State's attorney: No charges against ex-township official accused of taking funds

The Kane County state's attorney's office has denied charges against former Dundee Township Highway Commissioner Larry Braasch, who was under investigation after residents said they paid him directly for new driveway culverts though the township had no record of receiving the funds.

According to a partially redacted report from the sheriff's office, Braasch's attorney told detectives the former road chief received a check for a culvert replacement in August 2013, cashed it and gave the money to the township clerk. But the clerk says he has no record of taking the cash from Braasch.

“Based on the reports it is clear that citizens paid the monies directly to Braasch,” sheriff's office spokesman Pat Gengler said, “but what happened to the money after he received it is not clear.”

The state's attorney's office declined to comment, other than to say prosecutors reviewed the facts and declined to charge him.

Braasch held the highway commissioner seat since 2000 before losing a re-election bid in the spring. He could not be immediately reached for comment Tuesday.

The sheriff's office began looking into the matter Dec. 9, 2016, after then-township Supervisor Sue Harney brought forth allegations of Braasch pocketing money, according to the report. She told authorities Braasch collected cash and personal checks from residents for culvert replacements, but the money was never deposited into township accounts.

Harney, who is now a township trustee, also provided letterhead receipts, a canceled check and a resident's bank statement, the report states.

“I'm disappointed,” Harney said Tuesday of prosecutors' decision. “Here we have a man who allegedly stole from residents. ... It doesn't seem to concern the authorities, and that really bothers me.”

Braasch told the Daily Herald in February that he had no memory of collecting money from residents for the culvert work. His attorney in May said Braasch did cash a personal check and gave the money to the township, according to the report. Braasch refused to talk directly with the sheriff's office, Gengler said.

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