Cost of Bianchi case still growing

 
 
Updated 3/23/2011 6:41 PM

The conspiracy and misconduct case against McHenry County State's Attorney Louis Bianchi and his secretary has come to an abrupt halt, but the bills rolling into the county have not.

"I feel sorry for the taxpayers who live in this county. They have to pay for this," defense attorney Ernest DiBenedetto said Wednesday after his client, personal secretary Joyce Synek, was cleared of the charges against her.

 

Special prosecutors Thomas McQueen and Henry Tonigan, who were appointed to investigate allegations against the second-term Republican, have billed the county nearly $320,000 so far, but Bianchi and two of his investigators also face more misconduct charges in a separate indictment last month and are due in court on April 29.

If that case goes to trial this summer, the bill certainly will rise.

Ekl estimated that the special prosecutors' investigation is nearing $1 million. During Bianchi's trial this week, Ekl said the computer forensic firm hired by prosecutors has charged the county at least $86,250 so far.

Leading up to the trial, Bianchi and Synek did not ask the county board to pay for their legal expenses, but they have that option going forward.

Ekl said no decision has been made on that front yet.

Said DiBenedetto: "It's a possibility."