Facing federal charges, Urlacher says he'll stay as Mettawa mayor
Mettawa Mayor Casey Urlacher said Monday he'll stay put and expects to be exonerated of federal charges in connection with an illegal sports betting operation.
Urlacher said he has received an outpouring of supportive calls, emails and texts from residents asking him to continue as mayor. He also said he has received the support of a majority of the village board.
"I took some time to discuss the situation with my wife and I have decided to continue to serve as the mayor of Mettawa," he said in a brief statement.
"I fully believe that I will be exonerated of all of the charges. I will continue to faithfully serve the village as I have over the past seven years and we will continue on the path of progress that we have made in Mettawa during my tenure."
The comments came Monday night as a prelude to a special village board meeting called to continue consideration of amendments to Mettawa's zoning code.
"I'll get my personal issues out of the way," he said before reading the statement. He didn't elaborate, although his remark after the statement on not speaking about the situation any more received some applause from the audience of about 50.
It was the first meeting of the village board since federal prosecutors on Feb. 20 announced Urlacher was among 10 people charged in connection with an illegal offshore sports gambling business.
Prosecutors allege Urlacher, 40, the younger brother of Chicago Bears Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher, was among those recruited by ringleader Vincent Delgiudice of Orland Park to enlist new gamblers and to collect or pay out cash.
Urlacher is charged with one count of participating in the gambling conspiracy and one count of conducting an illegal gambling business. Each count is punishable by up to five years in a federal prison.
Urlacher told the Sun-Times the day the indictment was announced that he didn't know Delgiudice. He's publicly been quiet about the situation since.
The day after the announced charges, Urlacher resigned from his post on the Illinois Civil Service Commission. He was appointed in 2013 by then Gov. Pat Quinn to the five-member panel that hears and decides state employee appeals of various job actions.
Urlacher and his co-defendants are scheduled to be arraigned 9:30 a.m. Wednesday in the U.S. District courthouse in Chicago.
Urlacher was elected mayor of Mettawa, a tiny, rural village of about 530 residents, in 2013 and reelected in 2017. He ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination to state Senate District 26 in the March 2016 primary.
The meeting Monday at the Hilton Garden Inn involved a continuing comprehensive review of village zoning ordinances, a process that began more than two years ago.