CHICAGO (CBS) — Officials in suburban Algonquin Township are at odds over road salt. The situation is so icy, it’s even gone before a judge.
It’s a story about road salt, but dig a little deeper and it’s really about political turmoil.
“Well, the salt situation, that’s something that the supervisor’s office doesn’t monitor,” said Charles Lutzow, Algonquin Township supervisor. “It’s solely monitored by the highway department.”
“Once again I’m asking what is going on in Algonquin Township,” resident Rich Faly said at a township meeting. “We are close to $500,000 in legal bills.”
The spotlight is on embattled township highway commissioner Andrew Gasser and what township lawyers say was his illegal, no bid purchase of road salt. More than $107,000 is owed to the company. Township officials voted not to pay because of the illegal purchase.
“He did not do that legally, therefore it’s null and void,” said Algonquin Township Trustee Melissa Victor. “So how can we approve this?”
Adding to the controversy, lawyers contend Gasser paid $91 a ton for the salt instead of the going rate of about $53 a ton. That’s almost double. Gasser had nothing to say because he was not in town for a township meeting Wednesday night. Officials believe he’s in Mississippi.
A Facebook video from last week raises questions about when Gasser may have left town and a possible salt shortage behind. All this comes as legal bills over this no bid battle continue to mount.
“I’m sick of this. I’m sick of hearing it,” said resident Deanna Darling. “We are getting a terrible reputation in this state.”
Gasser is not required to attend township meetings. He acts independently from the board of trustees. CBS 2 tried to reach out to him and his attorneys but did not hear back.
The township does have the option to buy road salt from nearby areas if it comes to it.