Former DuPage forest IT manager gets jail, probation

  • David Tepper

    David Tepper

 
 
Updated 1/19/2016 5:59 PM

A DuPage County judge said Tuesday he wanted to send a message to other government employees as he sentenced former forest preserve district information technology manager David Tepper to time in jail.

Tepper, convicted in November of 26 charges of illegally participating in contracts and one count of official misconduct, was sentenced to 180 days in jail, given two years' probation and ordered to pay $83,000 in fines.

 

Judge Liam Brennan ruled in November that Tepper broke the law in 2009 when he failed to disclose to the forest preserve district that he was a commissioned agent for a digital services company -- US Digital -- that had been suggested to and hired by the district to install a telephone system.

Tepper then funneled his roughly $80,000 commission from US Digital into a bank account used by a separate IT company he and former forest preserve IT Director Mark McDonald owned.

"The fact that Tepper gave half of what he got to his boss (McDonald) suggests to this court an intent to defraud," Brennan said. "I have to believe, in the context of a public corruption case, others will see the sentence imposed, reflect upon it and decide not to engage in the conduct alleged here. Corruption can sneak into DuPage County if we're not careful."

Tepper's attorney, Terry Ekl, said he will appeal the case.

"We started off with 142 counts and Class X felonies and we end up with 90 days in jail (if Tepper serves the required half of his sentence). I think I may have said somewhere along the line that this was the most overcharged case in history and I still believe that's the case," Ekl said outside court. "We're definitely appealing the case. Intent to defraud was not proven in the case and that's the issue."

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As for his client, Ekl said Tepper is not looking forward to jail.

"He's paying a tremendous price. He has already and he will continue to pay a tremendous price for his involvement in that contract," Ekl said. "He's lost his job, his livelihood, all of his resources and his future is bleak."

McDonald, 55, of Wheaton, is due in court on Feb. 5 where he is scheduled to either accept a plea deal or have his case set for trial. McDonald originally was to be tried with Tepper but fell ill.

Tepper, who has been free on $200,000 bail, must report to the DuPage County jail by 6 p.m. Feb. 17 to begin serving his sentence.

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