(A note from the publisher "This is a prepared statement provided to the Newton Press-Mentor by Mr. Jed Ernest.”)
1. My attorney has been before Judge Gilbert many times and has a lot of respect for him.
2. Although the School District states the decision was dismissed "with prejudice" and it is over. That is what the ruling means except in The Federal Judicial System I have 30 days to exercise the right to appeal to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. They will review a grant of summary judgement “de novo” meaning the Seventh Circuit "starts from scratch". I am going to take at least a week off to relax before even thinking about making that decision.
In the Federal Court there many Federal Rules of Procedure which should be followed. The first is the assigning of a Magistrate Judge. The Magistrate Judge keeps the process on schedule. Early in the process the Plaintiff must make a settlement offer. The Magistrate Judge duties is to make sure this happens. Which we made a settlement offer early on. Here is that offer:
Admission of guilt.
(This basically took place in the DEFENDANTS’ MEMORANDUM OF LAW IN SUPPORT OF THEIR RULE 12(B)(6) MOTION TO DISMISS PLAINTIFF’S COMPLAINT) School District’s attorney states on page 6: “holding that a superintendent, principal, and business manager lacked final policymaking authority. And the statutory duties of the Board President clearly do not allow him/her to make policy decisions for the School District. (footnote 1: Under Illinois law, Bboards of education can only act as a whole in public, open session. 5 ILCS 120/2(e); see also 105 ILCS 5/10-16.5 (the statutorily prescribed board member oath of office states: “I shall recognize that a board member has no legal authority as an individual and that decisions can be made only by a majority vote at a public board meeting[.]”)).
Jon Fulton, Melissa Stanley and Marilyn Holt had no authority to go to the Office of the Superintendent of the Regional Office of Education, Monte Newlin requesting the removal of Board Member Jed Earnest January 9, 2017 two days prior to filing Jon Fulton’s sister-in-law’s complaint against Jed Earnest on January 11, 2017. (An action the defense tried hard to hide from the Plaintiff throughout this trial in violation of Federal Rules of Discovery which would have came out in the final trial if we had gotten that far.)
Public apology and removal of Censure. (This never happened and never will (Censure could be removed by election).
Restore full status of a board member.
My attorney expenses at that time (set at $25,000, but well under at that particular time.)
The final and major stumbling block for Superintendent, President and Defendants: A Forensic Audit of the books of the School District for the past seven years.
The Defendants supposedly spent over a $100,000 to avoid this last settlement demand. WHY?
This would include all activity accounts (including more than one controlled by Jason Fulton, Jackie Schackmann and others.)
Even with the Judge Gilbert’s ruling (which is simply my constitutional rights were not violated) and if I am reelected to the board or not, through this process and acquaintances made, I can accomplish what I need to do to open the books of this school district without a favorable decision in this law suit. Again, I will take a week or so to decide if I will appeal or not.
3. My final take from the "Memorandum and Judgement" is on page 16, bullet point IV, MOTION FOR SANCTIONS. This deals with Jason Fulton's (roughly 44 years of age) intimidation of witness Andy Pullen (approximately 81 years of age) and his wife Mary Pullen (approximately 78 years of age) in the bowling alley dining room. Judge Gilbert ruled "There is no evidence suggesting any "DEFENDENT" had any responsibility or culpability for the witness's conduct, even if the witness did everything Earnest alleges. No evidence suggests any DEFENDANT directed the witness to behave as he did or, indeed, had any control whatsoever over that witness's conduct." Although Judge Gilbert relieved the defendants of any responsibility in the incident, he certainly stopped short of relieving Jason Fulton of any responsibility. Any criminal investigation is by the F.B.I. We are in full cooperation. I look forward to an F.B.I. criminal investigation, that is what got us to this point anyway when Michele Fulton sent her first email to Marilyn Holt in October 2015. Thank you for helping us get here, Jason Fulton.
4. One of the best things to come from Andrew Johnson and the School Board’s action has brought awareness to the problem elected officials’ in the State of Illinois being denied access to Public Records of the entity they are elected to serve. There is now possible legislation to deal with this issue. This goes on more than you think. Elected officials should not have to go to Federal Court to receive financial information to do their elected job. I have gotten support from all over the State from the largest school district in the state, to some of the smallest. This case has been watched. A change in legislation would make all the difference in the world. So would criminal verdicts.
Thanks to everyone that has given me moral and financial support.
Jed Earnest, can be reached at (618) 553-5520 or firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or comments. (Please no anonymous)