Village officials in suburban Fox Lake have been granted the right to intervene in the pension case of disgraced Lt. Joseph Gliniewicz. Nearly nine months ago, Gliniewicz faked his own murder, in what was eventually deemed, an elaborately staged suicide.
The Lake County Major Crimes Task Force eventually concluded that Gliniewicz had staged the event, to cover up his own financial improprieties, involving the community's Police Explorer post.
"Gliniewicz committed the ultimate betrayal," said task force chief George Filenko, "to the citizens he served, and the entire law enforcement community."
Gliniewicz's wife Melodie wants his pension. But she was charged in January with a series of felony counts of conspiracy and misuse of charitable funds and money laundering, stemming from an alleged scheme with her late husband, to loot funds from the Explorer post.
She has denied wrongdoing and her case is pending in Lake County court.
"The applicant, you have the potential of receiving benefits from the same taxpayers she is accused of defrauding," Village attorney Yvette Heintzelman told the Pension Board at a hearing Wednesday. "Melodie Gliniewicz should not benefit from her own criminal conduct."
But Gliniewicz's lawyer noted that her criminal case was still pending, and urged the board not to wait until that process was resolved to rule on whether she will receive her late husband's pension.
"All of the allegations are just that, allegations," said attorney Brian Smith. "Melodie Gliniewicz has not been convicted of anything."
In the end, the pension board agreed to let the village intervene, meaning Gliniewicz can argue why she should get the money, and the village can potentially argue why she should not.
Observing the proceedings, Village Manager Anne Marrin said while the ugly saga is continuing to unfold, this tiny community is starting to bounce back from the scandal which made headlines worldwide.
"Indeed, I think we are going to live with that for quite a long time," she said. "I think we will get past it---it's going to take a while."
Noting a new community garden which is taking shape just outside the village hall, Marrin said she believed the town is coming together.
"I think the first year has been the worst," she said. "We're doing a lot of good things in trying to move this community forward."