Lutkauskas v. Ricker, 2013 IL App (1st) 121112, --- N.E.2d --- (9/30/13).

Spending working cash funds

Individual Board Member Interests
Case: Lutkauskas v. Ricker, 2013 IL App (1st) 121112, --- N.E.2d --- (9/30/13).
Date: Monday, September 30, 2013

Taxpayers brought actions against school district employees, the district’s accountant, and district school board members (collectively “defendants”). They alleged the defendants engaged in or permitted improper spending of money from the district’s working cash fund and they sought to (a) recover the money and (b) impose criminal penalties, including an order requiring the board members to forfeit their offices.

The court found that:

(a) The taxpayers could not recover a monetary award from the defendants because the taxpayers did not allege that the money transferred from the working cash fund was put toward an improper purpose forbidden by law. All monies were spent on legitimate school expenses, and the school board eventually effected a permanent transfer of the money by passing resolutions to abate and/or abolish the working cash fund.

(b) The taxpayers are not authorized under the law to seek criminal penalties or forfeiture of office (only the State of Illinois may impose such penalties under this law). The law does not authorize a civil suit to recover vast sums of money personally from district defendants for the alleged violation of the working cash provisions of the law when there are no allegations of monies being used for anything other than legitimate school expenditures.