Metro-East News

Fired parole board member sues to get job back

A former Illinois Prisoner Review Board member who was fired by Gov. Bruce Rauner for allegedly making false statements in his bankruptcy case and on required state economic interest statements has filed a lawsuit asking a judge to issue a preliminary injunction to restore him temporarily to his position.

Eric E. Gregg, the former mayor of Harrisburg, is one of two parole board members who are no longer on the board as the result of a state investigation stemming from reporting by the Belleville News-Democrat.

Adam P. Monreal, an attorney and former Cook County assistant prosecutor, resigned Oct. 2 after news stories revealed that he under-reported his income in a 2011 bankruptcy at a time when he was serving as chairman of the board, according to court documents.

In a 16-page complaint filed Oct. 14 in Saline County Circuit Court, Gregg, argued that his former bankruptcy attorney acted carelessly because of “poor drafting and proof reading,” when filing an income statement on behalf of Gregg in federal court in Benton.

These statements inaccurately attributed about $48,000 in income to Gregg that should have been listed under his wife, Patti Gregg’s name, according to the lawsuit. Patti Gregg is a full-time teacher’s aide and was listed as a “non-filing” spouse, another error. The extra income came from operating a private energy company, according to the bankruptcy files.

State law restricts members of the parole board from having any outside employment, and also are required to report any gifts or monetary donations they receive.

A spokesperson for the governor’s office could not be reached Wednesday for comment.

In a dismissal letter to Gregg, Jason Barclay, general counsel to the governor, wrote, “Mr. Gregg either knowingly signed a false statement in violation of one or more federal laws ... or he signed a federal bankruptcy document under penalty of perjury without reviewing it. ...” Either way, this is “malfeasance or complete incompetence and neglect of duty,” and sufficient reason for his dismissal, according to Barclay’s letter.

Mr. Gregg either knowingly signed a false statement in violation of one or more federal laws ... or he signed a federal bankruptcy document under penalty of perjury without reviewing it.

Jason Barclay, general counsel to Gov. Bruce Rauner

Gregg’s complaint argued that there were errors made in his bankruptcy and on economic interest statements, but that these do not constitute “malfeasance” under the state law governing removal of parole board members.

The court document states that Gregg was removed “without due process, (that he) has lost compensation and benefits, has been embarrassed and suffered emotional distress.” He asked that the judge order him returned to the parole board, “until the case can be heard on its merits.”

His argument continued, “The allegations toward plaintiff do not constitute malfeasance, incompetence or neglect of duty. ...”

Gregg, a Republican, was appointed by former Gov. Pat Quinn to a six-year term that ends in 2019. The 15-member board must be diverse politically and cannot have more than eight members from one political party.

Parole board members earn $91,400 per year. They are also issued state cars and gas cards to be used to travel to various prisons to hold parole hearings and for other matters.

A hearing on the temporary injunction request is set for Dec. 11.

George Pawlaczyk: 618-239-2625, @gapawlaczyk

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