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Dispute over Peoria County Auditor's Office escalates to the courts

Jessica Thomas.jpg
Tim Shelley
Peoria County Auditor Jessica Thomas at an October 2021 Peoria County Board meeting.

Peoria County Auditor Jessica Thomas is suing county government and several elected officials in an escalation of the ongoing dispute over her office's powers and staffing levels.

Thomas filed suit in Peoria County Circuit Court last week, alleging the county is interfering with her statutory powers. She's asking for a judge to restore those powers, and the staff members the county board voted to cut from next year's budget in October.

The mandamus suit is against Peoria County, county board chairman Andrew Rand, vice chairman Jim Fennell, and state's attorney Jodi Hoos, in their official capacities.

Thomas also is requesting a special prosecutor appointment for her own representation, attorney Katherine Swise. Thomas claims the comments made by Hoos at the October county board meeting alleging Thomas' mismanagement reflects her bias in the case.

The county referred comment requests on the lawsuit to Hoos, who declined to comment. Hoos said she hasn't been served with the complaint yet.

A initial Dec. 10 court date is currently set, with a case management conference slated for April 2022.

Jessica Thomas is a member of the WCBU Community Advisory Board.

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