talk about the hearing because negotiations are ongoing.
A second meeting will be scheduled, Young said.