McHenry County state's attorney's investigation of Bob Miller: The allegations

The McHenry County state’s attorney’s probe of former Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner Bob Miller’s time in office has concluded.

After nearly seven months of investigation, a flurry of misconduct allegations and hundreds of hours sifting through documents and interviewing witnesses, McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally declined to prosecute Miller, who spent 24 years as highway commissioner in McHenry County’s most populous township.

After passes from the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office, Illinois State Police, U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Illinois attorney general, the investigation did not find enough evidence to prosecute Miller beyond a reasonable doubt.

In a 52-page, single-spaced report, Kenneally outlined the allegations against Miller and how the state’s attorney’s office determined there would be no charges.

Miller stood accused of a “convulsion” of accusations, including that he wiped public data from his government computer, made illegal payments to his employees and used taxpayer dollars to pay for women’s clothing, restaurant visits and tickets to Disneyland.

In every case, Kenneally concluded there was no evidence to prosecute.

Here’s a look at the other allegations:

Miller unlawfully bought and sold street sweepers in 2017. 

In early 2017, the highway department bought a new street sweeper.

“Miller did not evidently violate any of the bidding procedures,” Kenneally said. “Rather, the solicitation for bids was appropriately published, [and] the bids were appropriately received and processed.”

Miller also sold a street sweeper bought in 2012.

“The sale of the street sweeper appears lawful,” Kenneally said.

Miller was improperly paid unused sick time.

On April 12, 2017, Miller demanded $47,381.84 in unused sick pay.

He recently had lost his office to Andrew Gasser in the February election. The township board approved the lump sum payout.

The Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund does not prohibit a government from paying out unused sick time, Kenneally said.

“We are unable to find any law or other authority conclusively prohibiting Miller from receiving sick pay,” Kenneally wrote.

During Miller’s tenure as highway commissioner, he registered his personal vehicles on the department’s I-PASS account.

Kenneally characterized the center of these allegations as “more political horseplay than a crime.”

“The I-PASS account was registered in Miller’s name,” Kenneally wrote. “After Miller left office, the I-PASS account was not immediately adjusted by any road district official to remove Miller as the registered account holder, remove his personal vehicles or change the passwords.”

Gasser initiated those changes in July 2017 – almost two months after Miller left office.

Miller improperly supplied the Illinois Railway Museum with highway department salt. 

In 2014, Dave Diamond, director of the Illinois Railway Museum, emailed Miller asking whether the highway commissioner could donate “a load of salt” for the museum’s annual Christmas event.

“Yes, Dave,” Miller responded, “we would like to make that donation again.”

The amount totaled between 6 and 7 yards of salt, a monetary value of $300 to $500, according to the report.

“While it is true that taxpayers in Algonquin Township may have been deprived of the benefit of a few of the thousands of yards of salt ordered each year,” Kenneally wrote, “this did not risk or result in a shortage of salt or jeopardize road safety.”

There is no evidence that Miller received any kickback, campaign donation or other favor, Kenneally said.

“There is no evidence that Miller had any ulterior motive beyond his desire to modestly assist a nonprofit organization in making a public event for children and families a success,” Kenneally said.

Miller improperly bought two plane tickets to New Orleans in 2008 for individuals not employed by the highway department.

Township records revealed that in July 2008, the highway department used a government credit card to buy two plane tickets to New Orleans.

The names on those tickets were Rebecca Lee, Miller’s daughter, and who is believed to be her child. Township officials approved the purchase of those tickets.

Supervisor Charles Lutzow told an investigator that the township often would pay for the plane tickets of family members to accompany employees during travel to work-related conferences.

“We are hard-pressed to recognize any public benefit derived from using taxpayer money to purchase plane tickets for family members of public employees,” Kenneally wrote. “However, this matter was not pursued further as, even if the spending amounts to a criminal offense, it is beyond the statute of limitations.”

Kenneally could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Miller or anyone else authorized the purchase of plane tickets in an unauthorized manner.

“Rather, the purchase was explicitly authorized and approved by the township board,” Kenneally wrote.

Miller bought a Ford F-250 with township funds without following the appropriate bidding procedures and, thereafter, retained the truck after leaving office.

The allegation was unfounded.

“There is no indication that at any time this vehicle was owned by [the] Algonquin Township road district or purchased with road district or township funds,” Kenneally wrote.

Miller bought equipment in 2015 in violation of competitive bidding procedures. 

In 2015, the Algonquin Township Highway Department bought two John Deere tractors and two rotary cutters.

The purchases were competitively bid out March 14, 2014, the investigation found.

“The allegation is unfounded,” Kenneally wrote.

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