Possible nepotism, lack of bidding alleged in Effingham ambulance deal
Effingham County has signed an agreement with an ambulance company that is connected to the county board chairman without including other ambulance providers in its bidding, the Edgar County Watchdogs (ECW) allege.
In trying to piece together possible connections, the ECW said it had sent requests for information but did not get the information it wanted.
"We have learned over time when Freedom of Information Requests are not provided on key issues before a public body there tends to be something to hide," the ECW said on its Illinois Leaks website. "Such appears to be the case in Effingham County who is scheduled to vote on an ambulance contract for the County, which was never put out for bid nor even a request for proposals sought from ambulance companies."
The ECW contend that Jim Niemann, the Effingham County Board chairman, could be close with or related to the owner of the new ambulance company, Abbott Ambulance.
In response, Niemann said that his cousin, Joe Thies, works for two ambulance companies, Dunn's and Abbott, but the he is not related to the owner of the investment firm HHK, which owns Abbott Ambulance, the ECW posted.
The ECW also said that as for no other ambulance companies being contacted during the deal, Nieman said the ambulance oversight committee suggested using Abbott four years ago when the process began.