UPDATE: The Rock Island County State’s Attorney’s Office on Thursday issued a statement about the Silvis City Council:

“Our office was contacted late last week to investigate potential retaliation by a public official,” the statement says. “We are still in the early stages of gathering information related to the allegations to determine whether further action from our office is warranted under Illinois’ whistleblower laws. We are very hesitant to intervene in the business of other governmental bodies, and will only do so if the evidence and facts arise to such a degree where it is warranted.”

EARLIER: The saga of the Silvis City Council has moved from City Hall to a courtroom.

The City of Silvis, Mayor Matt Carter and City Clerk Amy Malmstrom filed suit this morning in the Circuit Court of the 14th Judicial Circuit for Rock Island County against Allison Wright and Pappas Wright, PC. In a copy of the filing obtained by Local 4 News, the suit alleges in a first count:

  • “Defendant Wright is not, and never was, an officer or employee of the City of Silvis, nor has Defendant Pappas Wright, P.C.”
  • “The City is entitled to the audio tape of the February 7, 2023 audio recording (“the audio tape”). The recording is a public record of the City. The City is required to comply with the Open Meetings Act.”
  • “Due to Defendant Wright’s refusal to provide the audio tape to the City Clerk, the Mayor, the City or the City Attorney, the City Attorneys were unable to evaluate the tape to determine whether it should have been produced to the watchdog group that requested it under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) in accordance with the timeline required under the FOIA.”
  • “There is no lawful basis for Ms. Wright to withhold the audio tape from the City, especially as it appears that the February 7th, 2023 closed session was not held in accordance with the Open Meetings Act.”
  • “The City requires the immediate return of the audio tape to determine if it must be produced under the Freedom of Information Act, or whether there is a lawful basis to exclude it from production. Either way, the City Attorneys need to evaluate the audio tape and they cannot do that while it is not in the City’s possession.”
  • “Likewise, Defendant Wright is in possession of numerous legal files for pending labor matters.”
  • “The City Clerk is required to prepare the minutes of the February 8, 2023 closed session meeting pursuant to 65 ILCS 5/3.1-35-90 and requires the audio tape to prepare them.”
  • “The City requires the legal files to be returned immediately so that the City Attorneys can represent the City in such matters.”
  • “Upon information and belief, Defendant Wright and or her law firm have other City records in their possession which should be returned immediately to the City.”

The suit asks the court for an order of mandatory injunction compelling the Defendants to transfer any records belonging to the City of Silvis in their possession to the city immediately.

In a second count, the suit alleges:

  • “Upon information and belief, after Mayor Carter’s termination of their relationship with the City of Silvis, the Defendants have continued to are continuing to perform legal work for the City by advising the City Administrator and Alderpersons regarding the City’s legal work.”
  • “The Silvis City Code provides that the City’s legal work is performed by the City Attorneys.”
  • “The City will suffer immediate, irreparable harm in the event that several attorneys and law firms are providing the Alderpersons with different advice and information regarding the City’s legal work.”
  • “The Defendants have no right to continue to advise the City, its officers or employees regarding the City’s legal work.”

The suit asks for an order directing Wright and Pappas Wright P.C. to discontinue performing any legal work for the City or providing legal advice to the City Administrator, any City employees or officers regarding City legal affairs.

Mayor Carter has canceled this evening’s special meeting of the city council scheduled for 6 p.m.

When contacted by Local 4 News, Allison Wright denied anything was withheld and said the audio recording has been turned over to an unnamed City Council member.

In a statement earlier this week, Mayor Carter said, “they illegally voted to exclude me from the meeting. The City Council then placed the recording of the closed meeting in the hands of this labor employment attorney – not the Clerk who is the one who holds City records such as closed meeting recordings.”   

Wright responded, “I take deep offense personally and professionally. Those allegations are entirely false and the Mayor knows so.” She says the Mayor and Clerk left the closed session without objection and went on to say the closed session involved allegations against the Mayor and City Clerk.