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Kane County Tax Increase Update: Mr. Toad's Wild Ride - Part Deux

Memo from Kane County Treasurer to Finance Committee Chair

Date: November 3, 2023

To: Vern Tepe

cc: Board Members

From: Chris Lauzen

RE: “ Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” – Part Deux


As Badger said to Mr. Toad in Wind in the Willows, "…We animals never allow our friends to make fools of themselves beyond a certain limit; and that limit you have reached.” I have offered to help you do appropriate research privately anytime by visiting my office before you make a silly spectacle of yourself.

Do you have no shame of making “sensational” false accusations when it's just a matter of time before you’re proven to be nothing but a political hatchet man, making no constructive contribution to the board in return for your $25,000/year with benefits.

As I shared with the Kane County Chronicle, only after I was asked, “Vern Tepe is out-of-control and reckless. He is using false accusations to distract from his and Chairman Pierog’s campaign to raise gas taxes and property taxes, along with the budgetary dysfunction of (your) Kane County Board. He has been cautioned by the State's Attorney's office.”

“I am trying to maintain positive morale in our office while we produce 8-10x the budgeted interest income ($14,000,000 more revenue this year), and as respectfully as we can, collect $1.5 Billion in taxes from 195,000 property taxpayers … all while facing the onslaught of his libelous, gossip-generated, outrageous political posturing. Incredibly, (you are) drunk on the ‘power’ of being a county board member. Truly pathetic.”


1. “Transition Audit”

A vice-chairman of any county board ought to know well enough how the internal operations of the county work. If you want an audit done, that’s the county auditor’s job. We came to work every day and stood ready to provide any information and assistance to the audit-or, as the audit-ee, that she desired.

Address your screed in the proper direction, towards the auditor. That question should have been pursued by incumbents on the board like you, in so-called “leadership” at least two (2) weeks before newly elected officials were sworn in and done within the first 30 days of the new Administration.

We did our own internal audit of all investments during the first 30 - 60 days in office. We presented our findings to the Finance Committee on February 28, 2023 (within first 90 days), and to the General Public in “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride – September 15, 2023” (in the first 10 months).

2. “Check Reconciliations”

I thought that we were working collaboratively and diligently with your new CFO and her staff to recover ground that you lost after driving off not only the extraordinary Joe Onzick (whom I hired, oriented, and assisted during his ten years), but also the highly competent Erica Waggoner (second-in-command with more than a decade of experience), and the conscientious Peter Phillips in ARPA.

And, while you’re criticizing the speed of our work to help rescue what you broke in Finance, what do you have to show for the $100,000 (!) consulting contract with Ralph from McHenry. It took you more than 6 months to replace talent you squandered in your mad dash for unnecessary gas tax and property tax increases. I thought Treasury personnel was helping you pick up your scattered pieces. However, “No good deed will be left unpunished” on Mr. Toad’s most recent wild and irresponsible ride!

By the way, not only were several months caught up recently, but we provided the current month of October’s reconciliation items by November 3, 2023 (that’s within 3 days for those who are counting and scolding). You have a strange way of returning favors … unhappy management of professional relationships, Vern!

3. “F.A.B. Fired Kane County”

Well, you plagiarized that headline from your political ally, Brenda Schory at the Kane County Chronicle. What she knows about finance and proper management best practices wouldn’t fill a thimble.

You and the County Board Office have tried to subvert, exploit for entirely political advantages, and nefariously interfere with the Treasurer’s Office’s careful and deliberate efforts to raise expectations and performance by brokers and bankers who were obviously not challenged by your Ruling (Democrat) Majority to deliver their best work.

For the first time in at least fifteen (15 years), we have sent a sixty-three (63) page Request for Proposal (RFP) and, as you dither and distract, there are eight (8) premier national and regional banks preparing their proposals to compete for Kane County’s lucrative business.

Now is not the time to publicly discuss our current banking relationship and transition; that time may come later. However, average daily Kane County banking deposits are $28,000,000 … at even a 2% net margin of interest paid versus interest earned on loans from a bank means $560,000 of annual interest revenue lost by those who you and Brenda Schory say “fired” us.

In eight weeks, we’ll all still be here, but First American Bank won’t be. So, tell me, Verne, who fired whom?

My staff and I work for our constituents and taxpayers, not your brokers and bankers. How about you and corporate media B.S.?

4. “Police Report”

My wife and I teach our grandkids that, if they eat too much sugary candy, they’ll become “discombobulated”. You must have been out very late on Halloween to generate such boogey-boogey- boogey! accusations.

Did you even read the report that you’re referring to? It clearly and falsely states that the County deposited $11.2M into this former employee’s personal bank account. This is a bizarre and untrue assertion. I am considering a request for legal action by the State’s Attorney to stop this disparagement that you have now repeated without factual basis.

5. “Just A Rumor That A $400,000 Bond Has Gone Missing”

Honestly Vern, where do you come up with this nonsense? And don’t you have any self-respect for your own credibility among your board member colleagues and constituents who employ you?

You know or should know that the Treasury reconciles all of our investments to the penny (NOT the nearest $400,000!) and publish it at every month’s Finance Committee meeting! You act like you’re expert; how can you say such silly stuff?

6. (An Extra) Your Attempt to Censor Me and Edit My Monthly Reports

The State’s Attorney’s Office has drafted a memo to board members that you can refuse to put Reports on file, but you cannot “edit and select” what you like and don’t like, once I submit reports to be posted to public record for the meeting.

In short, you cannot censor my Treasurer free speech, free thought, and free Expression (just because you don’t like it) …NOT as a countywide elected official and NOT as an American citizen. Who do you think you are?

I saw a T-shirt the other day that read: You can tell that the truth is being told when …

Facebook blocks it;

Google hides it;

You Tube deletes it;

Government (V.T.) censors it; and,

The Media (B.S.) never mentions it.

What you’re really trying to do is distract board members and constituents from your miserable performance on the budget process, investment management supervision during the two years I was away, and yours and the Chairman’s campaign to raise gas taxes and property taxes. Clearly, you’re an unpleasant bloviator, bully, harasser, egotistical misanthrope, and typical tax-and-spend politician.

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