Former Mayor Richard Daley, his family and members of his administration did not try to influence the investigation into the 2004 death of David Koschman, a special prosecutor concluded in a report released today.
The special prosecutor, Dan Webb, interviewed Daley, eight of his relatives and numerous others as part of a grand jury investigation into whether a Daley nephew, Richard “R.J.” Vanecko, received preferential treatment from Chicago police or Cook County prosecutors handling Koschman’s death. Read the report here.
Vanecko, 39, pleaded guilty Friday to involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 60 days in jail, followed by 60 days of home confinement and then 2 ½ years of probation. The guilty plea stemmed from his April 2004 confrontation with David Koschman in the Rush Street night light district, a verbal altercation that turned violent when the much larger Vanecko punched Koschman in the face, leaving him with injuries he died from 12 days later.
At issue in the report was how authorities handled the investigation into the incident, both at the time and when the case was reopened in 2011 after an investigation by the Chicago Sun-Times raised questions about whether police had intentionally concealed evidence because of Vanecko’s clout.
Former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, one of his top aides and others in Daley’s Chicago Police Department knew “shortly after the incident” that the mayor’s nephew was involved in the drunken confrontation that led to David Koschman’s death — even though police reports say detectives didn’t learn of the nephew’s involvement until 18 days later.
“According to Matthew Crowl [former mayoral deputy chief of staff for public safety], he was informed by someone at CPD of Mayor Daley’s nephew’s involvement in the incident on Division Street and immediately informed Mayor Daley in person of what he had heard,” according to a 162-page special prosecutor’s report released Tuesday about how police and prosecutors handled the case of Richard J. “R.J.” Vanecko, Daley’s nephew.
“While Crowl was uncertain of the exact date, he believed he became aware of the Koschman matter shortly after the incident,” the report continues. “It was not clear whether Mayor Daley was already aware of the incident when Crowl made the disclosure to him.”
In his interview with investigators for special prosecutor Dan K. Webb, Daley himself “did not recall Crowl advising him of the incident,” the report says.
Daley “stated that he learned about the Koschman incident ‘sometime’ after it occurred, although he was unable to say exactly when. Mayor Daley also stated that he had made it clear to his staff and the public that because he was Vanceko’s uncle, he had recused himself from any involvement in the Koschman matter.”