District 62 board member worked as embattled superintendent's Realtor
Months after voting to hire Floyd Williams Jr. in 2016 as the next superintendent of Des Plaines Elementary District 62, school board member Sharon Lynch, a local Realtor, helped Williams find a house to rent in Schaumburg, records show.
But it wasn't until a board meeting Oct. 16 -- the night before Williams began an extended absence from the district -- that fellow board members learned of Lynch's business relationship with Williams, board President Stephanie Duckmann said Wednesday.
Lynch didn't attend three closed-door school board meetings where board members discussed Williams' employment with the district, choosing to recuse herself from deliberations "in order to prevent any appearance of impropriety," Duckmann said in a statement.
At the last meeting Nov. 15, the other six board members voted to approve a $127,000 separation agreement with Williams, amid accusations he sexually harassed at least five female employees.
Lynch, a board member since 2004, didn't respond to questions directly or through a school district spokeswoman.
Lynch, a Realtor at Century 21 Elm in Park Ridge, secured a rental property for Williams on the 2200 block of Holmes Way in Schaumburg on March 31, 2016, according to real estate records.
That was about two months after Lynch and other board members inked a three-year contract with Williams, paying an annual base salary of $198,000. He also was given up to $10,000 for moving expenses.
Williams' first day on the job was July 1, 2016.
Williams and his family moved out of the two-story, four-bedroom Schaumburg house before the end of last month, and a new family is moving in this week, said Linda Longmeyer, a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Starck Real Estate.
Longmeyer said Wednesday she remembers working with Lynch on Williams' rental deal.
"She brought him and his family here some time ago," Longmeyer said. "She was always good to work with."
It's unknown what commission, if any, Lynch received for securing the rental property for Williams. A spokeswoman representing Williams' attorney didn't respond to a request for comment.
Under the school district's policy manual, school board members are charged with employing a superintendent and providing policy direction to that person, who handles day-to-day operations.
The board follows the Illinois Association of School Boards' "Code of Conduct for Members of School Boards," which states that board members "will avoid any conflict of interest or the appearance of impropriety which could result" from their position.
Lynch hasn't attended the past three school board meetings due to professional commitments and a previously scheduled family vacation, according to Duckmann.
Meeting minutes show Lynch regularly attended board meetings during Williams' rocky 15-month tenure as superintendent.
The Daily Herald reported earlier this month that board members addressed Williams on three occasions about employees' accusations of inappropriate behavior, with the hope he would correct his behavior. Board members were also aware of misconduct allegations against Williams at his last job in Kenosha but said after a thorough vetting they were comfortable hiring him.
Williams, on paid vacation until he officially resigns Dec. 13, has denied the allegations.
Paul Hertel has been appointed interim superintendent through the 2018-19 school year.
• Daily Herald staff writer Chacour Koop contributed to this report.