PEOPLES NATIONAL BANK, BONANS, SUED BY GRAND RIVERS
U.S. DISTRICT COURT, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS - A federal civil suit has been filed in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis against Peoples National Bank and the folks who operate (or operated) it.
Grand Rivers Community Bank (GRCB) and its bank holding company, Main Street Bancshares, Inc., with main corporate offices in Harrisburg, has filed against Peoples; its bank holding company, Market Street Bancshares, with main offices in Mt. Vernon, Ill.; founder Frank William Bonan; Bonan's son who was ousted from the board at GRCB a year ago, Frank William Bonan II (known locally as Lil Bill); and Carmi CPA H. Keith Botsch, a current director of Market Street and Peoples who served as President of GRCB from August 2010 until October 2015.
The case is filed under the RICO Act, which is an acronym for Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations. It was filed Tuesday. It's our understanding that as of yesterday, anyway, some of the plaintiffs (in the above list) weren't aware of the filing.
The 60-page petition contains names of various folks who have worked or currently work for the "Bonan II-controlled entities" and reads like a who's who of south counties, including the likes of Jason Harbison, Grady Gaskins, Brandy Questelle and DeeDee O'Bright.
In the allegations, it's stated that since 2010, Peoples, Market Street, Bonan I, Bonan II and Botsch "have asserted control over and indirect ownership of Grand Rivers and Main Street without approval of the board of governors of the federal reserve system (the "Federal Reserve") and in violation of laws and bank regulations, and have operated Grand Rivers to its detriment for the primary benefit of Peoples and its individual insiders."
It goes on to list problems with loans, control over and indirect ownership without the fed approval, and other issues that have been chronicled with GRCB since they first came to be under scrutiny by the banking industry due to certain practices Lil Bill began engaging in a few years back. Then, about two years ago, Lil Bill came to be under local scrutiny due to starting up the Chess Club atop the Clearwave Building, which we've covered at length and which no other media in the area has touched at all.
It may be the Chess Club antics that went to Lil Bill's head and prompted him to do such things referenced in the lawsuit, such as the notation in paragraph 32 where it states "On October 21, 2015, Bonan II communicated to Whitney Stringer, the Chief Executive Officer of Grand Rivers, via telephone a directive that the following occur within Grand Rivers: (a) everyone except one individual, Jake Campbell, resigns from the Board; (b) Bonan II is then able to choose his own Board of Directors; (c) Whitney Stringer becomes CEO of Grand Rivers; (d) Grady Gaskins becomes CFO of Grand Rivers; and (e) Bonan II receives ten thousand dollars per month as Chairman of the Board."
This is substantiated by a huge number of emails GRCB submitted in the filing itself. Like this one:
The filing is so huge and complex, it can't be covered in full here...but it will be covered in full in the next print edition/here at the e-Edition in about two weeks. What's more, we'll present it without all the legalese, which is somewhat difficult to follow, so we're going to break it down for you in plain English...always better than just throwing a pdf out there and hoping people can sort it out. We don't do that to you. We want you to know what's going on, and how it impacts YOU.
Suffice it to say, everything in the filing explains what happened about a year ago, when what we estimate was probably a hundred or more people contacted us in one form or another in about a 24-hour period of time, telling us that there were "feds" at GRCB, and that the "feds" had "taken Lil Bill into custody and walked him out of the bank." Nothing of the sort happened; that's just when Lil Bill was oustered by the board. The subsequent articles that appeared about GRCB, in particular about the Shawneetown location being robbed and, in the same issue, being categorized by the FDIC as a "troubled bank," explained it. However, a lot of people still refused to believe it, and thought maybe there was some kind of cover-up. There wasn't. But this new lawsuit explains exactly what the "trouble" was.
The situation now is whether this civil suit will be the end of it.
There has indeed been a number of different agencies examining this situation; we've had that positively confirmed. Whether they're examining it for anything over and above a civil filing, however, isn't known yet. We do know that it's being reported Lil Bill and his mistress (he's still married) Abby Evans just had their baby shower at the Chess Club; that Botsch has been raging around about the situation with Lil Bill's/Botsch's involvement with Nikki's Place ('Nikki' is Bonan's wife's name; a consortium in which Bonan and Botsch are part of owns the places and the gambling machines) and that Grady Gaskins, former son-in-law of former Harrisburg mayor/self-appointed bigwig Robert "ChickenBob" Wilson, has been squoze recently by unknown agents of an unknown agency in an attempt to get info about what was going on when he was at GRCB...and the agents didn't necessarily care about any kind of "rehab" Gaskins may or may not have been involved in while this was going on.
Further, those who have been reading our paper for a while and have followed this may recognize that there are some other people tied up with the Bonan mess...namely, our new state senator, Dale Fowler. Fowler's wife works at Peoples; Harbison, it was revealed following the election, has been hired by Dale Fowler to work in his Harrisburg office, conveniently located in the Clearwave Building...and Fowler himself, you'll recall, was the one who "walked the liquor license over to the Chess Club" when he was Harrisburg mayor in 2015, and Bonan II was very nearly the entire funding mechanism for Fowler's campaign (some might say Lil Bill now owns himself a state senator). If you don't think this situation isn't butt-deep wrapped up in feces and distributed to the public by those who we're paying with our taxes and who very nearly DEMAND our "respect" and subsequent obeisance...think again. This has tendrils all through it, including to highly questionable Harrisburg characters who've gotten caught allegedly doing bad things in other counties...one of which is on the back page of this issue.
And NOBODY else will tell you about that except us.
So when you read mainstream media's coverage of this situation, be sure you come back and pick up the April issue, on stands no later than April 5 (and available here at the e-Edition April 3). Don't try to figure this out on your own, and don't hope you're getting the full story from MSM...they're too beholden to those who advertise (like banks...) to tell you what we're going to tell you. Be watching for it, and for anything else that breaks between now and then. We were told by a bank source that "people have no idea how big this is," and that "the FDIC will use this situation as a case study when they train their examiners all over the country."
And to think you were reading about it here first.
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