More trouble at DNR
Friday, Feb 21, 2014 - Posted by Rich Miller
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.