Commissioner: Ex-official charged Disney tickets, purses to district
Allegations of misused government funds and the potential destruction of public records are at the center of a bitter legal battle between current and former Algonquin Township Highway Department officials.
Disneyland tickets, purses and women's clothing are among the personal items Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser claims in a lawsuit were charged to the road district during the tenure of his predecessor, Bob Miller.
The complaint, filed in June, also alleges Township Clerk Karen Lukasik intended to destroy public records, such as receipts of those purchases and various emails from the personal accounts of Miller and his wife, Anna May Miller, also his former secretary.
Bob Miller, whose family ran the office for decades, served in the highway commissioner position for 24 years.
After months of back-and-forth litigation, Miller and his attorney, Thomas Gooch, filed an emergency motion Monday seeking an immediate hearing to stop or regulate "discovery abuse." Discovery, a pretrial period of evidence-gathering, was described as a "witch hunt" orchestrated by Gasser, and has led to high legal fees and subpoenas of third-party witnesses, the motion states.
Court documents also indicate Miller intends to file a motion to dismiss the case, alleging Gasser doesn't have standing to probe previous township policies and procedures.
Gasser and Miller both declined to comment on the legal proceedings, as did Gooch, who "does not speak to the press," according to a paralegal at his firm. Emails to Lukasik went unanswered Thursday.
But the battle could be far from over, as Miller's emergency motion references the potential for criminal investigations at state and federal levels. According to court documents, Miller believes Gasser and his attorney, Robert Hanlon, have "urged" the McHenry County state's attorney to launch a grand jury investigation aimed at indicting Miller.
Miller's attorneys told Hanlon that Miller likely won't agree to a deposition while a probe is ongoing, records show.
John Gibbons, criminal division chief for the state's attorney's office, declined to comment. All grand jury proceedings are confidential.
The legal battle started earlier this year after Gasser, who unseated Miller in the February primary election, received an anonymous package containing receipts of personal items purchased using township credit cards, his injunction states. The records showed expenses ranging from 2012 to 2016, such as purses, clothing and airline tickets for family members.
Gasser had previously had been unable to locate electronic records from the highway department, including emails and expense records, which he claims were under Lukasik's control, his complaint states.
Litigation also included battles over Lukasik's access to security camera footage.