Board candidate plans to re-file lawsuit

Democrat Paul Gorski, candidate for Winnebago County Board Chairman plans to re-file a lawsuit next week challenging Republican Scott Christiansen’s appointment as county board chairman.

Christiansen was appointed to the position in May after former Chairman, Republican Kris Cohn, stepped down to take a position with the Bush administration’s Department of Education.

Gorski’s first lawsuit was thrown out of court last month on a technical grounds. Gorski said the intent of the lawsuit is to hold county officials responsible for their allegedly illegal actions, and to remove Christiansen from office.

Gorski alleges county officials were required to appoint a county board member, not an outsider such as Christiansen.

Gorski also questioned Christiansen’s motives for what he called an illegal meeting in January between Christiansen, several county board members, State Senator Dave Syverson (R-34) and the county’s former insurance broker, Bruce Hagshenas of Benefit Planning Services, Inc. Gorski said the meeting violated Illinois’ Open Meetings Act.

Winnebago County State’s Attorney Paul Logli’s office is investigating Hagshenas for alleged undisclosed commissions associated with the county’s purchase of $9 million in health insurance at Hagshenas’ recommendation.

Winnebago County State’s Attorney Paul Logli decided no action was necessary to formally investigate the Jan. 10 meeting, but did issue a letter stating that he thought the meeting at Christiansen’s office did not meet the requirements of the open meetings law.

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