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Officer Down

Friday, March 1, 2013

PENSION: Oak Brook sending investigation report to prosecutors

--How many people do you that can have a state make a law just for them?
That question on its own should be enough to make every government agency there is look at this deal.
But add to it that the sponsoring state representative gets a nice big money job after the law passes and what do you have?
And who pays the price besides the tax payers? I'll tell you. The public servants on the front lines that have to feel the wrath of tax payers and the press.--

Story at Pioneer Press


OAK BROOK — Oak Brook trustees have decided to send results of an investigation into how two former village employees left the village with a $750,000 unfunded pension liability to both the U.S. Attorney and the DuPage County State’s Attorney.

William Seith of Bryce Downey and Lenkov completed the investigation at a cost of $25,000. An ensuing report presented to trustees Feb. 26 stated the investigation should be viewed as a fact-finding mission, not a levying of allegations against particular individuals on behalf of the village.

However, Seith also suggested the report be submitted to the U.S. attorney and the DuPage County state’s attorney because the investigation was limited by lack of subpoena power. He noted the investigation found a chain of occurrences that have raised serious issues.

The investigation looked into the appointment and approval of Thomas Sheahan as police chief in 2005, the passage of legislation relating to the Sheriff’s Law Enforcement Program in 2007, and the approval of a lobbying contract to hire Robert Molaro in 2009. Molaro is a former state representative who introduced the legislation.

Sheahan resigned as chief in 2011 after slightly more than six years with the Oak Brook Police Department. Molaro was appointed as a $5,000 per month lobbyist by the village in 2009.

Seith’s investigation concludes there is anecdotal evidence indicating Sheahan himself made efforts to bring about the passage of the legislation in order to benefit himself.

“There are so many missing bits of information and so many dots that need to be connected,” Village President Gopal Lalmalani said. “The dots may need to be connected by the feds. There’s more than meets the eye here, obviously.”

More than 30 interviews with village trustees, officials, staff and other knowledgeable individuals were conducted as part of the investigation. However, Sheahan, Molaro, and former Village President John Craig turned down interview requests.

While the village continues to contest the $750,000 in pension payments to Sheahan, Village Manager Dave Niemeyer said Oak Brook’s pension obligation would be considerable, even without legislation.

“I don’t know how much it would be; maybe half, but it still would be a considerable amount because of how the state had the pensions set up,” he said.