Council votes to cooperate with Attorney General’s investigation of CARE funds


Rebecca Savransky/Daily Senior Staffer

Ald. Delores Holmes (5th) presided over the City Council meeting Monday in Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl’s absence.

Sophia Bollag, Assistant Summer Editor

Aldermen voted Monday to cooperate with the Illinois Attorney General’s investigation into funds raised by the Community Animal Rescue Effort while it was operating out of the Evanston Animal Shelter.

Although the city terminated its relationship with the animal rescue organization in April, CARE still has control of funds some residents say it raised for the purpose of renovating the Evanston Animal Shelter and should be given to the city.

City manager Wally Bobkiewicz said that although representatives from CARE initially seemed willing to discuss the issue with the city, representatives have since stopped being responsive.

Bobkiewicz described cooperating with the Attorney General’s office as the best course of action the council could take.

“CARE is not interested in a meaningful dialogue on these issues,” Bobkiewicz told aldermen at the City Council meeting Monday.

The Illinois Attorney General’s office has already begun to look into the issue of CARE’s finances, according to a May 22 letter from the office that Bobkiewicz presented to the aldermen in his update on the situation Monday.

Bobkiewicz said he did not recommend the city pursue legal action against CARE to obtain the funds.

Ald. Don Wilson (4th) agreed, saying the city could not act beyond cooperating with the Attorney General’s investigation because the money in question was given to CARE by individual donors and not by the city.

“CARE didn’t take money from the city of Evanston, so the city of Evanston can’t get it back because we never gave it to them,” Wilson said. “I don’t see how we could reasonably pursue any other course than cooperating with the ongoing investigation.”

Several residents said during the meeting that they believe the money should stay in Evanston because it was raised for the shelter.

“If the city doesn’t fight for the donors’ money now, how do you expect people to donate money in the future?” said Karen Straus, an Evanston resident and longtime shelter volunteer.

Ald. Ann Rainey (8th) said she thought the controversy over the situation was getting overblown.

“We should just drop this,” she said. “I have no doubt in my mind that any money that CARE raised … is going to help animals, and I just think, ‘God, can’t we just move on?’”

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