Illinois AG Raoul: Wheaton historical society illegally transferred 300K to board member

WHEATON, Ill. (WLS) -- Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul has filed a lawsuit against a historical group in west suburban Wheaton.

The lawsuit alleges the Wheaton Historical Preservation Council illegally transferred more than $300,000 to a board member.

Attorney General Raoul also said the council continued to fundraise even after its museum closed in 2017 and that it failed to register with the attorney general's office.

"The defendants allegedly took advantage of people who donated to the Wheaton Historical Preservation Council believing their donations would support the preservation of their community's history," Raoul said. "I filed this lawsuit to ensure that board members are held accountable, and my office will continue to hold individuals accountable for using charitable funds for their own benefit."

ABC7 has reached out to the board members for a response.

The city of Wheaton has issued a statement saying, "The City of Wheaton has recently learned that the Illinois Attorney General's Office has filed a lawsuit against the Wheaton Historic Preservation Council and its officers. The Wheaton Historic Preservation Council is a private organization that is independent from the City of Wheaton, and the
organization is subject to various specialized tax, trust and museum laws. The officers of its board are not now and have never been employees or agents of the City.

The City does not have a legal responsibility to investigate the activities of the Preservation Council or its officers regarding the laws that govern its activities, and the City draws no conclusions regarding the litigation allegations.

"The lawsuit recently filed by the Attorney General's office for an accounting against the Preservation Council and its officers does not include the City as a party because there is no legal or factual basis to do so. The agencies currently involved in the litigation and investigations of the Preservation Council are legally enabled and competent to perform those functions. If requested, the City will cooperate fully with the investigation. Otherwise, the City will follow those investigations and their results as any citizen of the City may also do
."
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