Sticky-Fingered Fire Chief Loses Appeal
THIS PAST JUNE 27 FIREGEEZER reported HERE on the seizure of a volunteer FD's assets by the Gardner Fire Protection District in Grundy County, Illinois. The independent Gardner Volunteer Fire Department was contracted by the Gardner FPD to provide coverage to the town and the immediate area. In our June article we wrote:
The fire protection district provides the funds (collected through taxes) for the VFD to operate but recently the board has been getting stiffed by the volunteers who have been on a credit card spending spree and have refused to furnish the bills and invoices that were paid by the credit card. After many months of conflict and the continued refusal of the FD to account for their spending of (the fire protection district's) funds, the F.P.D. went to the court asking for authority to reclaim their interest in the fire protection responsibility.
Last week the judge ordered the sheriff to seize all the property of the VFD and return it to the FPD. On Monday a moving crew showed up at the firehouse and removed all the property including the emergency vehicles, furnishings, fire equipment, running gear, etc. Everything except the real estate was transferred over to the FPD.
The Gardner town fire station was in legal limbo for six months
The FPD then transferred a pumper and ambulance from other areas into a temporary quarters provided by the town. The volunteers then appealed the judge's order claiming that the termination of the VFD's contract was not valid. The appeal has since been denied. The Morris Daily Herald reported on January 22:
On Jan. 14, Judge Robert Marsaglia’s order in favor of the district’s motion for a summary judgment was filed. The motion was requested in regards to the department’s complaint appealing the judge’s ruling that the termination of the contract between the district and department was valid. The department was stating the termination was invalid.
The judge’s order stated the district had the right to terminate the contract of the department when the department no longer provided services to the satisfaction of the district. The judgment also ruled against the department’s allegations that the district fraudulently induced the department into documents.
The district’s summary judgment ruled in favor of the district for six counts. This ruling benefits the district in all the major litigation against it, said the district’s attorney, Rick Porter of Hinshaw & Culbertson on Monday.
This not only supports the FPD's repossession of the equipment, but also allows them to take over and operate out of the fire station.
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