An alleged fight took place May 4 between Lakewood Village President Phil Stephan and Trustee Bryan Younge, according to a report from the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office.
According to the report, Stephan “chest-bumped” Younge, something the village president denied doing in an interview with the Northwest Herald.
According to the sheriff’s office report, the sheriff’s deputy who responded to the call to Lakewood’s Village Hall spoke with Police Chief Todd Richardson when he first arrived. The sheriff’s deputy was told that the village was requesting a standby while village officials terminated Chief Administrative Officer Jeannine Smith, as it could be a conflict of interest between the Lakewood Police Department and Village Hall.
Stephan told the Northwest Herald in a phone call Tuesday afternoon that it had been Younge who had wanted to fire Smith. However, trustees cannot fire chief administrative officers, and Smith is not being terminated, Stephan said.
“[Younge] maybe overstepped his bounds,” Stephan said.
Trustee Doug Ulrich said, although he can’t speak for all trustees, many of them had not heard about Younge’s wanting to fire Smith.
Ulrich said Younge, in this instance, was working unilaterally.
Younge declined to comment on the altercation.
When the sheriff’s deputy entered Village Hall, several people were yelling at each other, according to the report, and Richardson was trying to separate all parties involved.
“I was able to determine from all the yelling, a village trustee may have pushed the village president,” the sheriff’s deputy wrote in his report.
After separating all parties to different rooms, the sheriff’s deputy spoke to Younge. Younge said he was talking to village attorney Michael Smoron when Stephan walked in and started talking. Younge, according to the report, said he was going to finish what he had to say, so he stepped in front of Stephan and continued to speak with Smoron.
“Stephan then chest bumped Younge in his back,” according to the police report.
Younge chose not to pursue charges, and refused to complete a written statement.
Stephan, according to the report, told the sheriff’s deputy that he is the village president and “the only one that has the right to speak with the village attorney.”
Stephan claimed, in the report, that while speaking with Smoron, Younge entered the room yelling and pushed in front of him. Stephan also did not press charges or complete a written statement about the incident.
Smoron was “hesitant” to speak to the sheriff’s deputy, according to the report, and could not say who the aggressor in the fight was.
A village employee, who was walking in front of the building to retrieve checks left in the village payment box, said she observed Stephan drive into the parking lot “aggressively kicking up gravel.”
From what the employee observed, Stephan parked and exited his vehicle on the southwest corner of the lot. Stephan approached the police chief, according to the report, who also was on the southwest corner of the parking lot, and demanded the chief tell him what was going on.
When Richardson explained it was a “confidential conversation” between him and a trustee, Stephan started yelling “I appointed you,” and “You want to square up?” at the chief, according to the report.
After this, when speaking to the sheriff’s deputy about his conversation, Stephan just said he was “disappointed” in the chief.
Stephan said he did not chest-bump Younge. Instead, Stephan said what happened was that when he walked over to Smoron, Younge “hip-checked” him.
“Someone bumped into me. Did he do it on purpose? Of course he did,” Stephan said. “Did he probably regret his actions? Absolutely.”
Stephan said he didn’t press charges because the incident was “no big deal,” though pointed to Trustee Doug Ulrich as a witness.
“I don’t think it was anything,” Stephan said. “I truly don’t.”
Ulrich, who was in the room during the altercation, said to the Northwest Herald that Younge took a step in front of Stephan and hit him with his backside.
“It was a heated situation,” Ulrich said.