Attorney General called to track Washington Park’s spending

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WASHINGTON PARK, IL (KTVI) - The Illinois Comptroller is calling in the Attorney General to force a Metro East town to explain how it's spending your money.  The money problems are so bad the town had to lay off the whole fire department.  While workers got hit, politicians sure didn't share the financial pain.

Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka says her office got fed up with the small town of Washington Park that refused to say how they were spending your hard earned tax dollars, a lot of which comes from the state.

"Washington Park was not in compliance. We went down there they were cooperating with us and then they decided they were not. We sent an auditor down there to look at their books. They cannot find records they cannot produce records. They don't want to produce records, So, we have turned that over to the Attorney General." said Judy Baar Topinka.

Washington Park is a town of about 4,100 people where the median income is $21,000. With 44 percent of the population below the poverty level it's tried to file twice for bankruptcy after it couldn't even meet payroll.

I caught up with Washington Parks Mayor Angie Rogers for answers about the comptrollers complaints:

Elliott Davis: "The comptroller says you guys haven't been straightforward with records how do you answer that?"
Angie Rodgers: "Actually we have not in the past seven years that being said what we are doing right now is we have to get our books in order"

The Mayor says Washinigton Park has made painful layoffs to get it's fiscal house in order. As part of that they laid off all the firefighters and made it into a  volunteer fire department to save money with firefighters working for free.

Politicians in Washington Park seem to be weathering the crisis just fine. The Comptroller is trying to figure out what happened to the tax dollars that might have kept other workers on the payroll.

"They stopped talking to us they didn't want to talk to us they didn't want to help they didn't want to look for records!" said Judy Baar Topinka.

Mayor Rodgers says she and trustees are working on getting village's fiscal house in order so they can rehire the firefighters and other workers they had to let go.

If you think cutting officials own pay is a good place to start the process call Washington Park Mayor Angie Rodgers at 618 874-2040

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