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More trouble at DNR

Friday, Feb 21, 2014

* Uh-oh

A state mine safety officer running for the Illinois House is on unpaid leave from his job after revelations arose that he accepted coal company contributions.

Tony Mayville, of Du Bois, went on unpaid leave Feb. 10 from his position as supervisor of mine safety enforcement at the state’s Office of Mines and Minerals, spokesperson Chris McCloud said Thursday.

The Mines and Minerals Office is a branch of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

The move came after IDNR Director Marc Miller became aware of possible misconduct and initiated disciplinary actions against Mayville, McCloud said. The matter has been referred to the Office of the Executive Inspector General.

“The (IDNR) has zero tolerance for misconduct. After learning that Mr. Mayville may have violated agency policy, we immediately launched an investigation,” the state agency said in a written response.

* Will Reynolds first broke the story earlier this month

Tony Mayville is a candidate for State Representative in southern Illinois and Chairman of the Washington County Democratic Party. He has also supervised the Mine Safety division and served as acting director of Mines & Minerals at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Over several years, including time while Mayville was responsible for regulating Illinois coal mines, he collected thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from companies owned by billionaire coal mine operator Chris Cline. In November 2013 a fatal accident occurred at a coal mine owned by Chris Cline and regulated by Tony Mayville.

Mayville chairs the political fund of the Washington County Democratic Party Central Committee. Their campaign finance reports show the committee raising thousands of dollars from multiple companies owned by the Cline Group at least since 2008 through 2013.

Several contributions were from Cline subsidiary Hillsboro Energy. They gave Mayville’s Washington County Democratic fund $1,000 in 2008, $500 in 2010, and another $1,000 in 2011. During that time, the company was seeking a permit from the Department of Natural Resources for the Deer Run longwall mine. Mayville was already collecting coal industry campaign contributions when Governor Pat Quinn made him acting director of the Office of Mines and Minerals, where he would oversee the mine permitting process.

Similarly, Mayville’s Washington county committee took $500 from Macoupin Energy LLC, another Cline subsidiary seeking a new mine permit.

More recently, Cline-owned Foresight Energy donated $1,000 in 2012 to the party committee, and another $2,000 to Mayville’s state representative campaign fund in March of 2013. Foresight Energy’s donation to Mayville’s campaign attracted negative attention, so last week his campaign sent a letter to the state board of elections claiming it was accepted by accident. He transferred the contribution to the Washington county party committee he chairs. The distinction may be legally significant, but regardless of which of his committees he used, Mayville accepted campaign contributions from coal mine owners while overseeing mine safety at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

* From the Illinois Times

Andy Boner, Mayville’s campaign manager in his bid for state representative, said he could not discuss the situation because of ongoing legal matters. Gov. Pat Quinn and Foresight Energy could not be reached for comment.

Jim Tenuto, spokesman for the Illinois State Board of Elections, says a state law on official misconduct may make the contributions a criminal act, though that’s up to a state’s attorney or the attorney general to decide. Under the state law, if Mayville solicited the contributions, it would be a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in prison and a $2,500 fine.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


29 Comments
  1. - Dont' get bosty - Friday, Feb 21, 14 @ 11:05 am:

    Bost seat. He’s got a Dem opponent in the primary who I imagine Madigan will now be all in on. Not in the area, but I imagine without Bost this is a target?


  2. - train111 - Friday, Feb 21, 14 @ 11:11 am:

    Madigan is already all in for Bill Killquist Mayville’s opponent in the Dem primary. He’s spent big bucks here already.


  3. - Pat C - Friday, Feb 21, 14 @ 11:13 am:

    On what planet could anyone think that taking campaign money from someone you regulate is not shady?


  4. - Nonplussed - Friday, Feb 21, 14 @ 11:22 am:

    Pat C: You’re right. Mayville acted like he was already in the GA


  5. - wordslinger - Friday, Feb 21, 14 @ 11:33 am:

    Heckuva a story by Reynolds. Maysville actions are brazen — and cheap.


  6. - Walker - Friday, Feb 21, 14 @ 11:35 am:

    ===The matter has been referred to the office of the Executive Inspector General.===

    Better than a Director-hired “independent” investigator.


  7. - FISHING - Friday, Feb 21, 14 @ 11:37 am:

    I guess the only thing that could be worse is a Department head in Fishing tournaments on Medical leave. Man come on, who is piloting the ship at IDNR. Maybe the Director needs to step down!


  8. - Friedman - Friday, Feb 21, 14 @ 11:37 am:

    Killquist is a shoo in anyway. He has name recognition that puts him ahead.
    As far as Pat C’s comment on taking campaign money, perhaps he thinks he lives in Illinois?


  9. - yo - Friday, Feb 21, 14 @ 11:38 am:

    LOL, Nonplussed. Post of the decade right there.


  10. - RNUG - Friday, Feb 21, 14 @ 11:46 am:

    Saw the story yesterday and just shook my head at it.


  11. - John A Logan - Friday, Feb 21, 14 @ 11:49 am:

    The only reason the 115th is even marginally in play is that it was redrawn to lean more republican. Portions of Carbondale that were previously in the 115th were cut into Forby and Phelps districts to bolster democratic numbers in the 118th and 59th senate districts. I still think Kilquist is the favorite, but its not a sure thing for the former Sheriff.


  12. - Frosty-The Snowman - Friday, Feb 21, 14 @ 11:49 am:

    This would seem to confirm one of the many criticisms expressed by Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner. Political campaign contributions influence way too many of the politicians and state government workers in Springfield. The perception is that it appears to buy “a friend in the factory” for many of those making such campaign donations. I mention this because it illustrates how Rauner quickly learned that “perception is everything in politics”. While the cat (Pat Quinn) is busy mugging for the cameras, the mice are ignored and left to run wild. Instead of the captain of our ship of state being steered by a loveable and well-meaning but inept PR guy, Illinois would be much better served by an intelligent qualified “hands on” captain who actually knows how to plot a course and navigate our Illinois ship.


  13. - Irish - Friday, Feb 21, 14 @ 12:18 pm:

    Frosty @11:49 am - Yeah a captain who would have a wife to take the fall for the insider, pay to play stuff.


  14. - Just Observing - Friday, Feb 21, 14 @ 12:21 pm:

    === Illinois would be much better served by an intelligent qualified “hands on” captain who actually knows how to plot a course and navigate our Illinois ship. ===

    Let me know when that guy or gal runs.


  15. - wordslinger - Friday, Feb 21, 14 @ 12:24 pm:

    === Illinois would be much better served by an intelligent qualified “hands on” captain who actually knows how to plot a course and navigate our Illinois ship. ===

    Are you talking about the guy who doesn’t know what’s going on in his businesses, who works for him or how his kid got into an exclusive prep school?


  16. - CollegeStudent - Friday, Feb 21, 14 @ 12:25 pm:

    Ummm….Raunerbot.

    Your boss kind of pledged to use campaign contributions and his wallet to manipulate Republican legislators if elected governor.


  17. - OneMan - Friday, Feb 21, 14 @ 12:36 pm:

    Ummm…CollegeStudent

    You can say the leadership and party PACs on the Dem side work to manipulate as well..


  18. - Sir Reel - Friday, Feb 21, 14 @ 12:40 pm:

    Mayville was appointed by Blago and remained under Quinn because he’s the Washington County Democratic Chairman. He’s had a lackluster career at DNR. Other than his Democratic credentials he has no real qualifications. He was Director of the Office over State Parks with zero experience and no college degree - typical of many senior managers at DNR under Blago and Quinn.

    This latest escapade is noteworthy but he’s been a problem for years.

    Director Miller has no control over these political appointees. It’s the Governor.

    The people of Illinois deserve better than his type running State government.


  19. - CollegeStudent - Friday, Feb 21, 14 @ 12:43 pm:

    ===Ummm…CollegeStudent

    You can say the leadership and party PACs on the Dem side work to manipulate as well.. ===

    Yes, but they aren’t ostensibly running on a platform of “change Illinois politics” now are they?


  20. - OneMan - Friday, Feb 21, 14 @ 1:02 pm:

    == Yes, but they aren’t ostensibly running on a platform of “change Illinois politics” now are they? ==
    That’s true and we see how well the current system is working..


  21. - LincolnLounger - Friday, Feb 21, 14 @ 1:22 pm:

    Why Quinn didn’t clean house of the Blago crew and install his own troops has always been a mystery to me. Of course, when you appoint directors that were convicted of stealing money from their clients . . . . Never mind.


  22. - Anonymous - Friday, Feb 21, 14 @ 2:08 pm:

    Famous quote by Mayville. Pat Quinn had a rally at DNR when he took over for Blagojevich. Many attending the rally notice all the same faces. Someone yelled out “Hey Mayville what are you doing up there. You’re Blagojevich’s lapdog”? Tony came right back ” A jockey can ride 2 horses”. It was funny.


  23. - Anyone Remember - Friday, Feb 21, 14 @ 2:09 pm:

    LincolnLounger

    As has been noted here in the past by others, including Rich, many of the “Blago” people were actually appointed as a favor to a Representative / Senator / interest group who are still around. IF Quinn tries to remove them (and this happened more than once in 2009), the “sponsor(s)” go crazy.


  24. - VanillaMan - Friday, Feb 21, 14 @ 2:41 pm:

    Amateur hour


  25. - Leave a Light on George - Friday, Feb 21, 14 @ 3:58 pm:

    Gives you a lot of confidence in DNR regulating fracking doesn’t it?


  26. - kathryn - Friday, Feb 21, 14 @ 4:24 pm:

    “DNR has zero intolerance for misconduct” LOL!! didn’t we just read about the DNR Deputy Director using sick time to go fishing for 44 days.Another Quinn appointee bites the dust.


  27. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Feb 21, 14 @ 4:35 pm:

    I wonder who the last person to be prosecuted under these laws was?

    Is this the product of the first “bad apple” in a while?

    Or this particular “bad apple” running against Madigan’s preferred candidate?


  28. - shawneewatch - Friday, Feb 21, 14 @ 4:48 pm:

    Did he not also cheat on his taxes for 7 years….

    when asked about taxes in the Daily Egyptian the said

    Mayville said the state should change the way it collects income tax.

    “If everybody paid their fair share, then everybody’s taxes might not be as much as right now,” he said. “But too many people have loopholes and ways to get around paying the taxes that they owe. I think the whole thing needs a good revamp.”

    just saying what a winner


  29. - Just The Way It Is One - Friday, Feb 21, 14 @ 4:54 pm:

    After the fiasco with the “Sick (and Well-Paid) Fisherman Deputy,” coming to light recently, it looks like Miller’s not going to be messin’ around with any more NONsense in his Dept., under his watch, ALso given how this IS an Election Year, and assuming Pat Quinn’s Blue State pulls together a re-election come Fall, Marc (DiRECtor) Miller’s gonna want to be keeping that cush, highly-compensated Public Service gig at DNR he’s got himSELF for at least 4 more years…!


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