Crime & Courts

Crystal Lake attorney arrested in Cook County while on probation in separate case

Donald Franz, 52.
Donald Franz, 52.

A Crystal Lake lawyer on probation in McHenry County was detained in Chicago on a $10,000 bond after police said he threatened a member of the Illinois Attorney Registrations and Discipline Commission.

The felony charges stem from calls Donald Franz allegedly made to the ARDC on July 19 and 23, according to a criminal complaint filed in Cook County.

Franz, 52, was on probation for a recent McHenry County conviction when officers arrested him Tuesday on the Cook County charge.

Franz is accused of threatening an ARDC member in a voicemail that said, “You destroyed me, you filthy Democrat. Burn in hell. You started this fight, but I’m finishing it. I’m coming after you,” according to the Cook County complaint, which claimed to quote the voicemail verbatim.

Franz made a court appearance in Cook County on Thursday afternoon for a bond hearing, Tandra Simonton, chief of communications for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office said.

His next court appearance is scheduled for
Nov. 1.

It’s unclear whether Franz has hired an attorney to represent him on the matter.

Franz, of the 300 block of Dartmoor Court, pleaded guilty in December to failing to surrender his firearm owner’s identification card and obstructing a peace officer.

He’d previously been accused of challenging a client to a duel and sent threatening emails and voicemails to commission counsel Scott Renfroe and ARDC administrator Jerome Larkin.

Franz allegedly threatened to kill Larkin over the ARDC’s efforts to sanction him as recently as September 2016, according to the complaint.

He was arrested Jan. 19, 2017, when police responded to North Williams Street in Crystal Lake for the report of a drunken driver.

During a search of Franz’s house, officers found 36 high-powered rifles, assault-style rifles, shotguns, 20 assorted handguns and thousands of rounds of ammunition, authorities have said. Franz is believed to be a hunter.

Carroll County Judge Val Gunnarsson sentenced Franz to two years of probation, five days in the county jail and $2,345 in fines.

Franz no longer is authorized to practice law, according to the ARDC’s website, which claims Franz made a client sign a $10,000 promissory note and left several threatening voicemails.

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