Oak Forest couple pleads not guilty t...

Oak Forest couple pleads not guilty to felony theft, other charges

There are 80 comments on the The Southtown Star story from Feb 7, 2014, titled Oak Forest couple pleads not guilty to felony theft, other charges. In it, The Southtown Star reports that:

An Oak Forest couple accused of filching more than $350,000 in public funds from the Palos Heights Fire Department appeared in a Cook County courtroom on Friday and pleaded not guilty to various charges against them.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at The Southtown Star.

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Clean House

Forest Park, IL

#1 Feb 7, 2014
Alderman Toland.... you don't think Charlie Sopko had a part in this thievery?? He must be a good friend of yours for you to throw yourself in his corner like this. I hope you don't have the same moral standards that Sopko has or that makes me think this corruption is business as usual in this town.
You should be more concerned about whether this couple robbed Oak Forest in the past. I have a feeling you are not to motivated to do some digging on this subject??
2 Buck Chuck

Chicago, IL

#2 Feb 7, 2014
Well, Chuckles does mortgage loans, so that outta tell you something.
W T F

Chicago, IL

#3 Feb 8, 2014
Forest

Tinley Park, IL

#4 Feb 8, 2014
Tolands response is so insulting to the common person. This is just what's being put out and it's early. They both will plead guilty and the ignorance and extravagant life style will get them both some time, even in CRook. County.
Resident

Chicago, IL

#5 Feb 8, 2014
You can kiss Tolands chance of reelection down the city sewer for endorsing this crook. I hope residents of his ward give him the heave ho ASAP.
Clean House

Forest Park, IL

#6 Feb 8, 2014
The most demoralizing thing is that most people in city hall think the same way as Toland. Except they are wiser and know it would be smart not to advertise their support for a crook. They are one big happy family, clique, and they are all sad that Uncle Charlie got busted.
I could picture them all partying at Uncle Charlies decked out pad smoking Cuban cigars and drinking only the finest spirits. I could picture them laughing, celebrating, about their corrupt and prestigious endeavors. They are brazen. They feel entitled to abuse their positions to benefit their pockets and inner circle. Why are they so brazen?? When you get away with stuff for a long time you get bolder.
As a homeowner in O.F., we all have a lot invested here, I feel these people are not concerned with the future of the town. They all have to go.
Interesting

United States

#7 Feb 8, 2014
So who made the decision to stop paying him and when? Is this something the council should have voted on? Why didn't we hear about this? Did I miss something? Hope the AG or the BGA is looking into that. This should have been voted on/discussed on the council floor during a meeting. What else is being voted on behind closed doors? Talk about lack of transparency. Can a mayor be impeached? If they are voting on things in closed session, they all need to be replaced. That's sad, I really had hopes for Hortsman, disappointing he would let that happen and keep quiet about it.
9 computers? Why? Are any of those City property? Where did the $18,000 come from? Wonder if the mother in law is going to end up being tied into this.
Say what you want about Toland, at least he has the guts to say what his opinion is. Have to respect him on some level. I can't believe they are entertaining Sopko returning to work. He is so unstable, apparently more so than his wife, he almost passes out in court, and they are going to put him in a position where he holds other's lives in his hands? Have they considered the liability? Not only for the public but for Sopko. No way his mind is going to be on his job. Even if they restrict him from access to the public he could injure himself while on duty because his mind is preoccupied, understandably so. Hopefully no other City employee gets arrested, are they setting a precedent here where we are going to have to keep people on the payroll or let them return to work? If they do it for one, they should do it for all. Have they considered how this could affect the other fire men's ability to do their job? It has to already be a distraction, his presence would only make it worse. Only in Oak Forest. How long is this case going to take? After this one concludes, I'm sure the IRS has one of their own. Maybe he just needs access to City Hall to try to get information from his cop friend that gave him the heads up.
Baffling that she would please not guilty. You'd think she'd be trying to cut a deal and not take more taxpayer money and maybe get a lighter sentence. If she didn't divert funds from her employers account into theirs who did? Maybe give them information that he did know about it.
W T F wrote:
http://southtownstar.suntimes. com/news/25443754-418/oak-fore st-couple-pleads-not-guilty-to -felony-theft-other-charges.ht ml
Sam

United States

#8 Feb 8, 2014
Wonder if the city's Sam card payed for any of those computers or that popcorn machine? Didn't the park district use to have a popcorn machine? Do they still? Spent more on entertainment than they did on food. What exactly is a "crime enterprise"?
Who knew

United States

#9 Feb 8, 2014
He has a forgery charge too? It was in the paper that she forged someone's signature, is this the same instance they charged him with or does this mean he actually signed someone else's name? I really hope for his sake, Toland is right.
Yuuppp

Tinley Park, IL

#10 Feb 8, 2014
Not guilty for sure! Probably never noticed the extra cash in the account and never balanced their account. Toland is a great guy. And Ishler should be in court on the city dime. Really?
Reallllllllly

Chicago, IL

#11 Feb 9, 2014
Wondering if Toland draws enough attention to himself, will he too be be investigated??

While investigators are working this case I hope they dig really deep at the park district. Not necessarily a Charlie thing but Many, many irregularities there -and leadership that could care less about the taxpayers.
SOS

Tinley Park, IL

#12 Feb 9, 2014
Never should have supended without pay. He has rights, as others do. He will ultimately plead or be found guilty. Then they should fire him. But he will be given the option to retire before the case goes to trial. Jason Danellion won't take this crap to trial. But suspending him without pay is punishment before there is a disposition. Per the Open Meetings Act, employee disciplinary issues can be heard in executive session, which can be closed to the public. I'm just wondering if any of these old time, stubborn Council members have consulted with the city attorney. They may say they don't believe Charlie is guilty out of friendship, but like everyone else, they know he's guilty.
Resident

Tinley Park, IL

#13 Feb 9, 2014
Ald Toland thinks his buddy is innocent, what a fool.. Remember that around election time.
Bizness as usual

Chicago, IL

#14 Feb 9, 2014
Hoping the council has a firm legal opinion on the pay issue. Cannot believe an alderman would weigh in on guilt or innocence though. Dumb move Chuckles. Maybe 1 too many bartending at OBriens when he said that? What was Ishler doing at hearing? Anyone who thinks Sopko didn't realize there was a lot of extra money coming in even after his wife was fired is incredibly naïve. The city better not give this guy a pension like Kelly gave Laycoax but then she is treasurer now so maybe she can help out one of her old buddies too. Only 2 on that council who ever vote no on anything or even ask questions.
Who knew

United States

#15 Feb 9, 2014
This is different than Laycoax, so far. Laycoax stole from the city nothing yet indicates Charlie did, so why wouldn't he get his pension?
Bizness as usual wrote:
Hoping the council has a firm legal opinion on the pay issue. Cannot believe an alderman would weigh in on guilt or innocence though. Dumb move Chuckles. Maybe 1 too many bartending at OBriens when he said that? What was Ishler doing at hearing? Anyone who thinks Sopko didn't realize there was a lot of extra money coming in even after his wife was fired is incredibly naïve. The city better not give this guy a pension like Kelly gave Laycoax but then she is treasurer now so maybe she can help out one of her old buddies too. Only 2 on that council who ever vote no on anything or even ask questions.
Marcos

United States

#16 Feb 9, 2014
SOS wrote:
Never should have supended without pay. He has rights, as others do. He will ultimately plead or be found guilty. Then they should fire him. But he will be given the option to retire before the case goes to trial. Jason Danellion won't take this crap to trial. But suspending him without pay is punishment before there is a disposition. Per the Open Meetings Act, employee disciplinary issues can be heard in executive session, which can be closed to the public. I'm just wondering if any of these old time, stubborn Council members have consulted with the city attorney. They may say they don't believe Charlie is guilty out of friendship, but like everyone else, they know he's guilty.
Rights ok... come to work and be paid.... ooooops can't? Then you don't get paid..... simple enough
Who knew

United States

#17 Feb 9, 2014
Employee disciplinary issues can be "heard" in executive session, however, to make any decision on whether he is suspended, paid or not paid, requires a vote. Votes must take place in open session.
SOS wrote:
Never should have supended without pay. He has rights, as others do. He will ultimately plead or be found guilty. Then they should fire him. But he will be given the option to retire before the case goes to trial. Jason Danellion won't take this crap to trial. But suspending him without pay is punishment before there is a disposition. Per the Open Meetings Act, employee disciplinary issues can be heard in executive session, which can be closed to the public. I'm just wondering if any of these old time, stubborn Council members have consulted with the city attorney. They may say they don't believe Charlie is guilty out of friendship, but like everyone else, they know he's guilty.
Who knew

United States

#18 Feb 9, 2014
Being suspended without pay upon arrest is nothing new nor uncommon for government employees. Happens all the time. I don't recall the exact verbiage and I'm too lazy to look it up now, but I believe the city is protected against any liability from taking this action because they did so
In good faith trusting the investigative authority. As I said I can't remember exactly how I read it but it was something like that. Here's a Frankfort cop that was suspended without pay upon his arrest, before his conviction. Doesn't make it right or wrong, just saying.......

http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/mobile/2538...
SOS wrote:
Never should have supended without pay. He has rights, as others do. He will ultimately plead or be found guilty. Then they should fire him. But he will be given the option to retire before the case goes to trial. Jason Danellion won't take this crap to trial. But suspending him without pay is punishment before there is a disposition. Per the Open Meetings Act, employee disciplinary issues can be heard in executive session, which can be closed to the public. I'm just wondering if any of these old time, stubborn Council members have consulted with the city attorney. They may say they don't believe Charlie is guilty out of friendship, but like everyone else, they know he's guilty.
Someone knew

Chicago, IL

#20 Feb 9, 2014
Mr. Sopko should be paid and kept on leave until resolution. O.K. to go to city hall for dicussions about his employment is improper & unethical at this point. I'm sure he got a phone. It all goes with the situation that the city is forced to deal with. Letting him back to work should be off the table if there are any ethics left in this city government. City/Park officials and city employees keeping him informed of State's Attorney investigation of him infers, to me, there is more contamination of some type somewhere in this whole saga ! That is unfortunate for all of us. City hall team seems to be more concerned with defending Mr.Sopko than about their honesty and integrity with the residents. Transparent and ethical haven't been words that go well with describing Oak Forest government in the past. I honestly wonder if mayor and the rest of the council realizes how insulting it is to us having your people defend those under indictment ???
Marcos

United States

#21 Feb 9, 2014
Who knew wrote:
Being suspended without pay upon arrest is nothing new nor uncommon for government employees. Happens all the time. I don't recall the exact verbiage and I'm too lazy to look it up now, but I believe the city is protected against any liability from taking this action because they did so
In good faith trusting the investigative authority. As I said I can't remember exactly how I read it but it was something like that. Here's a Frankfort cop that was suspended without pay upon his arrest, before his conviction. Doesn't make it right or wrong, just saying.......
http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/mobile/2538...
<quoted text>
He's an at will employee just like all other non union employees .... show up or don't get paid ... just saying.

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