Lease deal results in suit

Lender sues trustee’s office

A lawsuit filed by a Chicago area lender is seeking to recover $37,000 from the Wayne Township trustee’s office.

Paul Graver of the Northfield, Illinois-based Government Lease Co. stated he provided $28,000 to then-Trustee Clint Madden’s office a year ago through a lease-purchase agreement to buy a concession stand, an agreement states.

The lawsuit in Cook County, Illinois, Circuit Court was filed Nov. 21, seven weeks after Madden resigned.

About a week after Madden stepped down Oct. 3, Bartholomew County Republican Party chairwoman Barb Hackman said the town’s financial records were being audited by the Indiana State Board of Accounts during Madden’s term in office.

At least $44,000 was unaccounted for following an internal audit of Wayne Township Fire and Rescue Department financial accounts, fire department board president Jason Perry said in November.

Besides Madden’s signature, the March 24, 2016 leasing agreement also carries what’s purported to be Perry’s signature.

However, Skokie, Illinois attorney Barry A. Springer, who is representing the Wayne Township board, said Perry’s signature was forged.

Springer made that claim in an email sent last month to Government Lease Co., which was released by Graver.

Under the leasing agreement, Madden’s office agreed to begin making monthly payments of $667.68 on May 1, 2016, and continue them for the next five years, the lawsuit states.

But only $3,338.40 was provided to Graver’s company when the payments stopped after Sept. 1, the suit states. The $37,222.71 that Graver is requesting represents the remaining principle, interest and late fees, according to court documents.

In addition, First Government Lease Co. is also asking the Wayne Township trustee’s office to pay attorney fees and other relief as the court may deem just, the lawsuit states.

“If I must, I will turn the couch in the lobby of the Wayne Township Trustee office upside down and shake it until I am paid in full,” Graver told The Republic.

In his Feb. 23 email, Springer told Graver he should have examined the board minutes before entering into the lease-purchase agreement last spring.

If he had, Graver would have discovered that Madden did not have legal authority to borrow or spend the money, the email stated.

The board attorney also informed Graver he is preparing to ask the judge to throw out the case largely because Perry’s signature was forged.

“Of course, you may continue to have a cause of action against Mr. Madden,” Springer wrote.

Nevertheless, Springer stated he was authorized by the Wayne Township Board to offer a $10,000 settlement for any current or future claims.

Graver responded he would only settle the matter for the specified amount stated in his lawsuit.

“I am not some nameless, feckless corporate institution that is going to simply walk away from my loss and my children’s loss,” Graver stated.

Cook County Judge Thaddeus Stephan Machnik has scheduled a status hearing on the case for Monday. Online court records also show Graver is acting as his own attorney.

Wayne Township officials, including former Trustee Madden, could not be reached for comment.

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Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.