BGA Sues To Get Koschman Records

Special Prosecutor Dan Webb, Emanuel administration refuse to turn over documents related to Koschman/Vanecko investigation, so Better Government Association takes them to court.

Contacts:
Matthew Topic (773) 368-8812
Robert Herguth (312) 821-9030

CHICAGO—A special prosecutor investigation into the 2004 killing of David Koschman by ex-Mayor Richard M. Daley’s nephew Richard "R.J." Vanecko is finished.

Vanecko pleaded guilty last year to a manslaughter charge and served time in jail.

But numerous questions still remain, including: How thorough was the probe by Special Prosecutor Dan Webb?

The Better Government Association sought an answer by submitting a request for Koschman-related records to Webb and various city departments, including the Chicago Police Department and Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office.

Among other things, the BGA sought the names of those interviewed by Webb’s office, and copies of subpoenas, emails and "any and all statements by and communications with Daley family members and their attorneys."

They all refused our requests, submitted under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, the state law known as FOIA that guarantees public access to public documents.

Believing that Webb’s office and city agencies violated FOIA by refusing to turn over records, the BGA sued them on March 12, 2015, in Cook County Circuit Court.

"There was a strong suspicion that people in the Chicago Police Department and Cook County state’s attorney’s office may have rigged earlier, initial investigations into the Koschman death to protect Vanecko," said BGA President and CEO Andy Shaw. "Yet nobody else was ultimately charged with a crime except Vanecko."

"We commend Mr. Webb for taking on this case, but we have a right to know who was interviewed by his office and who was not, who was subpoenaed and who was not. In short, how far did this probe reach – and did it reach far enough?"

The BGA supported the appointment of a special prosecutor, and filed an amicus brief on the matter in 2012. This all followed a series of stories in the Chicago Sun-Times that highlighted irregularities with how the original Koschman/Vanecko investigations were handled by police and prosecutors.

Here’s a link to all BGA legal actions.

The Better Government Association is a Chicago-based nonprofit, nonpartisan watchdog group that works for integrity, transparency and accountability in government by exposing corruption and inefficiency; identifying and advocating effective public policy; and engaging and mobilizing the public to achieve authentic and responsible reform.