This is a story of a Village, or maybe an attorney, who appears to have tried to take the easy way out of a problem by allegedly filing false paperwork with the McLean County Recorder’s Office.
Thanks to local Bloomington, IL. investigative journalist Diane Benjamin, of BLNNEWS.com, this information is now in ripe for publication:
After reading several sets of Village of Standford meeting minutes, there appears (several years after the temporary easement) to be a push to provide village services to an inconveniently located piece of property for the owner’s development.
Back in 2010, the village needed a place to drain storm water to and chose a piece of real estate situated in the right area for their needs, with the property owner willing to allow a “temporary easement” for the village to construct their runoff and reseed the grass when work was complete.
In this process, the meeting minutes of October 21, 2010, reflect discussion of “temporary easements” for drainage purposes. In item number 7, this temporary easement was discussed by Tony Zwanzig and Minnie Atkins, who was advised by the board that the village’s attorney would prepare the “temporary easement” agreement for her to review and possibly sign.
The Veselak Temporary Easement
On July 30, 2010, the Veselaks signed a document entitled “TEMPORARY EASEMENT” – not only is that the name at the top of the document, but it is also part of the file name of the document on the attorney’s server: “veselak temp storm drainage easement.doc”
The Temporary Easement title was referenced in the document several times in its header, paragraph titles and within paragraphs. However, in the last sentence of Paragraph H, there is mention of it being “permanent, perpetual, and shall run with the land.”
But in the very next paragraph entitled “DURATION OF EASEMENT” it clearly lists a termination date “the Easement shall terminate on 31 day of October 2010.”
No problem, the “temporary easement” was signed by the real estate owners, and later signed by the village representative (McGrath) on December 9, 2010, for the Transfer Tax Stamp statement.
Everything goes smooth…for about five years.
McGrath Law Office Filed “Scrivener’s Error” Document Five Years Later
More than 5 years later, when the village wants to use the real estate again, the Village of Standford’s Attorney, Mr. Mark J. McGrath from McGrath Law Offices of Mackinaw, Illinois, file a document sworn to under oath as true and correct, using his position as Attorney-at-Law to apparently file a document capable of defrauding the real estate owners of their rights, obligation, and powers as property owners, which were altered, created, transferred, or terminated (click for Illinois Criminal Code’s definition of Forgery).
By it’s very definition, a Scrivener’s Error is an inadvertent error, as in transposed numbers, misspelling, etc. – The Doctrine of Scrivener’s Error says that if the error effects property rights, it must be approved by those affected by it (no citation).