Township settles with former supervisor
FARMER CITY — The Blue Ridge Township Board has settled with a former township supervisor it had taken to court for allegedly failing to submit payroll taxes on time for more than seven years.
Township officials also claim Sandra Manuel — who served as supervisor from 2005 until resigning in September of 2012 — did not file state and federal taxes by statutory deadlines, resulting in penalties of about $80,000.
In a statement, the board said it had reached a $40,000 settlement with Manuel and the Township Officials of Illinois Risk Management Association.
"While the Blue Ridge Township Board felt that it had good legal arguments and supporting evidence in its recoupment claims against Sandra Manuel, the township board needed to consider whether or not a large judgment against Sandra Manuel was collectible," said the statement issued the board.
It also said the possibility of court appeals made the idea of a settlement more palatable to the board.
"In weighing all litigation risks and rewards and the known fact that continuing litigation would require additional payments from township funds, the Blue Ridge Township Board unanimously concluded that money not spent in future litigation costs would be better spent for other needs of Blue Ridge Township," the statement continued.
In court documents, the township said it had spent $80,250 on federal and state penalties and interest on late filings and payments; about $36,000 in accounting fees and $1,152 to take care of other late bills.
The township filed suit against Manuel in August 2012, asking for her to be removed from office and seeking monetary damages. TOIRMA was also named in the suit, since it is the agency that had backed Manuel's $635,000 bond as supervisor.
A trial court had previously found that township code did not provide for multiple penalties for multiple incidents on Manuel's part.
The township statement acknowledges that Manuel still "denies the allegations of wrongdoing that have been made against her, and asserts that she has entered into the settlement agreement because of the substantial costs associated with continued litigation."
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story listed the wrong title for Manuel.