Lauzen again demands accounting for costs of prosecuting Van Dyke
Calling it a "misappropriation of taxpayers' money," Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen called on his fellow elected officials Thursday to join him in demanding a full accounting of the time and money expended by the state's attorney's office on the prosecution of Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke.
"The idea that we're obligated to pay Cook County expenses as Kane County taxpayers is false," Lauzen told the county board's Judicial and Public Safety Committee. "You want to know where your money is going."
Unlike earlier calls by Lauzen for the same information, Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon was not present to supply answers. McMahon was busy with jury selection in the Van Dyke case. To that point, Lauzen highlighted news quotes from McMahon in a variety of outlets speaking to the workload involved in prosecuting Van Dyke, the white police officer charged in the 2014 shooting death of black teenager Laquan McDonald. Those quotes indicate 13- to 14-hour workdays, up to five days a week, for the past two years.
In an interview, Lauzen said he wants the county board to hold McMahon accountable for the hours he and his staff have spent working on non-Kane County business.
"Part of that is a recognition that what's happening here is wrong," Lauzen said. "You don't divert your attention and your money to serve another worthy cause in a worthy county when your staff is being paid with Kane County money. We have a cost. It is a misappropriation of Kane County taxpayers' money."
McMahon's office did not respond to questions about Lauzen's comments Thursday. McMahon has stated there are no increased costs to Kane County stemming from his role in the Van Dyke case.
Lauzen said the county board has questioned dollar amounts as small as $149 for his own expenses to attend lunch forums with possible important political allies for the county. McMahon should receive similar scrutiny, Lauzen said.
"I'll be accountable for every penny, but that standard has to apply to all," Lauzen said. "Joe McMahon is not above the law. He should be the first person in line to observe the law."
As part of his statement, Lauzen paused to allow the county board members to pursue their own questions about McMahon's Van Dyke prosecution expenses. They had none.