Top DNR official resigns after FOX 32 investigation - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Top DNR official resigns after FOX 32 investigation

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A deputy director at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources resigned Thursday just hours after FOX 32 confronted DNR officials with evidence that he needed a gone fishin' sign on his door last summer, while he was claiming to be sick.

"I'm an avid hunter and fisherman. I believe in the second amendment. And I believe in protecting our rights," DNR official Travis Loyd said in 2007.

When downstater Travis Loyd ran for the General Assembly seven years ago and lost, he made no secret of his love for hunting and fishing.

He makes no secret of it these days either.

His Facebook page is filled with photos of his accomplishments as a professional bass fisherman on the WALMART FLW Tour.

He won $10,500 in 2012 and $3,886 catching fish last summer.

Yet, those bass fishing tournaments aren't his primary income.

Last year, according to the Illinois comptroller's office, he earned $92,809.04 in his full-time job as Deputy Director for the Department of Natural Resources.

So, how did he manage to squeeze in four-day fishing tournaments in Florida, Alabama Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Michigan and still handle his state job?

Using the Freedom of Information Act, FOX 32 obtained Loyd's time sheets. They show that between May 1 and mid-August last summer, about three and half months, the deputy director put in just seven and half hours working for the state.

He took 12 and a half vacation days in May, no problem there, but then claimed he was on sick leave for 44 consecutive days, not including weekends.

According to the WALMART FLW fishing tournament website, on five specific days when Loyd was using sick leave he was fishing for dollars in those tournaments.

Loyd had accumulated his unused sick days during his four years with the DNR, but state regulations say, "sick leave may be used for illness, disability, or injury of the employee, appointments with the doctor, dentist or other professional medical practitioner."

There's no mention of going fishing.

Thursday night, DNR officials now agree. After FOX 32 raised questions, the agency told FOX 32 it "has zero tolerance for any misconduct by our employees. As soon as this situation came to light, we moved swiftly to address it. The individual has resigned."

The DNR won't say if the investigation continues, but there are still a lot of questions here.

How could Loyd's supervisors not wonder about a deputy director who was off almost all summer.

In fact, when he stopped using his sick days, someone gave him nine more days off, at least this time, without pay.

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