MORRIS – Former Grundy VAC Superintendent Elton Monson has filed a lawsuit against the Grundy County Board, as well as 14 other parties that includes Grundy County’s three judges.
Monson was the superintendent of the Veterans Assistance Commission of Grundy County from 1999 to 2011 when the commission, and later supported by the Grundy County Board, terminated him and two other employees at the time – Kathleen Doran and Phyllis Doran.
On Dec. 12, Monson and Kathleen Doran filed suit against the county and multiple other parties for wrongful termination. Kathleen Doran also filed on behalf of Phyllis Doran, who has since passed away.
The other named parties in the suit are the Morris American Legion, Grundy County Marines Corps League, Disabled American Veterans, Morris VFW, Coal City American Legion, Minooka American Legion, current VAC superintendent Ken Buck, the VAC, VAC Chairman Harion Enervold, the Kendall County VAC, the Illinois Association of VACs and Judges Robert Marsaglia, Sheldon Sobol and Lance Peterson.
As of Tuesday afternoon, these parties had not been served, according to Grundy County Assistant State’s Attorney Perry Rudman.
“Nobody has been served with papers yet,” he said.
Monson and Doran are representing themselves, according to the case filing. They are asking for lost wages, benefits and reimbursements of $247,884.49. In addition, they are asking for $100 million in punitive damages.
In a phone interview Monday, Monson said they were “illegally mistreated by the County Board.” A call for additional comment to Monson on Tuesday once a copy of the case was obtained was not immediately returned.
According to the case file, Monson and Doran argue their termination was illegal because the veterans organizations that initiated the reorganization did not have voting rights because they did not turn in proper documentation mandated by the old VAC bylaws. They state in their case file the County Board and the new VAC did not have the right to hire or fire a VAC employee.
Buck said he had not been served the lawsuit and therefore could not comment on the case.
It appears in the case that Monson and Doran are suing the Kendall County VAC, and the Illinois Association of County VACs for “inaccurate, inflammatory, and libelous statements.”
They state Marsaglia showed bias in his previous rulings and the case states Sobol and Peterson made false accusations against the old VAC in their previous roles as state’s attorneys.
“We’ve become aware of the suit, we have a copy, but we haven’t studied it yet,” Rudman said. “We don’t want to make any editorial comments on this matter, especially at this stage in view of proceedings still going on in court.”
Since the three Grundy judges are named in the case, he anticipates the case will be sent to the chief judge of the 13th Judicial Circuit, of which Grundy County is part of, and be reassigned elsewhere.
Lawsuit latest in controversy with VAC
Controversy among the VAC has been a trend for years in Grundy County, from the County Board criticizing the old VAC for inefficiencies and it accusing the County Board of conspiring against it and regularly filing suit against the county.
The most recent quarrel between the veterans started when six local veteran’s organizations were allegedly not allowed a vote with the former VAC. These groups signed a petition asking the Grundy County Board for a reorganization.
The County Board took their petition to the next level and voted to recognize a reorganized VAC, and to repeal its previous resolution recognizing the original VAC. The board does not fund VAC.
Monson has previously said the organizations did not follow the proper protocol in time to designate their delegates and alternates as outlined in the bylaws, and that is why they were unable to vote.
The VAC reorganized and hired Buck as its new superintendent.
Monson brought this to court to have the old VAC stay intact, but in January 2012, Marsaglia ruled the county had the authority to recognize a new VAC.
But he did not rule on whether the old VAC existed or not, just that the county had the right not to fund the old one.
Monson has continued to run a VAC, but it does not receive county funds.
The Third District Appellate Court in April said the case should go back to the circuit court for further consideration.
In October the court ruled the old VAC does not legally exist and the new VAC was to continue on.
An appeal has not been filed yet, Rudman said.
A call to attorney Brett Geiger, who represented the old VAC in the original case, was not immediately returned Tuesday.