Letter: Questions remain regarding Sean Michels

By on January 28, 2010

“Simply Honest in Sugar Grove” is an informal grassroots group of neighbors pursuing the facts regarding why some homes in the Mallard Point subdivision are floating in water. This fact was confirmed by an outside engineer hired by the village: “If you turn off the sump-pumps, the basements will flood.”

Simply Honest is trying to uncover the entire sequence of actions, to find out if the builder and/or the village did not control this building correctly. The group has already gathered a file drawer full of factual evidence, and is organizing it.

Simply Honest in Sugar Grove, or SHISG, is a local government watchdog group. Its only tool is freedom of speech, an essential mechanism of democracy, and the best means to hold officials accountable to the people.

SHISG believes that the truth must prevail always against those that would suppress it by design, inadvertence or the use of deceptive strategies. It is not the purpose of SHISG to assassinate anyone’s character or defame them. My father, a man of considerable honesty, integrity and character, told me never to try to destroy the reputation of others; they were perfectly capable of doing that themselves.

Four founding members of SHISG gave the village of Sugar Grove a Freedom of Information Act request on Dec. 4, 2009. The village compliance officer responded by giving SHISG a PDF file named paymentsEEI010197-thru113009.pdf that showed that $8,703,665.37 was paid to Engineering Enterprises, Inc., a corporate entity whose agent’s and president’s name is James K. Michels, and whose secretary’s name is Carole Michels.

Apparently, James and Carole are the father and mother of our Village President, P. Sean Michels. SHISG has issued a second FOIA, will soon be issuing more facts as they are uncovered and organized.

Recently in Massachusetts, furious voters chose to upend the un-American and unethical relationships between special interests and those who represent them.

The remarkable hypocrisy and shamelessness of these close and obviously unethical relationships are why American voters are in revolt: The society of friends is undermining our democracy. We serve and protect whom? The voices and needs of citizens have been drowned out on every level, local, county, state and federal, by the bigger voices and the insular thinking of politicians influenced by lobbyists, banks, real estate moguls, industrialists and big business. They and other voters all across this great nation are simply not going to take it any more. Neither are we.

Voters are tired of having to leave the room to say the Pledge of Allegiance, tired of being told not to say “Merry Christmas” at work, tired of taking our shoes off at the airport while kindly 85-year-old grandmas are roughhoused, and tired of being told that the people who run our governments are experts whose judgment cannot be questioned. We are especially tired of the shameless and unethical connections of our elected officials to the companies and industries they support with public purchases or govern with governmental laws.

In the process, SHISG members have been told to mind our own business, asked who we are voting for, if we are acting as proxies for State Sen. Chris Lauzen in the upcoming primary, and so on.

Simply and honestly the answer is no. Mallard Point is not the only neighborhood in Sugar Grove with issues with the village. In my neighborhood, many of us received liens against our properties, and a few of us lost their homes, and a few others awoke to find that our homes were being auctioned off at the Kane County Courthouse the next day.

Is it perfectly acceptable, meaning legally, morally and ethically, for our Village President, P. Sean Michels, to preside while the money of Sugar Grove residents is being spent on engineering fees to Engineering Enterprises, Inc., if that cash ends up indirectly in the coffers of his family? To answer this question, I pose the hypothetical: If I were to give my father’s business $8.7 million of taxpayer money, and my father were to die, who would benefit? If he were to live, would I not benefit by sitting at his sumptuous Thanksgiving dinner? Would that be a prima facie case of lack of ethics? Could I sleep at night knowing that I have shown questionable ethics to the people who elected me?

P. Sean Michels is the chief officer of our village, and the village has paid his father’s corporation $8.7 million dollars of our tax money.

We in Sugar Grove and other communities in Kane County pay some of the highest property taxes on the planet. Are we getting all that we should, including the complete, honest, above-board ethical conduct of our village president, P. Sean Michels, or not? Has the Republican Party properly vetted P. Sean Michels, or has it once again stomped all over us by selecting one of the “society of friends? You decide.

JR Mooney
Sugar Grove

One Comment

  1. sgmom

    January 30, 2010 at 8:11 AM

    Don’t you think that if there were some ethical issues or violation of the law, that this would have been addressed at the beginning of sean’s term in office? I am certain that the village has attorney’s who verify “conflict of interest” issues. If there can be two residents of Mallard Point on the board and they can discuss the mallard point issues, and push things a certain way, is that a conflict of interest? do they have a vested interest in the outcome of the village’s decisions/votes? I don’t think you are looking at the whole picture. Also, in your FOIA, did you find out how much of the money paid to EEI was reimbursed to the village through developer fees? Also, please remember that professional service contracts are not bid. they are awarded based on qualifications. EEI was the village engineer before sean was ever village president and according to other articles, he has stated that he has never voted on an EEI contract. Also, after some digging, did you know that each year all elected officials, not just village officials, fill out a statement of economic interest?