Valle off to prison, but gets to keep pension benefits

2014-01-25T23:00:00Z Valle off to prison, but gets to keep pension benefitsGregory Tejeda Times Correspondent
January 25, 2014 11:00 pm  • 

LYNWOOD | Former Village Clerk Roy Valle was driving a village-owned car when he caused a crash that left a woman dead, but because he was not on government business, officials say it is unlikely his municipal pension benefits will be suspended.

Valle, 66, who served eight years as village clerk and 24 years overall as a Lynwood elected official, surrendered to authorities last week to begin serving a six-year state prison sentence.

He had plead guilty to charges of aggravated driving under the influence and reckless homicide.

Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund officials said it was unlikely such a conviction would impact Valle’s eligibility to receive a pension for his stint as a full-time village clerk.

“IMRF staff will investigate and make a determination as to whether this is, in fact, a job-related felony and therefore the individual’s pension must be suspended,” IMRF spokesman John Krupa said.

But he also said the state agency usually waits until a state’s attorney who prosecutes the case notifies them before such an investigation takes place.

Steve Campbell, a spokesman for the Cook County state’s attorney’s office, said officials have no such intention in the Valle case.

“We don’t really have anything to do with that issue,” he said.

Valle’s attorney, Ray Garza, said the conviction “is not a factor” in terms of Valle receiving pension benefits.

“He might have been in a government-owned car at the time, but he was not doing government business at the time," Garza said. “This won’t impact his pension or any other retirement benefits.”

Valle, who served as village clerk from 2005 until May 2013 following four terms as a part-time village trustee, was the clerk at the time of his Feb. 4, 2011, wreck on Ill. 394 near Ford Heights.

Illinois State Police said he was driving a village-owned 2008 Ford Taurus the wrong way on Ill. 394 when he struck another car head-on. Rebekkah Little,  32, was killed.

The collision occurred shortly after midnight, hours after Valle was off-duty.

Also not a factor in Valle’s future finances is a lawsuit filed about three years ago by Little’s family shortly after the collision. That lawsuit in Cook County court sought at least $1 million, but attorney Joe Vitu said it was settled out of court more than a year ago. He would not say how much money the Little family received.

Village President Eugene Williams was unaware of how much pension Valle was entitled to.

“He was a part of the village’s IMRF plan, but that wasn’t his whole pension,” Williams said, deferring other questions to Valle’s family, who were unavailable for comment.

Prior to becoming village clerk, Valle had worked for 33 years for the Chicago Board of Trade, the last 24 of them in management. He retired from the board of trade in 2001.

If a decision were made in the future to suspend Valle's pension, Krupa said it would merely mean the state would refund Valle all the money he had paid into the retirement system.

“We don’t take any money, we give him back what he paid, although there’s no interest paid on it,” he said.

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