Former Elgin cop's federal lawsuit dismissed

Posted3/29/2013 6:30 PM

A federal lawsuit filed by a former Elgin police lieutenant, who retired a few years ago in the wake of his then police officer wife having an affair with a deputy chief, has been dismissed.

Greg Welter sued for wrongful termination and violation of his due process rights, but federal Judge Robert M. Dow Jr. dismissed that lawsuit Friday.

Mike Gehrman, assistant corporation counsel at the city of Elgin, said the city was pleased with the ruling.

The secretary for Charles Mudd, the attorney representing Welter in both lawsuits, said Mudd had no comment.

In August, Welter sued City Manager Sean Stegall, Corporation Counsel William Cogley, Police Chief Jeff Swoboda and James Barnes, an internal city investigator, after Welter resigned from the force.

Welter argued he was denied due process and forced to retire in August 2012. According to his lawsuit, city officials were told Welter had improperly used a state database to look up vehicle license numbers for private use and had notified the state police and Kane County State's Attorney's office.

Swoboda told Welter that if he resigned immediately, there would be no further investigation into possible criminal conduct and Welter would not risk losing his pension, according to court documents.

The city moved to have the suit dismissed and Dow agreed.

"Although an 'involuntary resignation' may form the basis of a due process claim, an employee's decision to retire instead of facing adverse employment consequences, including employment termination, does not make that decision an involuntary one," Dow wrote in part of his ruling.

Dow wrote that Welter was not threatened with actions in an effort to force him to resign because other authorities already had been contacted in the matter.

"The case law clearly establishes that this type of employer action -- initiating an investigation and presenting potential outcomes to an employee -- does not amount to unconstitutional coercive resignation," the ruling stated.

The city also has been removed as a defendant in a federal lawsuit filed by Welter, who alleged his then-wife and former Deputy Chief Bob Beeter hacked into Welter's email.

Welter and his real estate business partner, Debra Seitz, argued that their email accounts were hacked into by Beeter and Tamara Welter, an Elgin police sergeant who was having an affair with Beeter.

Both were suspended a month without pay for the affair and breaking department rules; they have not been charged with any criminal wrongdoing.

Tamara Welter also has been removed as a party in the suit, leaving only Beeter, who took a buyout from the Elgin Police Department in early 2012 due to budget cuts and is now police chief in Stockton, in far western Illinois. The two sides are next due in court May 28.

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