Joliet’s inspector general concluded that Council Member Pat Mudron’s involvement in an insurance deal with the Joliet Area Historical Museum violated state law and a city ordinance and should be referred to the Illinois Attorney General for review.
The inspector general’s report also identified City Manager James Caparelli as the source of Mudron’s involvement in the museum’s insurance and recommended a defense of the city manager in the allegation of wrongdoing.
Inspector General Sean Connolly provided a supplemental report to the city dated Aug. 14 about the museum, which follows a previous report that made the same recommendations about Mudron’s role in an insurance policy for the Rialto Square Theater.
Mayor Bob O’Decrick, who oversees the inspector general, said Monday he believed Connolly had sent his recommendation to the state attorney general.
He also said the city council will likely discuss the matter with Mudron in closed or open session at its meeting next week.
Mudron is a partner in Mudron Kane Insurance, which manages both policies, although Mudron said he was not directly involved in securing coverage for the museum or the Rialto.
The report states that Mudron, as a partner in the firm, benefits from the insurance contracts.
“Even if Councilor Mudron was/was not directly involved in providing brokerage services to JAHM (Joliet Area Historical Museum), on behalf of Mudron Kane, this is still a conflict of interest and violates the Joliet Code of Ethics and Illinois law.” the report states.
The report notes that while the museum is not a unit of city government, it is a “component entity,” an accounting term that refers to entities that can have a financial impact on the city. The Rialto is also a constituent entity, although the city’s connection to the museum is closer, as they are partners in opening the former Joliet Correctional Center for tours and events.
Mudron said he is not concerned about a review by the attorney general.
“I’ve done nothing wrong,” he said Monday.
The museum’s policy was previously handled by Northern Illinois Insurance, which was owned by the late Jeff Thompson, Mudron said. Joe Kane with Mudron Kane currently handles the policy and Mudron Kane Insurance is trying to acquire it, “but it belongs to the estate of Jeff Thompson,” Mudron said.
Mudron, at a Rialto board meeting last week, said he considered the investigation into the insurance issues “just a political game” and that he had assurances from lawyers that he acted properly.
Mudron has at times been a political foe of Mayor Bob O’Dekirk and was the lone vote against hiring Connolly, who was approved by the council without any information about his background or the terms of his contract.
Connolly is a private attorney from Westmont who serves as the city’s inspector general when needed.
In his report on the museum matter, Connolly said he had been contacted by the city manager.
The report states that Caparelli provided “this information as a whistleblower in accordance with the State Whistleblower Act. Connolly recommends whistleblower protection for Capparelli.
Capparelli did not return a call for comment Monday.
Mudron was among a number of council members who clashed with the mayor over hiring a city manager before Capparelli got the job in January 2021 in a 5-3 vote. Mudron was among the dissenting votes, though he approved a one-year contract extension for Capparelli in December.