The Lake Forest Caucus has always assured its residents that their hand is on the wheel because they properly select and “vet” candidates for municipal and school board seats. I have enjoyed this atmosphere of “civic security” since I moved here over 30 years ago.
The LF Caucus Has Gotten Sloppy
But with no opposition, the Caucus has gotten sloppy. Their ability to vet candidates, in whom they ask residents to put their trust, doesn’t work anymore. Witness the hot mess surrounding Caucus endorsed candidate, Tomas Nemickas. The guy is running for the District 115 School Board which has a 5 figure contract with a firm (IL Bone and Joint, aka IBJI) in which Nemickas has an equity position. While there are hundreds of doctors that practice at IBJI, there are only nine listed as Managers (read: owners) on the IL Secretary of State LLC filing. Tomas Nemickas is one of them. This is a blatant conflict of interest. Even if he is elected, it disqualifies him to serve.
When he signed the Economic Statement of Interest in order to run, he said he had no financial conflicts of this nature. If you wanted to be nice, you could say he was disingenuous, or maybe dealing in ”alternative facts.” Didn’t he think this would be uncovered? More importantly, why didn’t the vaulted Caucus “vetting” process uncover this? Or are they counting on residents to be asleep at the switch while their candidates are given opportunities for personal enrichment with residents’ tax dollars?
Connecting the Dots
It is not hard to connect the dots despite Nemickas’ attempt to say the contract has no profit built in or that he doesn’t manage that division of IBJI which does business with the high school. He is an equity owner. Period. The buck stops with him.
The athletic trainers at LFHS recommend IBJI when, in their judgment, a student could benefit from additional orthopedic medical care. This contract is simply a feeder system to get parents and their children into IBJI and walk them up the proverbial marketing ladder of medical services. That is where the real money is. To repeat, Tom Nemickas is an equity owner. He benefits directly from any and all profit IBJI makes; that is what equity owners do.
Trust and Credibility Is Gone
But the larger and far more important issue here is that the Lake Forest Caucus has lost its credibility and, in doing so, has destroyed my trust in them and support for their candidates.
Everyone Now Has a Choice
Thankfully, however, in this election unlike prior elections, at least I have a choice of candidates. Think about it….you, me and every other resident has an actual choice when you go to vote. Exercise that choice and vote for the Final Four (Neubauer, Marshall, Mienville and Good) for the four available seats on District 115’s Board. They pledge to be transparent in how and why they make academic and financial decisions for District 115. They will be focusing on your pocketbook, not their own. It will be a breath of fresh air.
Good government starts at the bottom with municipal elections. Make the one on April 4 count. Be sure to vote.
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