County Wants to Take Burr Oak Cemetery to Court

Lawsuit seeks to recover investigation costs

In an effort to recoup some of the costs incurred by the sheriff department's ongoing investigation into the desecration at Alsip's Burr Oak Cemetery, members of the Cook County Board on Tuesday voted to sue the cemetery's owners.

About $350,000 has been spent on the investigation so far, Sheriff Tom Dart said at an afternoon press conference, primarily in overtime costs and materials.

And while the sheriff's office has it's own budget and has funds allocated for big projects, when that money is exhausted, additional taxpayer dollars could be tapped.  CBS 2 reported last week that the office's manpower committment is more than 100 people.

County workers helping with crime-scene logistics under the Emergency Management Department also is racking up overtime, Dart said.  They're the ones supplying the portable toilets, tents, the fencing, air conditioning units, generators, and all the supplies needed to host an investigation off this site on the cemetery site.

Dart told the board that he doesn't expect to freely hand over to the court-appointed receiver, Roman Szabelski, the cemetery records that his office has organized

"He is going to have to pay for that," Dart said.  "I am not going to hand that information over to him.  It would be inappropriate for me to do so. That is something he needs to reimburse the county for the hours it took to put the cemetery's record in the proper order."

Cook County President Todd Stroger has called the situation at Burr Oak the largest crime scene in state history.  Four people have been charged in the elaborate off-the-books scheme.

The cemetery remains closed while FBI agents and sheriff's workers attempt to bring order to the situation.

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