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Mautino under fire

Monday, Jan 25, 2016

* Illinois Leaks took a look at Auditor General Frank Mautino’s campaign finance reports from when he was a legislator and found something that at least on the surface looks pretty odd. Over an approximately ten-year period, then-Rep. Mautino spent over $200,000 on gas and (mostly) car repairs at the same gas station in his home town of Spring Valley

Mautino spent $213,338.31 on fuel and repairs for his campaign vehicle between March of 2005 and December 2015. Even more if you go back a few more years. His campaign itemized expenditure reporting indicates $20,914.20 of the $213 thousand was used specifically for gas purchases during that same time frame, all at the same gas station, Happy’s Super Service Station.

Using the very figures from his itemized expenditures covering ten years and nine months, Mautino’s expenditures average approximately $54.42 of campaign money every day during that time frame for gas and repairs to his campaign vehicle.

There’s a whole lot of hyperbole and speculation in the piece. And $21K over more than ten years on gas is about five bucks a day. But over $20K a year in car repairs?

So, I checked with Mautino, who said that it wasn’t just one car, but several which received repairs and gas.

They weren’t necessarily his cars, Mautino said, but were owned by people who did campaign work.

* But then there’s this

Out of 387 itemized entries in the time frame referenced, 35% of them were whole numbers. Most accountant’s would look at that as entries that deserve more attention. Having been a mechanic my whole life as well as an FAA licensed Air-frame & Power plant mechanic, I have seen my share of repair bills and let’s just say I have rarely seen any that were round numbers like those we see in the itemized listings. I found 137 such entries out of 387 since March of 2005. I would bet if every one of our readers were to go back and look at their own repair bills there would be fewer than 1% that could find one that was a perfectly round number.

For example:

    3/29/2005 – $1,200.00
    4/11/2005 – $300.00
    6/13/2005 – $1,500.00
    4/13/2007 – $1,200.00
    6/12/2007 – $1,200.00
    12/06/2007 -$1,500.00
    1/18/2008 – $1,100.00
    2/08/2008 – $1,000.00
    6/16/2008 – $3000.00
    11/10/2008 -$1,100.00
    9/11/2008 – $2,100.00
    12/16/2008 -$1,00.00
    2/26/2009 – $851.00
    3/24/2009 – $600.00
    5/08/2009 – $1500.00
    6/16/2009 – $800.00
    10/06/2009 – $1,000.00
    12/03/2009 – $925.00
    2/10/2010 – $1,500.00

Mautino said over the weekend that he was putting some info together, but I haven’t heard back. This is a small town shop, so maybe they were just sloppy.

I’ve known Frank Mautino since the day he got to town, and I don’t even want to think about the possibility that something might be hinky. But, he really should get in front of this sooner rather than later.

…Adding… Illinois Times

Susan Garrett, a former Democratic state senator and representative who now chairs the board of directors for the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, said that both an investigation and an explanation from Mautino is in order.

“I think there needs to be an investigation,” Garrett said. “I think that Mr. Mautino needs to explain to the public how his campaign funds have been spent. … He needs to explain this, especially because of his new position as auditor general of Illinois. The highest ethical standards are required to hold that position.”

It’s not clear who would conduct an investigation. The General Assembly is supposed to have an inspector general tasked with investigating allegations of wrongdoing by legislators, but that position has been vacant for more than a year.

“Unfortunately, there isn’t anybody who can conduct, as far as I know, right now, because of the vacancy, there’s nobody who can conduct the type of investigation that needs to be done,” Garrett said. “What can easily happen is, Mr. Mautino can come forward and answer some of these questions.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Mouthy - Monday, Jan 25, 16 @ 3:48 pm:

    I know numbers and bill paying and that just doesn’t look good..

  2. - A guy - Monday, Jan 25, 16 @ 3:52 pm:

    Those amounts do look goofy. At the same time, if the mechanic was providing service in advance and waiting for funds available to get paid, round numbers might make a little more sense on the reimbursement side. Not looking at hinky yet, but sloppy; yep.

  3. - Anon2U - Monday, Jan 25, 16 @ 3:53 pm:

    = I don’t even want to think about the possibility that something might be hinky=

    Auditor General Mautino might want to find himself a good lawyer. Looking at some of the articles on this Frank appears to be in some serious trouble.

  4. - NoGifts - Monday, Jan 25, 16 @ 3:56 pm:

    Check Benford’s Law
    Weird but interesting way to detect fraud. the first digit of a list of numbers is usually distributed like this:

    1 30.1%
    2 17.6%
    3 12.5%
    4 9.7%
    5 7.9%
    6 6.7%
    7 5.8%
    8 5.1%
    9 4.6%

  5. - Ducky LaMoore - Monday, Jan 25, 16 @ 3:59 pm:

    I use a local, small town mechanic for almost all of my work. 100% of my bills are in round numbers. It isn’t the most sophisticated system, but that is how it goes in a small town a lot of the time.

  6. - Politix - Monday, Jan 25, 16 @ 3:59 pm:


  7. - Anon2U - Monday, Jan 25, 16 @ 3:59 pm:

    “What can easily happen is, Mr. Mautino can come forward and answer some of these questions”

    That is some solid advice. Please remember Auditor General Mautino, the coverup is usually worse than the crime.

  8. - RNUG - Monday, Jan 25, 16 @ 4:02 pm:

    I agree the round numbers look a bit weird. However, the shop I’ve used for about 20 years will often round things off to the nearest dollar or even 5 or 10 dollars so I could see a few of the above entries as legit. But all those xx00.00 ones do at least raise an eyebrow …

  9. - Mama - Monday, Jan 25, 16 @ 4:04 pm:

    So far the numbers look bad, but the real question is why are they going after Frank Mautino now?

  10. - Rhino Slider - Monday, Jan 25, 16 @ 4:05 pm:

    Does Mautino need to resign if this is hinky?

  11. - Lincoln Lad - Monday, Jan 25, 16 @ 4:07 pm:

    Just tell the truth, it will come out. If you did nothing wrong, the truth shouldn’t be a problem. If you did misuse campaign funds, tell us and offer to step aside.

  12. - sal-says - Monday, Jan 25, 16 @ 4:07 pm:

    == I use a local, small town mechanic for almost all of my work. 100% of my bills are in round numbers. It isn’t the most sophisticated system, but that is how it goes in a small town a lot of the time. ==

    In a small town to. My garage always puts parts down as what they cost; no rounding.

  13. - Anon2U - Monday, Jan 25, 16 @ 4:09 pm:

    Rhino Slider,
    Is that a serious question? Do you want a hinky Auditor General? Jeez, what the h*** kind of state do we live in if that is acceptable?!!

  14. - Trolling Troll - Monday, Jan 25, 16 @ 4:19 pm:

    I don’t think Happy’s even had a cash register until they put in a convenience store a couple of years ago. I don’t think the even amounts should be a concern. However, I’d raise an eyebrow over the total amount.

  15. - Mouthy - Monday, Jan 25, 16 @ 4:20 pm:

    The shredding part of the story may end the story going forward. Truth won’t be known unless someone gets to see those invoices. At this point the big, round numbers just raise questions that may never get answered..

  16. - Demoralized - Monday, Jan 25, 16 @ 4:27 pm:

    The round numbers don’t bother me. This isn’t necessarily out of the ordinary for a small town. But, I agree that something looks funny here. Hopefully not.

  17. - Lincoln Lad - Monday, Jan 25, 16 @ 4:33 pm:

    $20,000 per year, for 10 years — for auto repairs. Frank Mautino should quickly explain. We are all anxious to hear.

  18. - Anon2U - Monday, Jan 25, 16 @ 4:44 pm:

    Just googled our fine Auditor General and the news out there ain’t good for him. In fact, it gets much worse. He better get his lawyer and press guy on speed dial.

  19. - Todd - Monday, Jan 25, 16 @ 4:44 pm:

    I’ve known Frank since he came to town. One of the most decent and caring guys in the GA.

    Andso they want to go digging around in his campaign fund why? sour grapes that he got the job? does the partisianship ever end?

    And we wonder why getting some decent people in to state government is so hard

  20. - DuPage - Monday, Jan 25, 16 @ 4:49 pm:

    Were these all cars or were there large vans, or converted school buses in the mix? Those burn a lot of gas.
    I have had some repairs at a small one man shop that were even numbers, I never thought about it.

  21. - Michael Westen - Monday, Jan 25, 16 @ 4:55 pm:

    I grew up in a small-town and lived across from the only mechanic in town. Not unusual for him to charge a set price for various repair jobs, especially for regular customers. The rounded prices are meaningless. I agree the large total amount is a much bigger red flag.

  22. - Anon2U - Monday, Jan 25, 16 @ 4:55 pm:

    $96,000 paid to Spring Valley Bank as loan payments but only a $26,000 loan disclosed on his campaign reports? Shredder or not banks keep records. There are serious issues here.

  23. - Chicago Cynic - Monday, Jan 25, 16 @ 5:00 pm:

    I like Frank and he’s always struck me as a very decent guy. I really hope there’s no there there, but this looks very fishy. Explanation and documentation required…very soon.

  24. - Anonymous - Monday, Jan 25, 16 @ 5:10 pm:

    In the absence of an existing alternative, our Attorney General would be very well suited to conduct such an investigation.

  25. - @MisterJayEm - Monday, Jan 25, 16 @ 5:15 pm:

    Mautino spent $213,338.31 on fuel and repairs for his campaign vehicle between March of 2005 and December 2015.

    That’s a pretty hefty bill.

    Was he remodeling his car to look like the one on Downton Abbey?

    – MrJM

  26. - cdog - Monday, Jan 25, 16 @ 5:20 pm:

    I smell smoke.

  27. - illii - Monday, Jan 25, 16 @ 5:46 pm:

    Hate to say this - but this does not look good! How can you explain this!

  28. - Rabid - Monday, Jan 25, 16 @ 6:28 pm:

    Don’t know but I always like to tip my mechanic by round up and paying forward to be put on the top of the list

  29. - Rabid - Monday, Jan 25, 16 @ 6:43 pm:

    Happy’s super service station sounds like it should be a medical marijuana outlet

  30. - Augie - Monday, Jan 25, 16 @ 7:43 pm:

    Not all that odd if he is paying monthly on a account that is set up there. I have charge accounts at my local gas station and grocery store and always pay in round numbers. I assume a explanation is coming.

  31. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Jan 25, 16 @ 8:07 pm:

    Susan Garrett and the wingnuts at Illinois Leaks should file a complaint at the Illinois State Board of Elections if they think there is some wrong-doing.

    I do not even see any smoke, let alone fire. Nearly every small time mechanic rounds down from the book price or up, depending on how much it was.

    Illinois Leaks is run by whack job conspiracy theorists 200 miles from Spring Valley. Mautino is right to ignore them. And Garrett. If someone has an actual complaint, they should file it with ISBE.

  32. - justacitizen - Monday, Jan 25, 16 @ 8:32 pm:

    I’m not saying this would not happen if IL required the auditor general to be a CPA or CIA; The ethics training and other requirements for those professions are stricter and worth the requirement imho.

  33. - cannon649 - Monday, Jan 25, 16 @ 8:38 pm:

    This is large red flag.
    Full audit is needed now.
    Happy’s I would guess will also be audited.

  34. - Anonymous - Monday, Jan 25, 16 @ 9:39 pm:

    This is a bizarre story, and based on the early reports it’s already raising additional questions for Frank.

  35. - Big Muddy - Monday, Jan 25, 16 @ 9:43 pm:

    Yellow Dog,
    If you don’t see something wrong with this you are part of the problem. It’s pretty obvious that there is fraud here. Mautino is in serious hot water here. Boiling hot.

  36. - Geez - Monday, Jan 25, 16 @ 10:31 pm:

    One of the problems with the 24 hour news cycle is the stores are printed before the subject has a chance to check their own records before they comment. I wouldn’t read into Frank’s silence. This story deals with records from as far back as 15 to 20 years and it appears he isn’t the one who filed them. Give the guy a chance to review and comment.

  37. - Six Degrees of Separation - Monday, Jan 25, 16 @ 10:58 pm:

    And here Frank was the one guy who almost all Democrats and Republicans thought was the best person for the job, and little controversy over the original appointment considering Illinois’ toxic political environment.

  38. - TS - Tuesday, Jan 26, 16 @ 6:26 am:

    I’ve had to deal with the dynamic duo at Illinois Leaks (they were the Edgar County Watchdogs when I interacted with them) previously. They live for finding controversy where it doesn’t exist. In one instance, they wanted a mayor I work with to resign because of a forced annexation that occurred. The owner of the property being involuntarily annexed called these guys and within days, they had concocted a story about how the mayor was evening some decades old score by the annexation. Truly bizarre stuff. I’m not a proponent of ad hominem attacks, but you really do need to consider the source here. Not saying it isn’t worth looking at, but everything looks bad if you use the wrong lighting.

  39. - Anon2U - Tuesday, Jan 26, 16 @ 7:30 am:

    See the front page of the Chicago Tribune this morning? These guys broke the College of DuPage story and now the IRS just came down on CoD. There is also a federal investigation going on at CoD. You may not like these guys but they have uncovered corruption before.

  40. - Nathan - Tuesday, Jan 26, 16 @ 8:02 am:

    Maybe “Happy” lets his gas and auto repair customers also charge their groceries and lotto tickets at his place while they are filling up their tank and lumps it (gas, groceries, repairs new tires, cherry slurpies) all together under one description and one bill described as gas? Why did this Madigan hack get any votes from House and Senate Republicans? Only 10 GOP House members and one GOP Senator bothered to vote “no” to Madigan’s pick Mautino? Rauner should lead the charge to get rid of Jim Durkin as House Rhino.

  41. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jan 26, 16 @ 8:15 am:

    ===Rauner should lead the charge to get rid of Jim Durkin as House Rhino.===

    If you are going to go full-Rhino, learn that it’s not spelled “rhino”, lol

    Litmus tests never gro parties, but I bet you felt swell typing that, so good for you!

  42. - Colin O'Scopey - Tuesday, Jan 26, 16 @ 8:25 am:

    Rhino=Republican House (Leader) in Name Only perhaps?

  43. - Anon2U - Tuesday, Jan 26, 16 @ 8:39 am:

    Funny how OW chimes in on RINO calling but whistles past the graveyard on probable corruption of a democrat.

  44. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jan 26, 16 @ 8:48 am:

    ===…whistles past the graveyard on probable corruption of a democrat.===


    No innocent until proven?

    I like to wait until I know. You like to hang then have a trial?

    Probable isn’t waiting for facts. Not the best way to be seen.

    I’m also tired of Slytherins whenever and wherever they appear trying to destroy growth, especially with the ridiculous “rhino”

  45. - Birdseed - Tuesday, Jan 26, 16 @ 8:56 am:

    === - Anon2U - Tuesday, Jan 26, 16 @ 8:39 am:

    Funny how OW chimes in on RINO calling but whistles past the graveyard on probable corruption of a democrat. ===

    Meh. I thought it was funnier that he misspelled “grow” as he tripped over himself to point out a spelling error.

  46. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jan 26, 16 @ 9:00 am:

    ===Meh. I thought it was funnier that he misspelled “grow” as he tripped over himself to point out a spelling error.===

    Yeah, I thought about that after seeing my typing error and the irony of my accidental typing error vs. someone purposely misspelling a dog whistle word made me laugh even more.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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