Elgin liquor commission issues warning to Moose Lodge

and the city's liq
Updated 1/9/2014 11:34 AM

Elgin Moose Lodge officials got what amounts to an informal warning after they apologized to police and the liquor control commission for an incident that happened in late September.

Moose treasurer Ed Kenney, administrator Boyd Purves, and governor Edgar Bash appeared Wednesday before the commission -- which comprises the entire Elgin City Council -- to answer questions about attempts to help fellow member Anthony J. Oswald evade police on Sept. 27.

Police went to the lodge looking for Oswald, who had an arrest warrant out of Chicago for possession of a controlled substance. Lodge members initially denied Oswald had been there, police said.

Bash said he told Oswald to leave, suspecting the police were there because of Oswald's legal issues.

Police said they confirmed Oswald's presence via the lodge's surveillance footage, and eventually Bash contacted Oswald and asked him to come back. Oswald returned with Lodge Governor Richard Henson, and was arrested, police said.

Henson since has been suspended, and another member, Mark Camacho, resigned his post as junior governor, lodge officials said.

"I apologize to police. I have no excuses for this stuff. I apologize to you. It happened; it's not going to happen again," Kenney said.

Bash also apologized to police, saying he had been trying to counsel Oswald about his legal and personal problems.

"I was coaching him throughout the week to get him to turn himself in. I was also in the process of getting him a lawyer," he said.

Information about Oswald's case disposition was not immediately available.

Councilwoman Tish Powell said she was troubled by Henson's belligerence and disrespect toward Elgin police officers. Police showed great restraint in not arresting him, she said.

"I hold (the Elgin Moose Lodge) to a higher standard, and that's why I wanted you all to come in and get an idea of why this happened," she said.

Police Sgt. Jim Lalley said police couldn't prove Henson assisted Oswald in evading police.

"Not talking nice to me is not a crime," Lalley said.

Henson could not be immediately reached for comment on Wednesday night.

The Elgin lodge doesn't administer expulsions or suspensions -- those come from Moose International, which was contacted a few days after the September incident, Kenney said.

"We acted very fast on this," he said.

Henson was suspended for a year, and he will be expelled if he trespasses on Moose property, Kenney said.

All lodge employees have been informed they are to cooperate with authorities, Purves said.

"Any time that any police officer, firefighter or EMS wants to come into our lodge, they have all the right to," he said.

Corporation Counsel William Cogley did not recommend a fine or other action against the lodge. The incident can be taken into consideration if there are any future problems, he said.

Wednesday's discussion can be treated as an informal warning, Councilman Terry Gavin said.

"It's not really what the club you represent, the Elgin Moose Lodge organization, is all about. I know you don't condone this kind of behavior," he said. "Be careful who you let in."

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