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April 14, 2024

Shelby County – ISP Recorded Interview Of Former State’s Attorney Gina Vonderheide –

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On December 30, 2023

Shelby Co. (ECWd) –

The Illinois State Police interviewed four people in relation to the payroll malfeasance that was taking place in the Shelby County Sheriff’s office several years ago.  While we were able to obtain the written reports of those interviews, the ISP fought us in court for years in their attempt to not turn over the recorded interviews.  This was surprising since the ISP has turned over such recordings in numerous other requests we had made in other investigations.

The litigation has concluded after the courts ordered ISP to turn over the public record we requested.  As expected, the statements made and the failure to follow up and validate certain things are troubling.  All that aside, we now understand why the AG chose to do nothing in this case as the investigation lacked any real diligence to get the truth of the matter.  It is clear, they took what was told to them as true and simply reported what was said rather than verify those claims.  Had they tried to verify many of the claims they would have discovered what they were told was not accurate and in some cases simply not true.

One of the themes in all the interviews pertaining to the Sheriff’s office payroll fraud was that the deputy’s contract indicates they are salaried employees, not hourly.  That being the case, one would think the first thing the ISP would do is confirm that to be true.  If true, the next question should be, if they are salaried employees, why are they getting paid overtime?  Why are they filling out timecards, oh wait, they weren’t.

Much of what we hear in the audio recording with Vonderheide was covered in the prior article based on the written report. This article will highlight some shocking comments and inaction by the ISP.

In the written report, the ISP states as fact: “Per contract, employees are salaried and are not paid hourly”.

That is not true.  Please do not take our word for it, read the contract. While the contract outlines the base pay, it does so to establish the steps people fall into and what the hourly pay would be for a 40-hour work week. The contract requires certain days and hours worked under sections 20.2 and 20.3.  Such requirements point to the deputies being paid based on hours worked and not a fixed salary. How the ISP missed that is beyond comprehension.

To our amazement, even the former SA failed to know if the deputies were salaried or hourly.  How is that possible? During the interview, Vonderheid admitted, that if the deputies are paid by the hour we have a big problem.

Vonderheid claimed to be the one who advised a forensic audit for the Sheriff’s Department. If that is true, why were the public’s demands for a forensic audit ignored for months?   Notably in the interview, the ISP makes reference to electronic timekeeping as one of the two methods used.  That fact runs head-on into a conflict with other statements made in other interviews.  We will expand on that in the article covering those conflicting statements. Also, note that she confirms at least three different methods of timekeeping were taking place at the Sheriff’s office.  That claim runs head-on into claims by Rob McCall. More on that in the McCall interview.

When questioned about the illegally sold firearms it appears she threw Rob McCall under the bus by claiming she has no recollection of him ever speaking to her about selling seized guns, which is illegal for a Sheriff’s office to do in Illinois.  More troubling is her comment about it being OK to sell them if it was going to be a public sale.  55 ILCS 5/3-6026 prohibits any such sale to Sheriff employees as they are barred from ALL sheriff sales.  720 ILCS 5/24-6 forbids the sale of seized weapons, period.

The discussion on the compensation overpayments to Vonderheid confirms she was in fact overpaid and created a payback schedule for the money overpaid.  That amounts to an interest-free loan which is not legal.  Her excuse for why she was overpaid exposes numerous accountability failures. Considering the state statute outlines what a State’s attorney’s compensation is supposed to be, we find it hard to comprehend how she believed she could pay herself whatever was in the budget.

Listen to the audio yourself.

 

 

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