Absent D.205 board members: We tried to prevent approval of 'crooked' contracts

2014-02-13T13:48:00Z 2014-02-14T07:59:05Z Absent D.205 board members: We tried to prevent approval of 'crooked' contractsGregory Tejeda Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
February 13, 2014 1:48 pm  • 

SOUTH HOLLAND | The three District 205 School Board members who oppose former Board President Kenneth Williams said Thursday their refusal to participate in Wednesday's meeting was to prevent approval of contracts they consider to be improper.

Edward Crayton, Bernadette Lawrence and Lauren Green were not present at the District 205 School Board meeting Wednesday night. The three issued a statement Thursday that said their absence was deliberate to prevent a quorum of officials from being present.

Without a quorum, Board Vice President Darren Robinson was forced to adjourn without any business being conducted. In the statement, Crayton described measures on the agenda that were up for approval as "crooked vendor contracts."

“The board members refuse to be counted as present for the meeting in effort to avoid a quorum in which would have allowed a vote for payout of thousands of dollars to political cronies,” Crayton said.

Crayton also said he believes the companies that would receive money from these contracts are those that have personal ties to Williams, and he said the School Board members allied with Williams put the items on the board agenda, “void of the process put in place by the board to weed out corruption.”

The issue is not new. Crayton, along with Lawrence and Green, have complained about the same thing at past School Board meetings.

Williams and his School Board allies have said they are trying to gain better financial deals for the district, even if it takes business away from companies that had ties to past school district officials.

Crayton on Thursday would not specify what items on the agenda constituted the deals he considers improper. No contract approval was on the agenda, much of which consisted of payment of bills dating back to late summer. Many of those would have been paid at past board meetings if not for the stalemate created when Williams was removed from the board by a Cook County judge because of his 29-year-old felony conviction in Indiana.

School Board member Toni Williams, who is Kenneth Williams’ wife, said “There were no contracts on the agenda. I don’t know what he’s talking about.”

The School Board remains in a 3-3 partisan split while Kenneth Williams’ old seat on the board remains vacant. The matter is pending in Cook County Circuit Court, where Judge Moshe Jacobius has a hearing scheduled for Feb. 28.

Crayton also said in his statement he believes Kenneth Williams is trying to maintain control of the School Board through his wife, which Toni Williams would not acknowledge.

“I don’t care to respond to anything Ed Crayton says,” she said.

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