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updated: 4/24/2012 4:46 PM

Naperville library chief resigns in embezzlement case

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  • Jerry Feldott

      Jerry Feldott

 

Naperville Library Board President Jerry Feldott has resigned after being accused of embezzling more than $25,000 from an area homeowners' association as part of his private business, authorities said Tuesday.

Feldott, 63, of the 1000 block of East Benton Avenue, surrendered to police last week on a warrant for felony theft and was released on bond.

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He is accused of taking funds from an account belonging to the North Edgewood Homeowners' Association, which had contracted with his real-estate firm, Feldott & Associates, to maintain neighborhood common areas, Naperville Sgt. Gregg Bell said.

Bell said the embezzled funds were homeowner association fees Feldott's firm was supposed to look after. He said Feldott took $25,900 total but at one point returned about $5,700. His company received $3,000 a year under contract with the association, which first noticed discrepancies in February.

"Through an investigation it was determined this had been going on for quite some time, since approximately 2007," Bell said.

Police interviewed Feldott but declined to disclose any statements he made. Reached by phone Tuesday, Feldott said he had no comment.

Feldott resigned his library board seat Monday via a brief email, Executive Director John Spears said Tuesday.

"The library was unaware of any investigation or charges until we saw them in the paper this morning," Spears said.

Feldott served about six years on the board, including one full three-year term and parts of two others.

The nine-member library board is appointed by Mayor George Pradel with consent of the city council. Members are limited to two full terms.

Pradel was scheduled to appoint two members at the beginning of June and now is also expected to name Feldott's replacement at the same time. The board's vice president, Rick Wills, is expected to step into the president's seat until the board elects its new officers in about two months.

On the library website, Feldott is listed as a member of one of Naperville's founding farm families and is credited with being "strongly involved in leadership roles in many community organizations," including as chairman of the Citizens Appreciate Police and Fire Departments organization.

Spears said Feldott was a champion of the library and always conducted himself with integrity while serving on the board.

Library board member Jeff B. Davis said he was surprised to learn of the charges.

"I've known Jerry for years through various organizations, including the Rotary and the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce, and he's been nothing but giving to the community," Davis said. "These charges you're telling me about are a complete surprise to me."

City Councilman Robert Fieseler, who serves as the city council liaison to the library, said he was "absolutely stunned" when he heard of Feldott's arrest.

"I only know what I read in the newspaper. I feel bad for him, his family and his business associates," he said. "I've only know Jerry to be an upstanding and honest guy. He's very passionate about the library and the community and I hope this all turns out to be a big misunderstanding. If he's guilty of charges he'll have to face those consequences. What else can I say? The board must be devastated. This came totally out of left field."

Feldott is free on $5,000 bail and is scheduled to appear May 14 before DuPage County Judge John Kinsella.

• Daily Herald staff writers Justin Kmitch and Bob Smith contributed to this report.

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