Kane County lawyers up in West matter

Posted6/14/2010 12:01 AM

A former Cook County prosecutor has agreed to represent Kane County in its fight to avoid paying indicted Coroner Chuck West's legal bills.

Kane County State's Attorney John Barsanti's office announced Friday that David J. O'Connor of O'Conner Law Offices in Orland Park would be arguing for the county. Authorities said an outside attorney was needed because Barsanti, who is tasked with representing county officials, cannot represent both sides. He also has turned over the criminal case to an appellate prosecutor to avoid a conflict of interest in prosecuting West.


West's attorney, Gary Johnson, says Kane County taxpayers should foot the bill for West's defense since he is charged with crimes related to his official duties as coroner. But county officials disagree.

"We are not interested in paying the criminal defense of an elected official," Kane County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay said last week.

West was indicted May 18 on five counts of official misconduct, a Class 4 felony. He is accused of removing a television from a dead man's house in Carpentersville three years ago, and allowing two deputy coroners who live together to keep it in their home. His next court date is June 24.

Barsanti's office said O'Connor was an assistant state's attorney in Cook County from 1987 to 2005. He has "extensive experience working as a special prosecutor in various capacities," officials said.

Servers charged: Servers at four St. Charles taverns were cited this month for selling alcohol to minors, police said. Tracey Albricht, 47, of Pub 222, 222 W. Main St.; Amy Davis, 24, of Scotland Yard, 301 W. Main St.; Christine Ann Dunn, 25, of Real Time Sports, 584 S. Randall Road; and Stephen J. Gibson, 26, of House Pub, 16 S. First Ave., were each cited for unlawful delivery of alcohol to a minor in a June 3 compliance check, according to a news release.

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Altogether, police performed random checks at 16 establishments, with 75 percent refusing to serve undercover minors. The program was funded through a state grant.

According to police, those cited are scheduled to appear in court on July 1, and their employers also face potential sanctions from the city's liquor control commission.

Legal grants available: The Kane County Bar Foundation is now accepting applications for its annual grant series benefiting local nonprofits.

Last year, the foundation awarded $10,000 to organizations that help Kane County residents with legal needs. The grants are funded through its annual gala and other fundraisers.

Applications for this year are available online at kanecountybar.org, and must be turned in by July 1. Only one application will be accepted from a single agency each year. For details, call (630) 762-1915.