Former senator sues SA in open meeting case


Leon Kincaid, former Student Association senator, speaks during a Veterans’ Day ceremony on Nov. 11, 2014, at the flagpole southeast of Altgeld Hall.

By Leah Nicolini

Leon Kincaid, former Student Association senator, filed a complaint Friday suing the SA Senate up to $5,000 for “intentional” violation of the Illinois Open Meetings Act. The Student Association has not received a copy of the complaint as of Sunday.

The Senate is responsible for determining how the SA’s $6.5 million budget is allocated, which is used to provide student services, including the Huskie Line, Campus Recreation and more.

On Nov. 22, SA Senate held a nine-hour closed meeting to vote on eight charges against SA Vice President Reggie Bates. Bates was found guilty of two charges but remained in office after being exonerated, according to a Dec. 3 Northern Star article.

“Once SA is accountable to the Open Meetings Act, they will always have open meetings within a reasonable time frame and post the agenda in advance,” Kincaid said. “I wanted to ensure bylaws are updated correctly too because the lack of transparency is affecting the actions of the government.”

A closed meeting is a meeting which the public cannot attend. Sergeant-at-Arms Timothy Brandner said the Senate did not breech the Open Meetings Act because the SA is not a public body.

“[SA] Senate has justified its violation of the [Open Meetings Act] by alleging that it is not a public body,” the complaint reads. “These violations are likely to be ongoing unless the [SA] Senate is forced to comply with the [act].”

In addition to the request of up to $5,000 in civil penalty fees, Kincaid is requesting the court declare SA Senate a public body subject to the act, order the Senate to comply with the act, award Kincaid reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs and award other reliefs the court deems appropriate, according to the complaint.

Kincaid’s complaint cites a Nov. 23 Northern Star editorial, which states the closed meeting shows a lack of transparency.

Kincaid attended the SA Senate meeting Sunday where he told the attendees during public comment that he is suing the SA. He was escorted out of the meeting by Brandner.

“The Senate does not feel comfortable having any individual present who is threatening, alleging or currently suing the SA without our legal counsel being present at the same time as that individual,” Brandner said.

SA Senate Speaker Dillon Domke, on behalf of the Senate, declined a request to comment.