Sunday, February 21, 2016

BFFs of Judge Liam Brennan XOX: Jurisprudence The DuPage Way


Part OnePart TwoPart ThreePart FourPart FivePart SixPart SevenPart EightPart NinePart TenPart ElevenPart Twelve, 
Part Thirteen, Part Fourteen

On Oct. 1, 2015, 18th Circuit Court Judge Liam Brennan convicted former DuPage County Forest Preserve IT employee David Tepper of 29 felony counts in the most over-charged case in Illinois history. Brennan later sentenced Tepper to 180 days in jail - six days for each felony - and $83,000 in fines for "intent to defraud". Tepper has appealed this conviction. Following are never-reported and under-reported connections of Brennan and a Forest Preserve vendor directly related to this case, and the offices of the State's Attorney and the former Chief Judge. 

September 18, 2015 - Day Five of the eight-day criminal trial of a former DuPage County Forest Preserve IT employee David Tepper and former vendor Arif Mahmood - was bizarre

Employment attorney Leigh Jeter of Clark Baird Smith LLP was appearing as the only witness for the prosecution that day. After introducing her credentials, she explained that she had been hired by the DuPage County Forest Preserve to perform the exit interview of Tepper on Nov. 4, 2011. When asked who attended this exit interview in addition to herself, Jeter supplied names of Tepper and former Human Resources Director Laura Capizzano. She also named a fourth person.

Tepper's defense attorney, Terry Ekl, raised strong objections on various matters. The prosecution sought a recess. Judge Liam Brennan agreed. When the judge, bailiff, court reporter, court secretary, two prosecutors, investigator, defense team, defendants and observers filed in 2 1/2 hours later, the prosecution apologized and announced that they had withdrawn their witness. Day Five was done.

The fourth person Jeter had named still hung in the court room air...

Vince Durante.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Former Federal Prosecutor Patrick Collins Points Finger at Asst. State's Attorney: "MR. TATARELIS HAD THE GALL TO CROSS-EXAMINE OUR EXPERT WITNESSES! ...IT'S INSULTING!"


Part OnePart TwoPart ThreePart FourPart FivePart SixPart SevenPart EightPart NinePart TenPart Eleven, Part Twelve, 
Part Thirteen

"MR. TATARELIS HAD THE GALL TO CROSS-EXAMINE OUR EXPERT WITNESSES! ...IT'S INSULTING!" thundered Patrick Collins last Wednesday while pointing at Assistant State's Attorney Ken Tatarelis, during closing arguments of DuPage's eight-day criminal trial in Wheaton before Judge Liam Brennan. 

The case involves two former employees of the DuPage County Forest Preserve's IT Department, Mark McDonald and David Tepper, and the former IT vendor, Arif Mahmood. The Forest Preserve conducted a secret investigation of the men in 2011 and later brought their findings to authorities. In 2012, the men were charged with a collective 317 felony indictments. (McDonald's trial was rescheduled to Oct. 22nd due to health issues.) Judge Brennan's decision for Tepper and Mahmood is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 1st, at 9 am.

Collins, a former federal prosecutor now a defense attorney, was referring to three IT expert forensic witnesses testifying on behalf of his client, Mahmood, who was originally charged with 40 felony counts and was still left with two. Expert witnesses had analyzed data in Mahmood's possession, and what was left at Forest Preserve headquarters which turned out to be...nothing

Deliberate and Secret Destruction of Public Records Admitted in Court Room

The cause of Collins' outburst was that the State had never sought to preserve evidence at the Forest Preserve, yet grilled the IT witnesses on the scraps left behind. These witnesses cost the defense tens of thousands of dollars. 

There wasn't any computer data left at the Forest Preserve for the State to preserve by the time they got the case. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

More Things Shady than the Trees: DuPage State's Attorney Bob Berlin Attends Big Forest Preserve Political Fundraiser During 317+ Felony Indictment Trial of Agency's Former IT Staff


Part OnePart TwoPart ThreePart FourPart FivePart SixPart SevenPart EightPart NinePart TenPart Eleven, Part Twelve

Four years after the JRM's "secret investigation"of the DuPage County Forest Preserve IT Department, three years after arrests, and nearly three years after 317+ indictments were collectively passed down, the "speedy" trial of the former Forest Preserve IT staffer David Tepper, and the former contracted Forest Preserve vendor Arif Mahmood, finished its first week at the Henry J. Hyde Judicial Office Facility in Wheaton before Judge Liam Brennan. 

Former DuPage County Forest Preserve IT Director Mark McDonald is included in the charges and was originally scheduled to be tried with Tepper and Mahmood. McDonald's trial was rescheduled to Oct. 22nd due to health issues.

DuPage County State's Attorney Bob Berlin has publicly endorsed Brennan, as heard at the judge's fundraiser and as seen on the judge's campaign website. Berlin has not observed the county's biggest criminal trial, according to CountyLeaks' sources. Immediately after work, however, Berlin did attend the fundraiser of DuPage County Forest Preserve District 4 Commissioner Tim Whelan on Thursday, Sept. 17th, held at St. James Farm in Warrenville.

Monday, September 7, 2015

ONLY YOU Can Prevent Forest Liars: Cross-Examination of the All-Star Witnesses in the DuPage County Forest Preserve IT Case


Part OnePart TwoPart ThreePart FourPart FivePart SixPart SevenPart EightPart NinePart TenPart Eleven

Four years after the JRM's "investigation", three years after arrests, and nearly three years after 317 indictments were collectively passed down, the criminal bench trial of the former DuPage County Forest Preserve IT staff Mark McDonald and David Tepper, and the former contracted Forest Preserve vendor Arif Mahmood is scheduled to begin Sept. 14th at the Henry J. Hyde Judicial Office Facility in Wheaton before Judge Liam Brennan.

The majority of felony charges listed against McDonald and Tepper include "accepting a kickback," "unlawful participation," "official misconduct -- performing a forbidden act," and "theft by deception with intent to deprive." Charges against Mahmood consist mostly of "accepting a kickback" with one count each of "theft by deception with intent to deprive" and "official misconduct -- accepting bribe to influence public officials, public employees, juror or witness." 

Former federal prosecutor Patrick Collins is defending Mr. Mahmood.

Now that the trial is about to launch, this blogger cannot resist ruminating about potential witnesses and what they'll probably be asked under cross-examination. CountyLeaks sought the professional opinion of highly-acclaimed, bulldog criminal defense expert Atty. Backup Ofthebackup (not in good standing at the DuPage Bar Association, unfortunately). Here's a sample of what we can expect next week:

Witness # 1  DuPage County Forest Preserve President Joe Cantore

Atty. Backup Ofthebackup: Mr. President, included in the charges is that the Forest Preserve Board and administration were unaware that employee David Tepper also owned and managed the small IT consulting firm, IDS. In fact, this is the basis of the alleged fraud scheme. How is this possible when you yourself had hired David and IDS for side work for you while you were a Forest Preserve commissioner?

Atty. Backup Ofthebackup: Mr. President, is this your signature on a check to IDS? This check? And this check? How 'bout this check?

Atty. Backup Ofthebackup: No further questions, your honor. I request a directed verdict from the court. I do not need to call any more witnesses, your honor, but since we're all here...

Witness # 2  Former DuPage County Forest Preserve President Dewey Pierotti

Atty. Backup Ofthebackup: Mr. Pierotti, why wasn't this entire matter handed over to law enforcement from Day One or even Forest Preserve security? Is it because it first had to be delicately controlled internally, ie: all evidence against you and your buddies shredded first?

Atty. Backup Ofthebackup: 
Mr. Pierotti, please stop staring down at the table and look at me. Did you freak out when you learned that the 2009 emails following the Oak Meadows clubhouse fire were archived off-site at Arif's company, Alamach Technologies, Inc.?

Atty. Backup Ofthebackup: In your position, surely you were informed of the Forest Preserve's sophisticated alarm system with battery backup for purposes of code and insurance. How often was this system tested? Was it connected with the computer system in the Forest Preserve's IT department? So let's say, hypothetically speaking of course, that if the alarm system had been disabled prior to the Oak Meadows clubhouse fire, that information would have been and captured in the database that was immediately wiped clean after obtaining Arif's equipment, prior to the matter going to the State's Attorney?

Atty. Backup Ofthebackup: Was this covert investigation cooked up because Mark, David and Arif were obstacles in destroying damning evidence still floating around following the Oak Meadows fire? Were they in the way in more ways than one? What was the total reimbursement from the insurance company again?

Atty. Backup Ofthebackup: So this was all about gaining access to the evidence you wanted destroyed, and if it meant that the very men who were in charge of maintaining and protecting Forest Preserve information would be wrongfully investigated and indicted to protect yourself and your cronies, so be it? 

Atty. Backup Ofthebackup: Your honor, I request a recess to allow the witness to compose himself. Should we call 911?

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

ALERT: CNN's Death Row Stories this Sunday: Paris, IL Unsolved Murders


Widespread Illinois Corruption & Cover-Up of the Unsolved 1986 Paris, IL Murders of Dyke and Karen Rhoads on CNN Death Row Stories, Sunday, July 19th, 9 pm Central Time...


CountyLeaks has published never-reported information on the role the Illinois State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's office, its former Board of Governors and the Illinois State's Attorneys Association in protecting wealthy and powerful individuals.


Watch the trailer for CNN Death Row Stories: Murder in Paris to air Sunday, July 19th, 9 pm Central Time...




International spokesperson for abolishing the death penalty, Randy Steidl, who was wrongfully convicted for the 1986 Paris murders and imprisoned for 17 years, including Death Row. People certainly deserved to be behind bars, but NEVER Randy Steidl and Herb Whitlock.


Courageous former Illinois State Police Lt. Michale Callahan who refused to give up in pursuit of truth and justice. Callahan tells his compelling story in Too Politically Sensitive.

Click on the titles to read these past CountyLeaks stories for crucial and radioactive background to Sunday's program:

Who is CountyLeaks? This explains why I started this blog. I could not accept that the same "game changing" political operative was simultaneously working for/with the wealthy and powerful "He Who Cannot Be Named", the Illinois State's Attorney's Appellate Prosecutor office, defense attorneys for the Paris murders wrongful conviction lawsuits, the political campaigns of several top state's attorneys in Illinois, and a government agency in DuPage County. Truly, this stuff cannot be made up. 

Below the Radar in Edgar County  If you only have time to read one CountyLeaks story before watching Sunday's program, this is it. This article looks at the history of the Illinois State's Attorney's Appellate Prosecutor's office's involvement in protecting certain individuals and ultimately themselves, even if it meant placing innocent people under perpetual investigation and allowing the real killer or killers to roam freely. Why did ILSAAP's executive director approve of their contracted political operative to work simultaneously for his government agency AND "He Who Cannot Be Named" who was featured prominently in Callahan's Too Politically Sensitive? 

Shadowy Illinois State's Attorneys Association The Edgar County prosecutor of the Paris murders was at one time the president of this association, a quasi-public organization supported by tax dollars and directly connected with the Illinois State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutors office, yet not subject to the Freedom of Information Act and Open Meetings Act. This is the go-to organization for filing amicus curiae "friend of the court" briefs supporting interests of state prosecutors, past and present.  

State Agency or Prosecutorial Fraternity Learn how your tax dollars supported the never-ending corruption and cover-up of the Paris murders. When will someone investigate THEM?

ILSAAP Approved Amicus Curiae Supporting Payment to Defend Former Paris, IL Prosecutor  More than two decades *after* the wrongful-convictions of the Paris murders, ILSAAP supported tax-funded legal fees for the former Edgar County prosecutor. Was it all hitting too close to home? Could they imagine themselves in the same position one day? 

Targeting David Protess Six Years Read how the DuPage County Brotherhood began a orchestrated and documented smear campaign a decade ago against Northwestern University's Innocence Project and its well-known former director, David Protess, and former Illinois State Police Lt. Michale Callahan. It will make you think twice about taking a stand against the rich and powerful. 

Same Tech Firm Examined Computers in High-Profile Cases  Protek International, Inc., a Clarendon Hills-based firm specializing in investigations and advisory services related to cyber crime, inspected evidence from the computer hard drive of the operative hired by "He Who Cannot Be Named" in the Steidl-Whitlock wrongful prosecution lawsuit. Incredibly, the owner of Protek had close ties with the defense attorneys -- so close, he was working under the same roof and shingle -- and had worked with the operative at former Illlinois Attorney General Jim Ryan's office. These relationships were never disclosed to the plaintiffs and their attorneys.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

November 9-21, 2011 - Was Crucial Evidence of the Criminal IT Case Intentionally Destroyed by DuPage Forest Preserve during these Twelve Days?


Part OnePart TwoPart ThreePart FourPart FivePart SixPart SevenPart EightPart NinePart Ten

On Nov. 9, 2o11, an undisclosed subcontractor of  JRM Consulting, Inc. was sent by the 
Forest Preserve District of DuPage County (FPDDC) to pick up equipment from Alamach Technology, Inc. 

Under contract, Alamach had provided all IT archives, email back-up, and disaster recovery for the FPDDC off-site in compliance with the Federal Regulations on Civil Procedures and the 2002 Homeland Security Act

This equipment contained data that would be described as "the most crucial evidence in the case" of Arif Mahmood, former owner of Alamach. Mahmood would later be charged with 37 felony counts in alleged scheme to steal from the FPDDC. Also charged in this case were the District's former director of its IT department, Mark McDonald, and the department manager, David Tepper, each with 142 felony counts.

JRM had been paid $66,000 by the FPDDC in 2011 to conduct a secret internal forensic investigation of its IT department. 

On Dec. 3, 2013, Mahmood's attorney, former federal prosecutor Patrick Collins, filed a motion to dismiss his client's case at the Henry J. Hyde Judicial Office Facility in Wheaton. Collins wrote:
Quite simply, the FPDDC's failure to preserve the most crucial evidence in the case has destroyed any meaningful opportunity Mahmood has to defend himself against the charges alleged. Because of this clear and irreparable violation of Mahmood's right to due process, the Court should dismiss the indictment as to Mahmood.
Citizen watchdogs take it to another level, claiming that the off-site archives may have contained incriminating information of an individual or individuals connected with the FPDDC. This information, they allege, may have been at the heart of the 2011 covert internal investigation. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Dixon, Illinois Redux? DuPage County Forest Preserve Mocks The Gipper -- Trust, but Don't Verify


Part OnePart TwoPart ThreePart FourPart FivePart SixPart SevenPart EightPart Nine

The day before the widely-publicized arrests of two former IT employees and a vendor of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County in September 2012, a vote was taken by the entity's board on the following:

"Whereas the Board of Commissioners have determined that using Wheaton Bank & Trust will enhance the FPDDC's ability to properly, efficiently and timely manage the FPDDC's assets. 
"Whereas The Board of Commissioners of the FPDDC have determined that using Wheaton Bank & Trust as its primary depository and to transfer all of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County's assets from JP Morgan Chase to Wheaton Bank & Trust." 
Ordinance 12-445 was passed unanimously and quietly. 

The District subsequently moved a reported $250 million to Wheaton Bank & Trust, increasing the bank's total assets by one-third to $761 million. J.P. Morgan Chase, in contrast, has total assets of nearly $2 trillion. No requests for qualifications were sent out to multiple banks.

Forest Preserve Financial Director Jack Hogan reported that the transfer would save $130,000 annually in fees. Citizen watchdogs, however, ask if the decision had more to do with District's ties to the financial institution. 

In June 2012, less than three months prior to the transfer, the Board approved a three-member evaluation committee to seek bids on an outside consultant to study the entire operation of the District. One of three selected to serve on the committee was Robert Hutchinson, president of Wheaton Bank & Trust and a board member of The Conservation Foundation, headquartered in Naperville. Hutchinson was president of Wheaton Bank & Trust from 2006 until last year
 The evaluation committee did not meet in open and did not keep minutes of their meetings. 

Last year, the District created its first Ethics Commission. Among the three members is Jim Carr, former mayor of Wheaton and a 2010 candidate for the Forest Preserve Board. Carr serves on the Board of Directors of Wheaton Bank & Trust, holding the District's assets.

Watchdogs also question the exact amount of the cash assets, as no detailed monthly financial reports are submitted to the Board. The most recent monthly report of the District was a single page. The Illinois Municipal Code mandates:

"At the end of every month, and oftener if required by the corporate authorities, the municipal treasurer shall render an account under oath to the corporate authorities or to an officer designated by ordinance showing the state of the treasury at the date of the account and the balance of money in the treasury. 
"The treasurer shall accompany the account with a statement of all money received into the treasury, and on what account together with all warrants redeemed and paid by the treasurer." 
DuPage Forest Preserve Commissioner Marsha Murphy was named the Board's treasurer in 2008. 

From 2004 to 2007, Mark Kauffman, often referred to as "Mark the Barber", held the position of treasurer. 

The Chicago Tribune described him: Kauffman is the owner of Sheridan's Barber Shop, in downtown Wheaton, where customers include many of the county's politicians and judges. The shop has developed a reputation over the years as a place for political talk as well as trims and snips.

The Daily Herald described him: Most days of the week, Mark Kauffman holds court in his Wheaton barber shop, joking with customers and taking a little off the top. On Mondays, as DuPage County Forest Preserve District treasurer, he handles finances for a government with a $175 million annual budget and $285 million in investments representing 913,000 people. It's an odd juxtaposition, but one forest preserve President Dewey Pierotti likes.