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IVCC board president defends handling of failed tax case amid newspaper attacks

Posted by wlpo on July 10, 2015

If you wanted heads to roll at Thursday night’s Illinois Valley Community College Board of Trustees meeting, you’re probably feeling disappointed.

A large crowd showed up at last night’s meeting spurred by newspaper advertisements ripping the college for its handling of a tax lawsuit with Putnam County and Marquis Energy, specifically retaining the services of attorney Walt Zukowski. The lawsuit was eventually dropped by IVCC but the cost to all sides was easily in the six figures.

IVCC Trustees Chairwoman Melissa Olivero wondered why so many people had taken an interest all of a sudden in the tax lawsuit when there were nearly 50 meetings while the lawsuit was ongoing and no one talked to the board. She went on to say “where I come from anyway, neighbors don’t attack neighbors in anonymous letters and ads”.

When it came time to address attorney Zukowski’s handling of the lawsuit, Olivero said the board is more than satisfied with his service and all his actions were at the direction of trustees. She added “we are not sure how Mr. Zukowski could have been better”.

Addressing Zukowski’s pay for the failed lawsuit, Olivero said the bills were spread out over a five year period and she argued strategies of Marquis Energy drove up the college’s legal bills by $260,000. Olivero told the crowd the college didn’t give up the lawsuit because it was wrong, but “we simply couldn’t afford it”.

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