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April 12, 2024

Algonquin Township – Trustee’s Lawrence & Victor Intimidation and Extortion complaint update

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On May 23, 2019

McHenry Co. (ECWd) –

In January of this year, Algonquin Township Trustees Rachael Lawrence and Mellisa Victor filed a criminal complaint with the McHenry County Sheriff’s office alleging intimidation and extortion of a public official.

According to the police report, Victor stated that she was threatened on 01/09/19 at 2215 hrs, during the executive board meeting that took place at Algonquin Township. Lawrence stated that both she and Melissa were present during the meeting and both heard the threats that Andrew had made.

According to Andrew Gasser, he did not attend any such executive board meeting on that day and only spoke with his attorneys regarding that meeting.

We sent several questions to Rachael Lawrence since she is still a trustee and the response was most telling.

Mr. Allen,
I have no desire to engage with your your web-blog in this type of sensational, yet pointless and unproductive dialogue. This e-mail is an official channel for the benefit of Algonquin Township and its constituents. If you desire information about the official business about Algonquin Township, feel free to utilize the Freedom of Information Act.
Have a nice day,
Rachael Lawrence
Algonquin Township Trustee

Her response is rather comical in light of her past comments regarding our work.

  • Have I mentioned how much I love your work?
  • I applaud the work you are doing in exposing malfeasance within local governments, especially Algonquin Township.

While Lawrence may consider this matter pointless and unproductive, we believe, just as we informed her, the citizens have a need to know about matters in the township, especially when trustees filed what appears to be a false police report, as to date, neither Lawrence or the Township’s attorney have been willing to provide any answers to questions that if answered would expose the truth.

I suspect the citizens of the township would have found answers to these questions far from pointless and very productive. The following questions were raised.

We have obtained a copy of the police report you filed against Andrew Gasser for intimidation and extortion.   According to that report, Mellisa Victor claims she was threatened during an executive session meeting on January 9th, 2019.  In that report, it alleges that you and Victor were present when you heard the alleged threats.

In that same report, it states, according to Andrew, he was not at that meeting and only spoke with his Attorney’s about that meeting.

  • Was Andrew physically present during this meeting in question?
  • If not, how did you hear Andrew during this meeting?   
  • Was his conversation with his attorney’s on speaker phone?  If so, was that because the attorney was present in executive session? 
  • I am trying to pin down exactly how this alleged threat was “heard” considering Andrew claims he was not present.
  • Was Attorney Kelly present during this alleged threat?
  • Also in the report is your allegation that you were informed on 09/18/2018 of medication that Andrew was taking.  Additionally, you informed the officer that according to Andrew, he is always carrying a concealed weapon and that both you and Victor are concerned for your safety.
  • Can you state when you were told by Andrew that he always has a concealed weapon? 
  • Have you ever shared with Police your concerns for your safety before this complaint was filed alleging intimidation and extortion?
  • You claimed to have heard Andrew intimidate and Extort during an executive session.   How is that possible if he was not there?  It’s a pretty simple question.
  • While we are on the topic of Township Business, Trustee Shea has yet to comply with his Open Meetings Act Training.  Do you have any comment about a so-called pillar of the community who has yet to comply with his mandatory training? 

Considering Lawrence refused to answer a single question pertaining to a criminal complaint she filed, I asked Township Attorney James Kelly the following questions.  As of this publication he has not responded.

  • Mr. Kelly was Andrew Gasser physically present in the executive session at the time of the alleged intimidation and extortion of the Township during the January 9, 2019, executive session?
  • Were Andrew Gasser’s alleged intimidation and extortion delivered by means of a telephone that could be heard by more than one person, such as on speaker phone?
  • If yes to question number two, who’s phone was this heard from?

Why is this of interest to the citizens of Algonquin Township?

A criminal complaint was filed by two trustees alleging Andrew Gasser, the Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner, committed criminal intimidation and extortion of public officials. That complaint was filed on January 11, 2019, two days after the alleged crime.   According to the police report, the case was closed the day after the complaint was made and signed off by the Supervisor eight days after the complaint. In short, the complaint appears to have been one big nothing burger.

While the complaint alleges both Lawrence and Victor were concerned for their safety, one can only wonder why they waited two days to file such a complaint.

Even more interesting is the criminal statute cited in the complaint, 720 ILCS 5/12-9. 

  • (i) containing a threat that would place the public official or human service provider or a member of his or her immediate family in reasonable apprehension of immediate or future bodily harm, sexual assault, confinement, or restraint; or
  • (ii) containing a threat that would place the public official or human service provider or a member of his or her immediate family in reasonable apprehension that damage will occur to property in the custody, care, or control of the public official or his or her immediate family; and
  • (2) the threat was conveyed because of the performance or nonperformance of some public duty or duty as a human service provider, because of hostility of the person making the threat toward the status or position of the public official or the human service provider, or because of any other factor related to the official’s public existence.
  • (a-5) For purposes of a threat to a sworn law enforcement officer, the threat must contain specific facts indicative of a unique threat to the person, family or property of the officer and not a generalized threat of harm.
  • (a-6) For purposes of a threat to a social worker, caseworker, investigator, or human service provider, the threat must contain specific facts indicative of a unique threat to the person, family or property of the individual and not a generalized threat of harm. 

Considering their own complaint makes no mention of any type of threat found in the criminal code cited, it’s no wonder the case was closed a day after the report was taken.

Within the body of the report, it states there is a recording of the entire conversation that Lawrence and Victor allege took place. We filed an FOIA request for that recording as Victor made it clear it is in the record.

We suspect they will try to deny the request, which will be par for the course with the officials at Algonquin Township.

A copy of the criminal complaint can be downloaded at this link or viewed below.


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