Elderly Metro-East library board members charged with stealing thousands

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by KMOV.com Staff

KMOV.com

Posted on January 27, 2014 at 7:10 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 28 at 6:22 AM

(KMOV) – Felony charges were filed Monday against a married couple with the East Alton Library Board who allegedly failed to disclose their financial involvement with a company that won a bid for a new library roof.

Van A. Long, 72, and Eileen L. Long, 70, were both charged Monday with one felony count of official misconduct and one felony count of prohibited interest in contracts by Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons.

An investigation was launched by the East Alton Police Department who began looking into the married couple who are members of the Library Board.

In June 2013, The Board reportedly awarded a contract for a new roof for the East Alton Library to BCK I, LLC, an East Alton company that turned in the lowest bid.  A check was issued for one-third of the bid amount, totaling $6665.67, as part of the bid agreement.

Manager of the East Alton Library, Richard Chartrand, informed the Library Board during an August 2013 meeting there may be a conflict due to a potential connection between Van and Eileen Long and BCK I, LLC.

The Board reportedly voted to overturn the award and the $6665.67 bid was returned to the Board one week later.

Van and Eileen Long both withheld from the vote on returning the bid.  The Long’s claimed that they were unaware that a conflict of interest was taking place, according to official minutes of the August meeting.

Following an investigation, it was determined the Long’s daughters are officially listed as owners of the business with the State of Illinois, therefore the Long’s are active with the company and its financial transactions, including writing checks.

Therefore, based on their decision to not disclose their financial interest in the company while knowingly gaining financially, a decision was made to charge the couple. 

The Long’s could face probation or serve 2-5 years in prison for their class 3 felony.  Additionally, they could face probation or serve up to 1-3 years in prison for a class 4 felony.

Bonds were set at $20,000 for Van and Eileen Long.  They are currently not in custody.

“Instead of using their positions to serve the public good, they knowingly voted for a contract where they would be rewarded financially,” stated State's Attorney Gibbons. “When you violate the public’s trust, regardless of your position, we will hold you accountable.”

 

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