* This is just the latest twist in what has been a totally bizarre month in St. Clair County…
A former state lawmaker who’s the new clerk of southwestern Illinois’ St. Clair County says his new job will pay about $20,000 less than what he is making, but he’s fine with that.
The Belleville News-Democrat reports Tom Holbrook will make $100,800 as St. Clair County clerk. He’s now making $120,000 a year as chairman of the Illinois Pollution Control Board.
The county’s board on Monday night unanimously appointed Holbrook as the replacement of Bob Delaney, who resigned last week after an employee accused him of discrimination, sexual harassment and wrongful termination. Delaney denied any wrongdoing.
* The Delaney incident was really awful…
Employees of St. Clair County Clerk Bob Delaney, who resigned abruptly this week, complained that their boss grabbed their breasts and buttocks, kissed them and made inappropriate comments at work, according a copy of an investigative report released Thursday.
The report, by county Equal Employment Opportunity Officer Laura Beasley, also said workers accused Delaney of drinking on the job, using racial slurs and cultivating a climate of fear and racial discrimination.
Beasley determined that the complaint was “overwhelmingly founded.”
The investigation was prompted by a May 16 complaint from Laura Romero, a 25-year-old employee who had been fired. The report was released Wednesday by Romero’s lawyer, Thomas Kennedy III, but parts were missing due to a faxing error.
The complete report says that four other employees were mulling complaints against Delaney. It says seven employees told Beasley that Delaney had grabbed the buttocks of workers, two employees said he grabbed their breasts and 13 said they had been kissed by Delaney “on the face, cheeks, and lips.”
* But that was nothing compared to what happened in late May. The judge who presided over the county’s drug court, and whose father is a major trial lawyer and bigtime Democratic campaign contributor, was arrested. From May 24th…
St. Clair County Circuit Judge Michael Cook is the target of a federal investigation. […]
The investigation has raised new questions about the death of Circuit Judge Joe Christ, who died in March while at a hunting cabin in Pike County, Ill., owned by Cook’s family. The Pike County coroner, Paul Petty, confirmed Friday that Christ died of cocaine intoxication, and that traces of cocaine and drug paraphernalia were found near his body.
Christ, 49, a longtime St. Clair County prosecutor, had only been on the bench about a week before his death.
* Later in the day…
A southwestern Illinois judge already under scrutiny after a colleague died of a cocaine overdose at his family’s hunting lodge was charged Friday with possession of heroin and guns.
Wearing cutoff shorts and a T-shirt with the slogan “Bad is my middle name,” St. Clair County Circuit Judge Michael Cook pleaded not guilty to federal counts of possessing heroin and having a firearm while being an illegal user of controlled substances. The criminal complaint alleges those offenses took place Thursday, and that Cook is an addict.
Earlier Friday, the county coroner said toxicology tests showed that Cook’s colleague, St. Clair County Circuit Judge Joe Christ, overdosed on cocaine while staying with Cook at the Cook family’s 2,500-square-foot cabin near the Mississippi River in western Illin
* Apparently, the two went easy on an alleged heroin dealer who sold them drugs…
First Assistant U.S. Attorney James Porter blames St. Clair County justice for the absence of criminal convictions against alleged heroin dealer and addict Sean McGilvery of Belleville. […]
Porter said he was aware that a report from probation officers listed no convictions.
“We are also aware that the reason is because of the people he dealt with in the courthouse,” Porter said.
“He simply hasn’t been made to pay for any of the things he has done in the past.”
McGilvery allegedly supplied heroin that addicted former St. Clair County Circuit Judge Michael Cook.
* Christ dismissed tickets…
In his final days as a St. Clair County prosecutor, Joe Christ recommended that traffic tickets be dismissed for two men accused in federal court documents of selling cocaine and heroin to Christ and his friend, Circuit Judge Michael Cook, and then Cook obliged.
* The scale is just mind-boggling…
Suspended Circuit Court Judge Michael Cook’s long-time friend, Sean McGilvery, has been named a co-defendant in a high-volume heroin distribution case allegedly run by a mother and son team from Fairview Heights previously charged with concealing the drug overdose death of a 30-year-old woman.
McGilvery, 34, of Belleville, was charged in federal court with conspiracy to distribute more than two pounds of heroin. McGilvery, who pleaded not guilty, resided at 309 N. 38th St. in Belleville, the same address where the home’s owner, McGilvery’s mother Linda Gibson, said Cook was arrested Wednesday evening by federal agents.
On Friday, Cook was charged with possessing heroin and a felony weapons charge. He pleaded not guilty.
Also charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin are Deborah A. Perkins, 64, and her 46-year-old son, Douglas W. Oliver. They were charged Sept. 5 with moving the body of Jessica Williams from their Fairview Heights home and dumping it in Washington Park. An autopsy showed Williams died from a heroin overdose. […]
In addition to being friends for years, McGilvery is also linked to Cook through a 1999 injury liability case where Cook was his lawyer, and in a 2011 drug possession case where Cook was the judge. Cook dismissed the felony drug possession charge in May 2012 after McGilvery completed a drug treatment program.
* And the irony is too thick to be imagined…
The St. Clair County Circuit judge at the center of a drug scandal and charged with heroin possession, handled 90 percent of the circuit’s drug court cases. Judge Michael Cook decided if felons were complying with their rehabilitation efforts. Ironically, it is the judge who is in rehab right now.
* A probation officer was also involved…
On Tuesday, St. Clair County Probation Officer James K. Fogarty, 45, of Belleville, appeared in federal court to answer to charges of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance. He pleaded not guilty and waived his preliminary hearing. He remains in federal custody until a bond hearing set for next week.
During an interview with FBI agent Joe Murphy at Fogarty’s home, Fogarty said he used cocaine with Cook and newly elected Associate Circuit Judge Joe Christ, who was a longtime St. Clair County prosecutor.
Fogarty told Murphy that he sold an “eight ball of cocaine,” or about an eighth of an ounce, to the judges with each paying about $140 apiece. The cocaine was purchased by the judges the day before Christ was found dead at Cook’s family’s hunting cabin in Pike County, Ill. The Pike County sheriff has said that Christ died of cocaine toxicity.
* And that probation officer reportedly squealed…
In asking a judge not to release a former St. Clair County probation officer on bond, a federal prosecutor said the defendant “implicated a number of prominent people up in Belleville and the area around.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney James Porter said the government was concerned that these people might encourage James K. Fogarty, of Belleville, to flee so that he could not further implicate them. He said Fogarty, in his job as a probation officer, committed “a jaw-dropping and extraordinary breach of trust,” and is a flight risk.
* The rot appears to be quite widespread…
The daughter of a former St. Clair County judge was a co-defendant in a drug case against a man who federal prosecutors say provided heroin to another county judge, Michael Cook.
Katherine C. O’Malley, 33, of Belleville, the daughter of retired Circuit Judge Michael O’Malley, is listed as a co-defendant in the 2011 case of Sean McGilvery of Belleville, who was charged with possessing crack cocaine.
Cook, a longtime friend of McGilvery’s, ordered McGilvery to complete a drug treatment class, then dismissed the case.
O’Malley’s case has been expunged and is no longer listed in the circuit clerk’s records, but her attorney, Greg Skinner, said she was ordered to complete drug school, then Circuit Judge John Baricevic dismissed the case on May 23, 2012. It was the same punishment as McGilvery received.
* The US Attorney is expanding the probe…
U.S. Attorney Steve Wigginton told reporters the investigation into who else might be involved is “wide open,” and continues within St. Clair County Courthouse and beyond
* Did that federal probe include a local police chief, who killed himself?…
No one has implicated the late Caseyville police chief J.D. Roth as a suspect in a federal investigation, except Roth himself.
After his June 13 suicide, those close to him told Fairview Heights police that he had been depressed for months about an investigation.
Public records show Roth was arrested on May 8, when state police picked him up on two charges of official misconduct.
Roth shot himself in his back yard, at 9704 Avalon in Fairview Heights..
* Departing clerk Delaney faces action over bad debt
* Bound in handcuffs, Belleville woman is interrogated by FBI about Judge Michael Cook
* Judge grants Cook’s motion to continue trial on drug charge; Grand jury returns indictments of McGilvery, Fogarty
* Mothers of women who died from heroin blame Cook: ‘If (he’d) been doing his job …’
* ‘What’s the difference between him and me — the black robe?’: Former addict resents being sent to prison by Cook
* Fallout from Cook case: St. Clair County may expand drug testing
* Accused drug dealer at heart of courthouse scandal won’t go to rehab
* Steven McGlynn named to St. Clair County bench