Melodie Gliniewicz files for disgraced cop's pension
The widow of Lt. Joseph Gliniewicz has applied to the Fox Lake pension board to collect her deceased husband's pension, and village officials say they will ask to be part of the discussion.
Village officials have filed a petition to intervene in the pension board proceedings regarding Melodie Gliniewicz's application. Village officials will formally file the petition during a pension board meeting at 9:30 a.m. Monday.
Village Administrator Anne Marrin said the initial move is not to necessarily block pension payments to Melodie Gliniewicz but rather to give the village "a seat at the table" when the pension is discussed.
"It gives us an opportunity to hear the discussion and give the village a voice," Marrin said Thursday. "The first step in the process is to intervene in the discussion and then discuss the village's position on the pension."
Joe Gliniewicz was found dead by police officers at the edge of a swamp near an abandoned cement factory at the east end of Honing Road on Sept. 1. Initially, members of the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force investigated the death as a homicide, but in November, the task force announced Gliniewicz had killed himself to cover up financial embezzlement from Fox Lake Police Explorer Post 300.
Melodie Gliniewicz, 51, was charged in January with felony counts of conspiracy, misuse of charitable funds and money laundering for her role in accusations made against her deceased husband. A count of disbursing charitable funds without authority for personal benefit was previously dismissed by prosecutors.
The charges against Melodie Gliniewicz stem from an investigation into Joe Gliniewicz's death and the finances surrounding the Explorer post.
Attorneys for Melodie Gliniewicz have previously denied any wrongdoing, and she has pleaded not guilty to the felony charges in court. Her trial is tentatively set for June 27.
Surviving spouses of Illinois police officers killed in the line of duty are eligible for 100 percent of the officer's salary at the time of death. Families of active officers whose deaths are not considered "line of duty" get less -- spouses receive at least 50 percent of the officer's salary and up to 75 percent.
In Gliniewicz's case, as he died at age 52 with 30 years of police service, his wife would be eligible to receive 75 percent.
The only factor that takes away a police officer's right to a pension is conviction for a job-related felony, pension experts have said. However, Gliniewicz wasn't convicted of crimes, so there may be no loss of rights.
The decision of how much of a pension to award Gliniewicz's family rests with the police pension board, Fox Lake spokesman Dave Bayless said. The five-member panel administers pension funds for the village's 27 officers and 10 others retired or on disability.
If the pension board allows it, the village will be able to state its case during the process, Bayless said. However, the village will not have a vote or any final decisions on how much pension money Melodie Gliniewicz would receive.
Bayless added the village does not seek to intervene in every pension case.
Marrin said the situation village officials face is "unprecedented" because of the circumstances surrounding Joe Gliniewicz's death.
"If she receives 75 percent of his pension, the amount could be in the millions," she said. "We are taking the steps we feel are appropriate for the village of Fox Lake."