Yesterday, I quoted Secretary to the Peoria Park Board, V. Joyce McLemore as saying “Realizing the tape record you were discussing couldn’t be transcribed because of what I had done (erased the tapes) – it hit me like a ton of bricks.” This letter is dated August 7, 2006.
Remember that date.
On March 29, 2006, the JS reported the following: “District may use Park Land – Today’s vote – the plan: Build a new grade school property within Glen Oak Park and buy 21 other adjacent parcels of land, including occupied homes. What’s next: The District 150 Board and the Peoria Park Board meet today to approve a “letter of intent”. It states the two board plan to agree to the plan. – When: 10:AM. – Where: Valeska Hinton School.”
On April 6, 2006, the JS reported “Three weeks before announcing it publicly, District 150 told a commercial property owner near Glen Oak Park it intended to buy 21 parcels of land in the area.”
Robert McCord, now deceased, lawyer, business mogul, former City Councilman and Civic leader and husband of property owner Vicki McCord, said Wednesday, the district lawyer (Walvoord) and a realtor told the couple in early March the district wanted to buy the commercial property and 20 other nearby properties.
“They said that a decision had been made to acquire all that property –our property and all the residences,” Robert McCord said.
District 150 attorney David Walvoord remembers the March 7 conversation differently. He said no mention was made of a decision because the district hadn’t made a decision about the site at that time. He said the meeting was intended to inform the McCord’s of a general interest in the property.
“We are trying to make inquiries. We were doing our preliminary work,” he said.
Walvoord said the school district wanted to make sure the Park District was willing to form a partnership before residents and the public were notified.
“You don’t approach a bunch of homeowners and get them all upset and have these stories floating around until you’re ready to start beginning the process of making offers,” Walvoord said.
District 150 Superintendent Ken Hinton said the two groups began discussions in February and informally agreed to partner with each other at a meeting less than a week before the announcement. Several officials from both groups were present at the meeting.
If anyone is lying in this situation that has resulted in a lawsuit against the Park District for Violations of the Open Meeting Act and “ordinary tape erasures and housekeeping, I know one thing for sure; it wasn’t Robert McCord.
This is the 2nd part of a series I will blog on why certain Park Board Tapes MIGHT have been erased.