Lisle releases entire recording of controversial closed session

 
 
Updated 3/29/2017 6:25 PM
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Lisle has released the entire recording of a controversial executive session to comply with a directive from the Illinois attorney general's office.

In September, the attorney general's public access counselor issued a binding opinion saying Lisle trustees violated the Illinois Open Meetings Act on June 6, 2016, when they talked during a closed-door meeting about refinancing debt from the construction of the Lisle-Benedictine University Sports Complex.

The opinion directed the board to release the "verbatim recording" of the closed session related to the bond sale.

After initially trying to challenge the opinion in court, the village board on March 13 released an eight-minute segment of the recording. Last week, the attorney general said the edited clip didn't fully comply with the binding opinion.

In response, the village on Wednesday released the recording of the full closed session, which was nearly 22 minutes long.

"If you look at what was left on the tape after the attorney general scrutinized it, most of the tape was going to be released anyway," Mayor Joe Broda said Wednesday. "So we decided to release the whole tape."

The recording is available on the village website at villageoflisle.org.

In June 2016, the board was considering a plan to sell roughly $3.7 million in bonds to take advantage of lower interest rates and eliminate a future balloon payment for the sports complex. At the time, there was a concern that residents opposed to the refinancing were going to pursue a legal fight to stop it.

But by the time the board went into the closed session, there was no longer a threat of lawsuit. In the audio recording, village officials are heard acknowledging no legal action was expected.

The closed session was held anyway.

During the session, trustees discussed several issues, including the bond sale and a petition drive to get a refinancing question on the ballot. They also talked about an Open Meetings Act complaint against the board.

"There's nothing to hide there," said Broda, adding he hopes the village can move on.

Chris Pecak, who is trying to unseat Broda in the April 4 election, has said the controversy is an example of the village not being transparent.

Broda, however, insists the village is "very transparent."

"Everything we do is according to the law," Broda said. "We know what the rules are. We play by the rules."

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