CROWN POINT | Lake County election officials are investigating the campaign finances of disgraced former Surveyor George Van Til.
The Lake County election board is prepared to fine Van Til for failing to file his most recent campaign finance disclosure report earlier this year.
Van Til, who served 20 years as county surveyor, resigned from office Dec. 5 and pleaded guilty to six counts of federal wire fraud for assigning political work to his public employees. A felony conviction bars him from running for future political offices.
Nevertheless, election officials said he hasn't disbanded his Volunteers For Van Til campaign organization and was still obligated under state law to file a report Jan. 15 on any money he holds, collected or spent over the last year.
Gregory Sanchez, his campaign treasurer and former chief deputy surveyor, said he cannot file Van Til's report because he doesn't have access to Van Til's financial records.
"He has the checkbook," Sanchez said. "At the request of the federal government, I am to have no contact with Mr. Van Til."
Sanchez said he would like to resign as Van Til's campaign treasurer, but the election board staff generally won't allow a resignation until the treasurer has filed a final report. Board members said they will defer action until next month.
Board members also dealt with 83 other late-filing candidates and political action committees. They fined a handful of them for being tardy, but excused most on condition it was their first offense or extenuating circumstances, such as a death, an illness or bad memory caused their violation.
Their fines were waived on condition they disband their operations or file late reports within 10 days.