Des Plaines alderman won't appeal conviction or ask city to pay legal bills
Des Plaines Alderman Dick Sayad said Thursday he won't appeal the guilty verdict in his misdemeanor criminal trespassing case, and he won't ask city taxpayers to pay his legal bills.
Sayad and his attorney James Tatooles discussed both issues Thursday -- with Tatooles saying that filing an appeal or attempting to get legal fees reimbursed "wouldn't serve any purpose." Sayad, the city's 4th Ward alderman, went along with those recommendations.
"I doubt with all the other issues the city of Des Plaines has, this is not one of the issues it should be dealing with," said Sayad, who was re-elected in April to a fourth 4-year term. "I made the mistake. I'll pay for it."
Sayad was arrested and charged Feb. 27 -- two days after he walked into a resident's house unannounced to discuss complaints about an unshoveled sidewalk. A Cook County judge found him guilty June 16 and sentenced him to 18 months of court supervision, and ordered him to pay a fine of $500 plus $869 in court costs and fees.
Though Sayad was found guilty, Judge Michael Hood agreed with Tatooles' request to not place a conviction upon Sayad -- a legal distinction that would allow Sayad to expunge the case from his record in 18 months if he doesn't break any laws in that time.
Tatooles said if there would have been a conviction, then he would have "seriously considered" appealing the guilty verdict.
"The judge was compassionate and understanding and gave him a very nice, sensible, and fair sentence of supervision," Tatooles said. "We have no quarrel with it. The judge was very, very fair in what he decided to do. There's no point of filing an appeal."
"I suggested to (Sayad) it really wouldn't serve a purpose and he went along with my thoughts on it," Tatooles said.
The city council in March had debated behind closed doors whether to provide for Sayad's defense in the case, since a city ordinance allows for that possibility. But aldermen decided to table the issue.
Sayad said Thursday he doesn't believe he would have the votes anyway, and he wouldn't have voted on the matter because it would be a conflict of interest.
Five votes of nine (the city's eight aldermen plus the mayor) would have been required to approve payment to Sayad, per city ordinance, even if Sayad recused himself.
Following Sayad's arrest in late February, Aldermen Jim Brookman and Patti Haugeberg said they thought the city should pay for Sayad's defense. Mayor Matt Bogusz and Alderman Don Smith declared their opposition, while other aldermen were publicly on the fence.
Tatooles said in an earlier interview following the judge's verdict that typical legal fees for a case like Sayad's would be at least $5,000. On Thursday, Tatooles declined to disclose the amount of his legal bill, and Sayad said he hasn't received the final bill yet.