SAUK VILLAGE | The Village Board voted unanimously Thursday to have the village attorney draft criminal charges against Police Chief Robert Fox for theft of village property and official misconduct.
The action came after a special meeting Thursday night regarding the removal of several boxes of newsletters from Village Hall on Wednesday.
At the special meeting, Trustee Rosie Williams said she was contacted by a village employee and notified that Fox was removing the boxes from Village Hall and putting them in an employee's car. The boxes contained the village newsletter, called Sauk Talk.
The newsletter was scheduled to be picked up by the mail carrier and mailed out to all village residents.
"I've reviewed the videos which show Robert Fox removing the boxes from Village Hall," Williams told the board and residents in the audience.
Williams also stated that five village employees have signed affidavits that describe how Fox mistakenly put the boxes in an employee's car, then moved the boxes to another car. That car left the premises with boxes containing the newsletter, Williams said.
In an email obtained by The Times, Village Manager Henrietta Turner informed board members that Fox told her he was acting on orders from Mayor Lewis Towers to remove the boxes.
Turner tried to schedule a meeting among herself, Fox and Williams for later in the afternoon. Fox told Turner he would contact Williams.
Towers and Fox did not attend the special meeting and were unavailable for comment.
"When I talked to Fox in the afternoon, I requested a written report and a formal investigation," Williams said. "He told me that there would be no written report, but he would look into the matter."
Since there would be a conflict of interest with Sauk Village police investigating the situation, the Cook County state attorney's office, the state police, and the Illinois attorney general's office all have been contacted.
Williams said the Sauk Talk newsletter contained an article regarding the water referendum that residents will vote on March 20. The wording of that article allegedly is the issue.
The article says the cost for connecting to Lake Michigan water would be $19.7 million, and the cost of a treatment facility for the existing wells to be $4.6 million. Proponents of the Lake Michigan option took exception to the wording of the article.
Williams explained to the audience that the wording was done by the village engineers and village attorneys, not the board.
The village spent $845 to have the newsletter printed. The bulk postage had not been paid yet.
Volunteers came into the hall Thursday and spent the day making copies of the Sauk Talk. According to Williams, it will be mailed out Friday as planned.
Once the criminal charges are written up by the village attorney, a hearing will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at Village Hall.