Assistant Attorney General Named to Investigate Huston's Involvement in Ambulance Contract Award


Published on September 29 2022 4:18 pm
Last Updated on September 29 2022 4:18 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

An assistant in the Illinois Attorney General's Office has been appointed to handle the pending investigation of Effingham County Board Member Elizabeth Huston.

Assistant Attorney General Jonas Harger was appointed Thursday afternoon by Judge Chad Miller to handle the investigation. Harger has been appointed to handle the investigation as a result of a conflict of interest with the Effingham County State's Attorney's Office.

The investigation stems from decisions by the Effingham County Board this year to award a contract for emergency ambulance service and whether Huston, who owns an ambulance service in Altamont with her husband, acted properly during the negotiations and the contract award.

Effingham County State's Attorney Aaron Jones said that, under Illinois law, a local State's Attorney has a per se conflict of interest that generally prohibits him from representing the County in the investigation and/or prosecution of any criminal charges against a county official alleged to have engaged in misconduct while acting in an official capacity. Jones said the conflict is because the State's Attorney has a duty to begin and prosecute all actions in which the people of the state or county might be involved, and the duty to defend any actions brought against any county officer acting within her official capacity. In such a situation, Jones said a State's Attorney can't be involved on either side of the proceeding.

Since Barger was just assigned the case, there's no information available as to whether or when a decision will be made on whether any actions will be filed.