What Marketing company gives the promotional material (yards signs etc.) to a PAC (Political action committee) without being paid first?
What company bills another company for an in-kind donation of promotional material without being paid or at least expecting or be paid by that other company?
What PAC submits paperwork to the state board of election for the in-kind donation before anyone has received a payment?
Wheaton-Warrenville CUSD 200 has a referendum on the ballot.
The associated PAC, “Friends of the Schools – Yes For Wheaton” filed paperwork showing an in-kind donation from Nicholas & Associates for $2,440.61 in promotional item with “Ivor Andrew” listed as the vendor on 2/20/2017
On 3/8/2017 a citizen referenced this donation in his public comments at the school board meeting.
On 3/9/2017 “Friends of the Schools – Yes For Wheaton” sent a letter saying there is no in-kind donation.
What’s going on here?
It started with a question. After seeing the “Yes for students” signs going up, we wondered:
Who is funding the “Yes for Wheaton” campaign?
To see the donation entry history for “Friends of the Schools – Yes For Wheaton” go to http://elections.il.gov/ click “contribution search” -> “by committees” and enter “Friends of the Schools – Yes For Wheaton”
Limit the data range if you want only the current ones.
On March 4, 2017 limiting the search to after 1/1/2014 showed:
If you search without a date restriction, you will see that district PTAs donated to the high school (2003), Hubble Middle school (2007) and Jefferson (2013) referendums as well as the current one. And I thought PTA moneys were used for the Students.
You will also see that several companies (e.g. Legat Architects) that are district vendors have donated to previous referendums.
Nicholas & Associates is most likely a business, who are they?
Searching CUSD200.org for “Nicholas & Associates” we find on http://www.cusd200.org//site/default.aspx?PageID=13265
Community Unit School District 200 -> Board of Education -> Board Communications -> April 14, 2016 – Board Receives Facility Report
“The Board approved Nicholas & Associates to provide cost estimating services for items contained in the Facility Master Plan Report.”
They are a general contracting firm that has provided estimates for the district – a district vendor.
At the March 8, 2017 school board meeting,
a citizen mentions Nicholas & Associates during his public comments. (He starts at 15:42. About 19:00 he asks about the Nicholas & Associates donation to “Friends of the school”)
Apparently, by March 9th the “Friends of the Schools – Yes For Wheaton” realized the donation was not to be, and they submitted a letter to the state board of elections. Coincidence?
The vendor, “Ivor Andrew” and the Pac, “Friends of the School” must have had reason to believe that Nicholas and Associates would be paying the bill.
A web search for “Ivor Andrew” turned up a page connecting them to “Boost Marketing”
I recognized “Boost Marketing” from a previous FOIA as the vendor who produced a series of videos about D200 facilities and the referendum for which they were paid $19,818.
Clicking on the “about” tab we see the name “Susan Booton” – a name I recognize as having made public comments in favor of the referendum at school board meetings.
March 14 – FOIA Boost Marketing / Ivor Andrew
I submitted a FOIA , one week later I received the response.
On March 14, 2017, you requested the following information:
Please provide all invoices, and any contract, or work order associated with Boost Marketing LLC
Also include any invoices, Contracts, or work orders involving ‘Ivor Andrew”
From a previous FOIA, I have the following dates / amount – see pages or the original FOIA, attached)
If there are any more in 2017 include them as well.
Your request is granted. Please see the attached documents.
The pdf attached contains work orders from “Ivor Andrew” and invoices from “Boost Marketing” & “Ivor Andrew” Responsive Documents Boost Mrktg
The work orders by “Ivor Andrew” were signed by Erica Loiacano (Communications Director for the district)
$7,280 on 4/13/2016
$2,320 on 5/6/2016
$240 on 9/7/2016
$2,720 on 9/20/2016
$800 on 10/12/2016
$970 on 11/28/2015
It appears the 2015 and 2017 work was done and paid without a contract or signed work order.
I have not found any reference to this work in board packets. When did the board approve it? If not, does Ms. Loiacano have the authority to approve this?
The response included one that was not already in my list from February 20, 2017 – after the referendum was placed on the ballot (January 11, 2017) and after my previous FOIA for purchased services by the Communications director (February 4, 2017).
This is most likely for the three videos, staring Dr. Schuler, that were posted in Feb. 2017
Are the recent videos strictly factual? Or promotional? At the December 14, 2016 board meeting they were given a presentation about do’s and don’ts regarding the law and the referendum. District staff and board members, when representing the district, must remain neutral. (starts at 3:03:35)
Since these were filmed on district property, starred the district superintendent and were paid for by the district, we must assume he was representing the district. You judge, Are they neutral?
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ek5o1JLUTgs April 4 Referendum – Financial Impact
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lpcowogMPs April 4 Referendum – What Happens if a referendum is not approved?
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08vO_Cj5-Jg April 4 Referendum – Why is there so much work?
What do you think about the relationships and activities of following organizations/people in regards to the referendum?
- Wheaton-Warrenville CUSD 200 (Dr, Schuler & Erica Loiacano)
- “Friends of the Schools – Yes For Wheaton” PAC
- Ivor Andrew / Boost Marketing (Keith & Susan Booton) and
- Nicholas and associates (a vendor of CUSD 200).