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May 22, 2024

Shelby County – Truth is Elusive – Criminal Justice Moves At A Snail’s Pace

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On August 30, 2022

Shelby Co. (ECWd) –

In February of 2021, Shelby County State’s Attorney Nichole Kroncke asked the Attorney General for a Special Prosecutor to review and possibly prosecute a financial case of alleged theft of public funds and official misconduct by the Shelby County Highway Engineer, Alan Spesard.

Within her communication, she specifically informed the AG who is assigned to the case, the Illinois State Police, Special Investigations Unit.

The Shelby County State’s Attorney’s Office is seeking a special prosecutor to review and, if appropriate, prosecute a financial case that involves our treasurer and county engineer. Before I took office, the Shelby County treasurer initiated an investigation into the Shelby County engineer, alleging theft of public funds and official misconduct. The Illinois State Police, Special investigations Unit, is assigned to the case and is actively investigating. The State’s Attorney’s Office has a conflict in reviewing and, if appropriate, prosecuting the matter due to its representation of the county engineer as well as the treasurer. (Email to the AG at this link)

Anyone reading her email would be led to believe the ISP was actively investigating the matter.

Realizing the snail pace of the criminal justice process, we waited until July of 2022 to ask for records from the ISP on the matter, much as we did with the illegal gun sales issue by former Shelby County Sheriff Don Koonce.

To our surprise, the response to our Freedom of Information Act request to the Illinois State Police resulted in not only the ISP violating the FOI Act (not surprised on that part), but a claim there are no responsive records, and a confirmation, which we already knew, that the FBI Public Corruption Task Force was the agency conducting the investigation.

“A reasonable search for the requested records was conducted; however, the ISP found no responsive records to your request. Please be aware the ISP only maintains records that it creates or receives. According to the ISP Division of Criminal Investigations, this investigation was conducted by the FBI Public Corruption Task Force, as such any records would reside with that organization.

Where is the truth?

  • The State’s Attorney claims the ISP is handling the investigation of Alan Spesard.
  • The ISP claims they did not conduct any investigation.
  • The ISP claims the FBI conducted the investigation.

What we know:

We have confirmed there are more than 1,000 pages of records, which are part of a “current” and “active investigation.”  Considering this matter has been part of an active investigation for several years it appears our justice system is working but at a snail’s pace.

For those not familiar with Alan Spesard’s activities while employed as the County Highway Engineer, we encourage you to read the articles we published over two years ago which can be found at this link.

 

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4 Comments
  • Justice Seeker
    Posted at 15:49h, 30 August

    If the elected state’s attorneys would do their statutory duty there would be no need for the treasurer to call for an investigation nor the appellate prosecutor to do it. Neither Vonderheide nor Kroncke have a statutory duty to represent Spesard. They do have a duty to represent the taxpayers!

  • Golden Country
    Posted at 06:01h, 02 September

    I am not sure what the issue is here. I agree that it seems that there is a conflict on interest and that the county engineer used public resources for private gain but it appears to me that the county, the city and the state gave tacit approval by knowingly allowing this to continue for many years. If someone would have said this is illegal and direct him to not continue than it would seem to be a stronger case against the county engineer.

    • John Kraft & Kirk Allen
      Posted at 06:04h, 02 September

      If the Sheriff or Police Chief told you it was OK to get drunk and drive, would you expect not to be prosecuted for DUI?

    • Justice Seeker
      Posted at 10:02h, 02 September

      Golden Country, everyone involved was well aware it was illegal.

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