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July 1, 2022

Shelby County Criminal Investigation – WOW!

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On May 21, 2022

Shelby Co. (ECWd) –

We filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the ISP and the AG a while back regarding records they withheld pertaining to the completed criminal investigation the ISP conducted in Shelby County.  The ISP has now produced numerous unredacted copies containing information the public needs to know.  We plan on producing a video discussion about the contents of those records, but wanted to provide a few items in advance of the video.

After receiving the criminal complaint, the ISP launched its “investigation.

How many people did the ISP formally interview after receiving the complaint, not counting the interview with the person filing the complaint?

THREE!

Yes, only three people were formally interviewed about the issues raised in the criminal complaint. Don Koonce, Rob McCall, and Gina Vonderheide.  While there was no formal interview report for Tina Wade, she was asked a question on one point, which was Bob Zakowski getting paid during a week he did not work. Wade was unable to produce documentation to support the benefit time Zakowski received and confirmed with Zakowski that he did not work during the time in question. The Wade interview was not logged as a separate interview but was simply a quick visit to verify what they were told about Zakowski’s pay problems.  This is the only documented verification of information they were told that we found in over 125 pages of records.  For those that want to count a question to Wade as a formal interview, then the total was four.

How many total hours documented were devoted to these interviews according to the reports?

A whopping 142 minutes! Two hours and 22 minutes!

They devoted 24 minutes to Gina Vonderheide, 56 minutes to Rob McCall, and 62 minutes to Don Koonce.

State’s Attorney Vonderheide:

“Vonderheide explained to him it appeared to be a system-wide failure and she did not believe Don (Sheriff) had been purposely overpaying deputies.”

How special.  The former State’s Attorney explains to the ISP that the payroll malfeasance being pointed out by the Treasurer “appeared to be a system-wide failure.”  Too bad she did nothing to fix the system-wide failure.  This supports the need for a county-wide forensic audit, just as the people wanted to begin with.

Vonderheide was questioned about the improper pay raise she gave herself upon taking office. 

“…the salary was brought before the Fees and Salary Committee.”   “One of the board members said it was not her fault and suggested she should not have to pay the overpayment back to the county.”

When board members think overpayments should not be paid back they should be held accountable.  Whoever this person was should resign if they are still a Shelby County board member.

Rob McCall:

“McCall advised when SCSO employees go 10-41 (on duty) or 10-42 (off duty) the time in which they do so does not impact how the employees are paid. SCSO are salaried employees and the 41/42 time does not impact how they’re paid.

If what McCall told the ISP is true, then the Shelby County Sheriff’s office lied to me when they confirmed in a FOIA request the log-in log-out was how they tracked time for pay.  More shocking, McCall tells the ISP that log-in and log-out times do not impact how people were paid because they were salaried.  Surprise…they were not salaried. There is no record of the ISP verifying McCall’s statement.

“…noted an example where Cindy Jones, SCSO Dispatcher, “worked” 20 minutes short according to the SCSO CAD system. McCall advised there are instances where dispatchers occasionally get to work a little bit early and relieve the dispatcher who is currently working.”

So if a person is relieved early it means they are not working and should not get paid.  Did I miss something?

“All employees get their vacation and personal time at the same time and according to the contract.”

While they may have been getting their vacation and personal time at the same time, it’s clear it was not according to the contract.  There is no record of the ISP verifying McCall’s statement.

“McCall advised schedules provided to Fimhaber in the FOIA request were not ” final schedules” as SCSO doesn’t maintain final schedules to reflect employees calling in sick or taking personal time. McCall is unaware of any employees abusing the timekeeping system.”

Help me out people.  If a government office is not maintaining final schedules to reflect employees calling in sick or taking personal time, how is that not abusing the timekeeping system?  Why would anyone turn in a schedule for payroll knowing it was not a final schedule?

Don Koonce:

“Koonce advised SCSO employees are required to fill out a timesheet.”

Oh really?  We welcome the Shelby County Sheriffs’ office to produce these timesheets because to date no such timesheets have been produced.  In fact, that was the primary concern raised by the current Treasurer; departments were not keeping track of time for payroll purposes. There is no record of the ISP following up to verify the truthfulness of Koonce’s statement.

“Per contract, employees are salaried and are not paid hourly”

So both McCall and Koonce claim the employees are salaried.  There is no record of the ISP following up to verify the truthfulness of Koonce’s statement.  We suggest the ISP read the contract and ask Koonce and McCall why they believe employees are salaried, among a lot of other questions we will dive into later.

“Per contract, Koonce stated he reserves the right to change the shift schedule and hours as he deems necessary.”

Koonce had no such right and anyone reading the contract can see for themselves.  “The Employer reserves the right to review and alter shifts every ninety {90) days.”  There is nothing in the contract that permits him to alter the hours as he claimed.  There is no record of the ISP following up to verify the truthfulness of Koonce’s statement.

We could go on for days with the failures we see in this investigation.  The number of false statements is staggering, as is the fact there appears to be no follow-up taken to validate what the ISP was being told.  By all indications, if they were told something they considered it accurate.

Stay tuned for full exposure to the malfeasance that has clearly plagued our investigation authorities.  We expected nothing less as this was the same agency that had hundreds of files in the Coles County Sheriff’s investigation of self-dealing and selling guns by former Sheriff Cox, only to claim years later that no records existed and no investigation took place.

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3 Comments
  • Dave
    Posted at 10:32h, 21 May Reply

    Sometimes all you can do is shake your head…..

  • Justice Seeker
    Posted at 11:48h, 21 May Reply

    This should prove to the citizens of Shelby County that they clearly have no legal representation anywhere. Not either state’s attorney nor the AG. Nichole Kroncke will do everything she can to make taxpayers believe the treasurer is wrong and push to have her hand picked candidate elected. A candidate she can control and leave the taxpayers wide open for more fraud. Pathetic!
    Law enforcement can do whatever they want because they will not investigate their own. There are a few good ones. The majority can’t be trusted and this is not equal justice under the law. My five year old child could have asked more questions and done a better investigation.

  • JUDY JENKINS
    Posted at 12:03h, 21 May Reply

    Appaling! ISP really dropped the ball. All of this is ridiculous and unacceptable. Citizens tolerate too much and then end up with illegal being tolerated. Thank God for Edgar County Watchdogs.

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