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$2.7 Million Judgment Entered against Herrin Community Unit School District No. 4

MARION – A judgment was recently entered against a Williamson Count School District for improperly using funds it received from a state tax for school facility purposes.  

According to a statement released Tuesday by the law firm of Ronald E. Osman and Associates, LTD., of Marion, on Jan. 14, a $2.7 million judgment was entered against Herrin Community School District No. 4 for improper usage of funds received under the tax law mentioned from Oct. 1, 2008 to Aug. 22, 2011.

The Illinois County School Facility Occupation Tax Law allows a county board to impose a tax of up to 1 percent upon all retail business to provide revenue to be used exclusively for school facility purposes when that imposition is approved by the voters of the county through a referendum placed on the ballot of a regularly scheduled county election.

Williamson County imposed such a 1 percent sales tax effective July 1, 2008, and the tax has been collected from all retail sales in Williamson County since that date.

The school district received just over $4 million in funding through the 1 percent sales tax from July 1, 2008 to Aug. 22, 2011 to be used solely for school facility purposes. The courts and an independent audit determined that more that half of the amount the district received was used for improper purposes. The district has been ordered to repay over $2.2 million to its capital projects fund for the benefit of its County School Facility Occupation Tax Law Fund.

The action was filed with the Williamson County Circuit Court as P&S Grain, LLC and Ronald E. Osman v. Herrin Community School District No. 4, Williamson, Jackson, and Franklin Counties, Cause No. 2010-CH-9. The Plaintiffs were represented by Ronald E. Osman of Ronald E. Osman & Associates, Ltd. in Marion.