9 months ago


The Lake Forest Leader 012518

6 | January 25, 2018 |

6 | January 25, 2018 | The lake forest leader NEWS Lake Forest City Council Outside council hired to investigate lobbying costs for Amtrak stop City Council reveals details of Dec. 18- 19 exec session Alyssa Groh, Editor After convening in multiple executive sessions following the news of approximately $192,000 of lobbying costs for an Amtrak stop, the Lake Forest City Council announced its decision to hire outside council to investigate the matter during its meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 16. During the meeting the City Council unanimously ratified the decision to hire Leigh Jeter as the outside council to investigate the lobbying expenses. “Ms. Jeter has been recommended (to the City Council) to conduct the investigation due to her background qualifications and experience conducting individual reviews of neutral workplace matters,” said Alderman Jack Reisenberg, who is the point person on the City Council for the investigation. Prior to opening her private practice in 2017, Jeter was a partner at Clark Baird Smith LLP, and prior to that, she was a partner at Seyfarth Shaw LLP’s labor and employment practice. Information regarding the lobbying expenses surfaced during the Dec. 4 City Council meeting when Mayor Robert Lansing reported the City of Lake Forest received a letter from Joe McHugh, Amtrak’s vice president, stating Amtrak’s support for an Amtrak stop in Lake Forest. Lansing also shared that the City spent $192,911 in lobbying cost, which he believed helped Amtrak support the stop in Lake Forest. Prior to the Dec. 4 meeting, the public, along with some City Council members, had no knowledge of the lobbying cost. It was revealed that City Manager Robert Kiely approved three payments toward the nearly $200,000 lobbying cost through City Attorney Victor Filippini’s law firm to the Washington, D.C.-based lobbying firm, Chambers, Conlon and Hartwell. The payments were made between March 2016-October 2017. The news of the expenses resulted in the City Council meeting in executive session for approximately four hours immediately following the Dec. 18 meeting and continuing for another three hours on Dec. 19. Reisenberg noted Lansing, Kiely and Filippini were not in attendance during the executive sessions. Reisenberg explained to a packed City Hall what happened during the executive sessions and what Jeter’s role is in the investigation. “[During the executive session meetings, the City Council] interviewed many former and present city officials individually as part of our fact-finding process,” he said. “We also discussed personnel matters along with financial controls, compliance, organizational issues that impact the desire to financial management and governance culture. As a result of those discussions, and because of the confines of the open meeting “Thank you in advance for your patience as we pursue this important matter. Please be assured the City Council is taking residents’ concerns seriously and ensuring a thorough and independent review of all pertinent information.” Jack Reisenberg — The Lake Forest Third Ward alderman on the City Council’s decision to hire outside council to investigate approximately $192,000 spent toward lobbying expenses for an Amtrak stop in Lake Forest without City Council approval. act, council decided several days later, after those meetings were complete, to engage outside council to provide an independent and comprehensive review of this matter.” Jeter has already begun her investigation, and has met with various City Council members, as well as members of the Alliance to Control Train Impacts on Our Neighborhoods, a group of residents committed to stopping the proposed third track in Lake Forest. Following the Jan. 16 meeting, the City Council met in executive session with Jeter to receive an update on the investigation. Jeter will continue to collect relevant data and conduct interviews throughout the investigation. Reisenberg said City Council and residents can anticipate an update on Jeter’s findings in February and a full report when the investigation is complete. He also encouraged anyone with information on the matter to submit relevant information to Jeter at Lake Forest City Hall, 220 E. Deerpath Road, Lake Forest, noting attention to Leigh Jeter. Kiely did not speak about the investigation or the matter during the meeting. Reisenberg ended his statement by thanking residents for voicing their concerns on the matter. “Thank you in advance for your patience as we pursue this important matter,” he said. “Please be assured the City Council is taking residents’ concerns seriously and ensuring a thorough and independent review of all pertinent information.” Finance Committee reviews recommendations to improve finance policies Before the City Council began its meeting, the Finance Committee met to review commendations to help improve oversight and viability over expenses, which were made during the Dec. 18 meeting. The recommendations were made following the knowledge of the $192,000 lobbying cost. James E. Morris, first ward alderman and finance committee chairman, and Elizabeth Holleb, the director of finance for the City, reviewed four shortterm recommendations that were made in December and discussed three new recommendations. The first recommendation is to expand the distribution of the monthly contingency fund report to include the finance chairman so that the City Council and the city manager receive the monthly report. The second recommendation includes reeducating operating departments on the administration of the contingency funds by stressing city staff needs to complete an approval form before charges are incurred. The third recommendation made by Holleb and Morris suggested adopting a policy whereby any third party payments through an intermediary must receive City Council acknowledgement and/or approval. Finally, Holleb recommended having outside auditors review contingency account activity and report on any recommendations that auditors offer. In addition, Holleb presented three new recommendations to the Finance Committee. The fifth recommendation involves the new BS&A Software the City received last year. The software automatically generates compliance reports from the system. The sixth recommendation relates to the departmental training. In addition to the reeducating operating departments on the administration of the contingency funds, the finance committee would like to provide specific departmental training with each department relating to purchasing process, specifically including discussions regarding items such as requisitions, purchase orders, incumbrances, invoice payments and contingency account administration. The seventh recommendation relates to goal setting. As part of the budget, each department provides specific goals and objectives for this coming fiscal year. Morris highlighted the importance of the recommendations. “We specifically wanted to drive an accelerated implementation of the four recommendations from [the Dec. 18 meeting,] and we are well on our way to completing the implementation of all four of the recommendations that we discussed last month,” Morris said. “... We believe these additional recommendations will be important in our effort to strengthen the City’s internal financial management.” News the lake forest leader | January 25, 2018 | 7 From JAN 17 Murder-suicide witness hit shooter with car Alyssa Groh, Editor The shooter in a Jan. 3 murder-suicide in Lake Forest was struck by a vehicle after killing his ex-girlfriend and himself in the parking lot of the apartment the former couple once shared, according to new information from the Lake Forest Police Department. Further investigation into the shooting revealed that a third party, a U.S. Navy member, co-worker of VanLandingham’s and Highland Park resident, witnessed the incident and, out of fear for his life, drove his Land Rover into the shooter, Ryan Zike, 33, just after Zike shot himself in the head, according to a press release from the LFPD. The witness is a 37-year-old man who arrived at VanLandingham’s apartment in the 200 block of E. Deerpath Road on the morning on Jan. 3 to drive her to work, according to the release. The release also reveals that Zike, of Louisville, Ky., and VanLandingham lived together for a period of time in VanLandingham’s apartment. In October of 2017, it says, Zike moved out of VanLandingham’s apartment and moved back in with his family in Louisville. Zike, who allegedly shot VanLandingham, 27, multiple times in the incident, reportedly drove to Illinois and stayed overnight at an unknown location on Jan. 2. The next morning, the release says, Zike approached VanLandingham as she was leaving her apartment for work just prior to 6:20 a.m. Zike and VanLandingham engaged in a brief conversation in the parking area of the apartment complex, when Zike produced a semi-automatic pistol and shot her several times, the release says. After shooting VanLandingham, it continues, Zike shot and killed himself. The witness was reportedly parked in a position where his headlights illuminated VanLandingham and Zike during the initial conversation and the shooting. The witness told investigators he felt Zike was going to turn the gun on him; therefore he made the decision Claire VanLandingham (left), of Lake Forest, was shot and killed Wednesday, Jan. 3, in a parking lot in Lake Forest, where her reported former boyfriend, Ryan Zike (right), of Louisville, also died of a gunshot wound to the head. VanLandingham’s photo via her Facebook, Zike headshot courtesy of Park District of Highland Park. to hit the man with his vehicle. After the witness hit Zike with his car, Copeland said he crashed his car into another car in the parking lot. After hitting Zike with a car, the release says, the witness attempted first aid on VanLandingham. The witness reportedly ran into a nearby business — a Dunkin’ Donuts is attached to the parking lot — to request help and for someone to call 911. VanLandingham was eventually transported to Lake Forest Hospital where she was pronounced dead. Zike had a valid Kentucky concealed carry gun permit, the release states, and was armed with two pistols and a knife at the time of the incident. Zike, according to Lake County Coroner Dr. Howard Cooper, did not sustain major trauma from being hit by the car. Copeland said at this time it is still unclear what caused the incident to escalate into a shooting. “[Zike] hasn’t lived [in Lake Forest] since October. I don’t think there is any indication that he was back in Lake Forest or had any contact with [VanLandingham] for a while,” he said. The morning of Jan. 3 Lake Forest police responded to the scene of a shooting in a parking lot off the southwest corner of Western Avenue and Deerpath Road, just outside of VanLandingham’s apartment. VanLandingham, of Lake Forest, died after being taken to Lake Forest Hospital, while Zike was dead at the scene of a gunshot wound to the head. “Both families have been notified and our deepest condolences go out to them. This is truly an awful tragedy,” Cooper said at the time. The Lake County Major Crimes Task Forces confirmed the two victims were in a relationship that ended in late September or early October of 2017. The motive is still under investigation, according to a release, but it was initially reported the two were in a domestic dispute prior to the shooting. The initial release states the shooting seemed to be an isolated incident, and there was no additional danger to the community. VanLandingham, who went to high school and college in Indiana and graduate school in Louisville, came to Naval Station Great Lakes in North Chicago in August after completing dental studies earlier last year, according to a Navy spokeswoman, Lt. Liza Dougherty. She was assigned as a dental care officer on Aug. 12 at the USS Osborne Dental Clinic at Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center, adjacent to the Navy base. VanLandingham became a lieutenant in the Navy Dental Corps on May 13, 2017. Please see Shooting, 11 Rocky The Few family We rescued rocky from Tennessee two years ago. The rescue center, Woof River Animal Rescue, found him wandering in a field. They say he is part St. Bernard and hound. He is a true gentleman of a dog with the sweetest disposition ever. He’s only barked a handful of times since we got him. Where we go, he is soon to follow. He follows me every morning watching me get ready for work. His favorite thing to do is go to the dog park. I truly mean that “he rescued us.” And we are furever happy about that. HELP! The Lake Forest Leader is in search of more pets. To see your pet featured as Pet of the Week, send a photo and information to or 60 Revere Drive, Suite 888, Northbrook, IL 60062. 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