Ex-Will coroner Tezak delays imprisonment
By Cindy Wojdyla Cain email@example.com August 26, 2013 10:18PM
Robert "Bobby" Tezak is escorted from the Will County Courthouse in this undated photo | Sun-Times Media file photo
Updated: September 29, 2013 6:29AM
A federal judge ruled Monday that former Will County Coroner Robert Tezak does not have to report to federal prison on Tuesday as previously ordered.
The judge granted a temporary stay on the order that Tezak, 65, a one-time millionaire Republican powerbroker in the county, begin serving a four-month sentence for failing to pay restitution related to two arson cases.
U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Kennelly reset Tezak’s reporting date to Sept. 5. That gives the government until Aug. 30 to respond to Tezak’s emergency motion, filed Monday, that seeks to delay his imprisonment until his appeal of the four-month sentence is resolved.
Tezak claimed he was surviving on only about $200 a month while he was actually driving a Mercedes, living in an upscale Phoenix community and racking up $380,000 in gambling winnings at Harrah’s Casino in Joliet on return visits to Illinois, according to a federal sentencing memorandum.
All the while, he failed to pay restitution and fines levied against him after he was convicted of two 1987 arsons, federal prosecutors said.
Tezak, who was Will County coroner from 1976 to 1988, went to prison for having two buildings he owned torched: the Galaxy Bowl in Crest Hill and the Private Industry Council building in downtown Joliet.
He pleaded guilty to federal charges for the bowling alley fire in 1994 and was convicted on state charges stemming from the PIC building fire in 1996. Tezak was released from a federal prison in 2002 and from home confinement in October 2003.
But Kennelly ordered Tezak back to prison after learning in May that Tezak had violated the conditions of his supervisory release by not paying restitution or the fine.
Tezak owed about $1.2 million in restitution and fines after his convictions, an amount that has ballooned to $3.37 million because of accrued interest on the unpaid fine, according to the sentencing memo.
In a 2003 newspaper interview, Tezak, who once owned the rights to the UNO card game and a race car that won the Indianapolis 500 in 1990, said he was worth $40 million at the peak of his career. He blamed much of his downfall on a cocaine addiction.
In 2005, he contended that he had paid all of his restitution and the fines pending against him were dismissed by a bankruptcy court judge. But the sentencing memo says many of the checks sent for restitution were not valid and could not be cashed.
Tezak’s attorney, Daniel Radakovich, of Chicago, was allowed to withdraw from the case on July 30, and Tezak now is representing himself.