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July 22, 2024

Public Integrity Bureau Of The Illinois Attorney General’s Office Accepts Review Of Potential Criminal Case

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On March 27, 2024

DeWitt Co. (ECWd) –

Our prior reporting on a potential criminal investigation about purchases from CDS Office Technologies, the employer of the County Board Chairman Dan Matthews, can be read at this link.  We mentioned in that article we had reached out to both Matthews and the State’s Attorney for comment.

While we have not received any response from Matthews, State’s Attorney Markwell did respond to our inquiry this afternoon.

Specifically, we asked the State’s Attorney the following.

Mr. Markwell,
We are working on an article regarding the county and CUSD 15 school districts’ purchases from CDS Office Technologies.
We understand that your County Board Chairman, Dan Matthews is the VP of Sales for that company.  A FOIA request we did last fall turned up no disclosure of that company on his Statement of Economic Interest documents along with over $225K in transactions with that company just in the Sheriff’s Office.
We now understand there has been movement on this matter by your office to seek a special prosecutor.  Can you confirm that to be the case?
Can you confirm which law enforcement agency investigated this matter?
We will publish any comments in entirety so there will be nothing taken out of context.
Thanks
Kirk Allen
Edgar County Watchdogs, Inc

Mr. Markwells’ response:

Mr. Allen,
This matter was referred to the Public Integrity Bureau of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office by my office on December 7, 2023. The Attorney General’s Office formally accepted review of this matter on January 8, 2024. Any questions regarding the current status of any investigation should be directed to the Attorney General’s Office.
Dan Markwell
DeWitt County State’s Attorney (emphasis added)

State’s Attorney Markwell had deferred another criminal case to the same Public Integrity Bureau dealing with the now-convicted Waupella Township Road District Highway Commissioner.  We reference this case because a similar inquiry was made and the response to that case was slightly different, emphasis added to that response.

“This matter was referred to the Public Integrity Bureau of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office by my office for follow-up investigation and potential prosecution.
The Attorney General’s Office formally accepted this investigation on September 1, 2022. Any questions regarding the current status of that investigation should be directed to the Attorney General’s Office.”

The difference in the responses is subtle and may not be anything significant but it appears the current DeWitt County case was accepted for review rather than for follow-up investigation.  That possibly indicates the investigation was completed and the matter sent to the AG’s office for review, which typically means making a charging decision. We note that Markwell did not respond to who handled the investigation.  Considering the matter appears to involve county officials it would be logical that the Illinois State Police would handle the case rather than the County Sheriff.

Our initial Freedom of Information Act request for records related to this matter began at the end of July 2023. To see this matter sent to the AG less than 6 months later for their review appears to be significant as most criminal investigations take years.

We will update you with a new article if Chairman Matthews responds or we learn more information related to this matter.

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