Board member denies economic interests

Board member denies economic interests

By Jeff Havens, Staff Writer

Don Johannes, Rock Valley College (RVC) Board of Trustees member and former board chairman denies his economic interests is linked to at least $9,405.60 RVC has paid for insurance policies since last June.

Johannes denies he has sold any of the policies in question or that he has received any commission from the sale of the policies.

Johannes is licensed by the state to solicit and sell various forms of insurance.

However, according to information from Chicago’s Rabjohns Financial Group, Johannes operates a “detached office” and is a direct “affiliate” of Rabjohns. Rabjohns sells many types of insurance and financial planning packages.

The insurance payments appear to be directly related to a June 2002 addendum to RVC President Roland Chapdelaine’s contract, which has a compensation package estimated at about $230,000 per year.

A RVC board member as well as the RVC Board Chairman Chris Johnson said that Chapdelaine’s insurance policies were puchased from Rabjohns.

Johannes said, “I have nothing to do with the insurance policies…I have had nothing to do with Mr. Rabjohns in two years…I got no commission” for the sale of the policies to the college.

Mr. Rabjohn declined comment, citing confidentiality restrictions.

Chris Johnson, RVC Board of Trustees chairman, said he would be “surprised” if Johannes directly sold the policies to the college.

Trustee and insurance man

Johannes filed his trustee statement last November and his candidacy statement in January. In the statement, holders of public office and candidates are required to list a variety of economic interests that could violate the Illinois Governmental Ethics Act. Of the eight interests listed on the statement including, “List the name and instrument of ownership in any entity doing business with the unit of local government in relation to which the person is required to file…”, Johannes wrote “none” for each interest.

On May 28, 2002, the same day trustees voted to pay Chapdelaine for unused vacation, Gil Fash, estate planning specialist for Rabjohns, addressed the board about new ways to compensate Chapdelaine. Less than one month later, the board verbally agreed to Chapdelaine’s contract addendum, which consists of a $500,000 split-dollar life insurance policy with a deferred $200,000 cash payout at age 65 (Chapdelaine is 57).

Concerning the insurance policies, Fash said, “I cannot confirm or deny anything to do with my clients.”

The group’s Web site reads “Rabjohns Financial Group/New England Financial,” is a Metropolitan Life insurance affiliate. New England Financial is directly linked to General American Life Insurance Co.

According to RVC board reports, the college paid $6,441 to General American and $759 to Metropolitan Life on Aug. 5, 2002. RVC also paid $2,205.60 on Sept. 12 to Metropolitan Life. Johannes vehemently denied that he sold polices for General American and Metropolitian Life.

During the interview, Johannes said, “You’re an assh#*@!” You print a bunch of garbage … and half-truths. You’re so godd#*@ negative about looking for something that’s not there. You call and upset all the people in my office. That rag you write for is just a piece of junk!”

This interview was the second call to Johannes’ office.

Board reports indicate Johannes was cut a check Feb. 27 by the college for $2,014.90. Johannes said he did not know what the check was about.

Chapdelaine was given $2,400 Dec. 5. It is not known whether these checks are related to the insurance policies because college officials refused to respond to The Rock River Times’ April 10 request for an open interview, similar to the recent interview granted the Doug McDuff Show on WNTA 1330-AM.

Sources said Johannes has been one of Chapdelaine’s staunchest supporters.

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