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A computer forensics report presented Wednesday to the Iroquois County Board alleges that key employees of the former Ford-Iroquois Public Health Department misused taxpayer money and used their computers extensively for private purposes, including pornography.

The report was presented by Andrew R. Garrett, of Garrett Discovery Inc., a firm "specializing in digital investigations and computer forensics." He said the investigation was done at the request of Iroquois County Board Chairman Rod Copas at no cost to the county. The report is the type "used to make a recommendation and is not indicative of a forensic report produced for court," the document states.

It was presented at Copas' last meeting and the first one to be audio and video recorded for replay on the county's website.

Copas, whose own investigations brought the dismantling of the two-county health department after 33 years, said: "For those who said nothing was wrong, hopefully your eyes will be opened."

The investigation examined hard drives of computers used by four top employees, plus their email and Internet use, looking "for evidence of waste, fraud and/or abuse."

One of the four, Carey Hagen, former financial coordinator and 23-year employee, indicated in a telephone interview Wednesday evening that some conclusions are in error and might have been easily cleared up.

For her, Garrett reported "use of county credit card to purchase gifts for others immediately prior to the Christmas holiday."

Hagen reported that yes, she charged Christmas gifts to a department credit card — but not for her own giving, rather for the purchase by the department of gifts for employees and service people including cleaners, trash haulers and delivery people. Also, she said, for gifts to administrators, past administrators and advisory committee members — gifts that were paid for by donations from staff members.

For Julie Clark, former public information officer for the department, Garrett found "emails to change public health procurement policies to enable her and her husband (Stanley) to bid on work under a different corporation, "Day and Night Solar, and billed under their own company for the work." Stanley Clark's firm received a $123,000 contract to install solar energy systems on health department buildings at Watseka and Paxton.

Garrett also said Clark "loaned money to a private entity using county funds to establish a new business" and created a foundation that used health department assets, including cash.

For Doug Corbett, former health department administrator, the report said his emails "show the creation of a foundation and selected board and used health department assets including cash." It said Corbett "loaned money to a private entity with a promissory note to the county without communicating the information via email to the board." It revealed "inappropriate contracting with sealed bids."

The report also stated that Corbett used his computer for inappropriate downloading of hundreds of pornographic files, plus "excessive use" of sports sites.

"Based on the evidence we reviewed, it appears as if Clark, Hagen and Corbett were using the government-owned computers for personal use and gain and possibly illegal and unethical activities," Garrett stated.

For Mary Cahoe, home health director, the report stated that she "was establishing a home health business in Indiana, using her government computer and using government funds."

The dismantling of the health department was triggered by Copas' discovery of its plans to expand home health care service into Indiana, contrary to its Illinois charter limiting its operations to Ford and Iroquois counties.

The Daily Journal was unable to find phone numbers for Clark and Corbett. An attempt to reach Cahoe by phone was unsuccessful.

The audit also indicates Clark spent as much as 70 percent of her health department computer time organizing church and Kiwanis Club activity, doing political campaign functions for the mayor of Maryville, Ill., where she lived, near St. Louis. She also is alleged to have planned wedding and baby showers for many individuals, including booking hotels, sending invitations, dress shopping and photography.

It reports that Hagen used her office computer to conduct more than 22,000 searchers to shopping, dating and Facebook sites. The report doesn't cite any time frame for that.

Hagen said it is true that she made many personal searches on her office computer, but that she was not a 9-to-5 employee. "I was a salaried employee for 23 years and I always got my work done," she said.

The department had about 40 employees, sometimes more, she said. "What I would like to know is why only four computers were looked at and not the other 36."

Iroquois County State's Attorney Jim Devine spoke with Garrett at length following Tuesday's meeting. Afterward, he told The Daily Journal: "I don't have anything tangible to review. ... But I definitely want to evaluate it to see what we might find, if anything, that is actionable."

Information about the solar contract bidding process was presented to the Illinois Attorney General's office in 2013, but it declined to take any action.

Garrett's report recommends establishing a policy for use of computers and possible immediate termination for violation of it.