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Attorney General receives, reviewing Bianchi complaint
By Charles Keeshan | Daily Herald Staff

Louis Bianchi

 

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Published: 10/23/2007 12:31 PM | Updated: 10/23/2007 1:13 PM

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A complaint accusing the McHenry County State's Attorney's office of illegal activities is in the hands of the Illinois Attorney General's office, an agency spokesman confirmed this morning.

Spokesman Robyn Ziegler said today she could not disclose the exact nature of the complaint or who made it, but indicated the office would examine it to determine whether the claims merit a full-scale investigation into the actions of State"s Attorney Louis Bianchi.

"We are currently reviewing the complaint," Ziegler said.

The formal allegations arrived at the Attorney General's office late Monday, four days after Bianchi rival Bill LeFew made the request for an investigation public while resigning his post as chairman of the McHenry County Republican Party.

LeFew, who also serves as the county treasurer, said he believes he would have an ethical conflict of interest working as the party's chairman if the complaint launches an investigation requiring him to hand over financial documents concerning Bianchi"s office.

Bianchi last week called LeFew's announcement a "political stunt" aimed at embarrassing him months ahead of his re-election bid in the February primaries. LeFew is supporting Bianchi challenger Dan Regna for the GOP"s nomination as state"s attorney.

The complaint, according LeFew, alleges Bianchi's office misappropriated petty cash funds since he took office in December 2004. A similar complaint, LeFew said, was sent to the Chicago Crime Commission, but an official with the agency has declined comment on that claim.

Last month the Daily Herald, using records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, revealed that since December 2004 Bianchi's office obtained more than $17,000 in taxpayer-funded reimbursements for candy, soda, ice cream, cookies, coffee, meals and other items. Some of the reimbursements were for poinsettias for employees at Christmas, food for Bianchi's swearing-in luncheon and a new briefcase for himself.

Bianchi has defended the spending as legitimate business expenses and minuscule compared to what his office has saved the county through policy changes and courtroom victories.