Illinois State Police audit shows $2.3 million went missing
Illinois State Police are facing audits showing $2.3 million is missing as lawmakers seek answers about old computers and late firearms IDs. Also, lawsuits and an indictment outline theft and sex harassment claims at the agency managing troopers.
New audits and an indictment from Sangamon County reveal recurring instances of financial mismanagement within the Illinois State Police.
State Police couldn’t provide a purpose for $2.3 million in unknown activity in a review of compliance audits reviewed Dec. 9 by the Legislative Audit Commission. There were 32 adverse findings, including auditors’ inability to find 92% of the equipment they sought including items containing confidential information.
ISP director Brendan Kelly pointed to staffing issues as the cause. State Rep. Fred Crespo, D-Hoffman Estates, said the solution is rearranging agency duties such as investigating Medicaid fraud.
“Move those responsibilities from the state police over to the [Attorney General’s] office with the hopes that you can get more people to do the work that you need to be done in your department,” Crespo said.
State Rep. Mark Batinick, R-Plainfield, said he noticed ISP computers were equipped with Windows 7, which was released in 2009. Findings also showed agency manuals haven’t been updated since 2000.
Additionally, the ISP website experienced a data breach of gun owner ID information for over 2,000 Illinoisans. The breach came after the audit was concluded.
State Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, highlighted the widespread delays for Firearm Owner’s Identification cards. He said 87% of FOID applicants experienced delays, some of up to a year.
Rose said there exists a double standard between constituents and troopers.
“If a trooper pulls them over on the streets, they’re expected to answer that ticket in compliance with the law,” Rose said. “But then the same agency that’s expecting the citizen to follow the traffic laws isn’t following its own law in response to the timeline of issuing FOID and [Concealed Carry Licenses].”
Simultaneously, the Merit Board that oversees trooper personnel matters is at the center of a legal battle between former Director Jack Garcia and Jenny Thornley, former Board CFO and personnel director.
Thornley originally sued Garcia for sexual harassment and assault in the spring and alleged the Merit Board terminated her because of the accusations.
Garcia is countersuing Thornley in federal court, claiming she made false sexual assault claims and used her ties to Gov. J.B. Pritzker to remove Garcia.
Thornley is currently under indictment on charges made by Garcia that she falsified payroll records to include overtime hours she never worked, allegedly forging Garcia’s signature on payroll documents.
“… This litigation is not about sexual assault or sexual harassment,” Garcia wrote. “Instead, it is about the discovery of Plaintiff Jenny Thornley’s ongoing scheme to defraud the State of tens of thousands of dollars.”
Garcia claimed the sexual assault accusation was retaliation to prevent Thornley from being terminated for falsifying payroll records.
Thornley claims the opposite happened: that Garcia only reported her for false overtime because he sexually harassed her.
When the Merit Board heard both sides of the story, they brought in an outside investigator who found no evidence of Thornley’s claims. That lead to her indictment and termination.
Thornley asserts the investigation was a sham conducted by Garcia’s allies. She’s asking the court to order the defendants to pay her unspecified damages, back pay, interest and attorney fees.
Thornley hasn’t responded to Garcia’s counterclaim, and a federal judge has given her until Jan. 18 to do so.