Dixmoor trustee indicted on misconduct, forgery, theft charges
BY CASEY TONER firstname.lastname@example.org October 29, 2012 4:16PM
Updated: December 1, 2012 6:24AM
Fifteen dollars worth of gas can only get you so far.
But it can get you into deep trouble.
It got Dixmoor Trustee Michael Smith indicted earlier this month on three counts of official misconduct, two counts of forgery, and two counts of theft, according to court records and police.
Dixmoor Police Chief Lanell Gilbert said Smith impersonated a village police officer to put $15 worth of gas in his car at a Mobil Gas Station in Harvey in April 2011. Dixmoor employees allowed to gas up there include only police, fire and public works employees.
To complete the deal, Gilbert said Smith also signed a document at the station claiming he was a police officer.
A gas station clerk who was suspicious of Gilbert called the village, which alerted the Dixmoor police. Dixmoor police investigated the alleged gas theft before handing the case over to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.
Smith, 23 — who still plans to run for re-election — is next due in court before Judge Dennis Porter on Nov. 15 at the Cook County Criminal Courts Building in Chicago.
“It bothers me because the citizens voted him in and trusted him to be a steward of the community,” Gilbert said of Smith. “He betrayed their trust. Dixmoor is a poor town and with the money we do have, we can barely make ends meet to operate the day-to-day operations of the village.”
But Smith said Monday he believes the incident is over “something petty.”
“The mayor (Keevan Grimmett) is trying to make me look bad and defame my character,” he said.
Smith, elected to the Dixmoor board four years ago when he was a Thornton Township High School senior, plans to run for re-election in April regardless of the indictment.
“I’m not worried about (the indictment) because it’s a political attack,” Smith said. “The people have trust in me; since I’ve been elected I’ve been doing a good job. There’s no worries as to what’s going on.”
Smith referred to his being indicted as a “frame job.”
Grimmett denied having any role in the matter and encouraged Smith to take responsibility.
“He’s just a very emotionally troubled young man, and hopefully he’ll be able to get the help that he needs,” Grimmett said.
In March 2011, Smith was charged with resisting arrest and driving without a license, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. He claimed he was unfairly targeted and physically assaulted by the arresting officer.
Smith said at the time that he was stopped — outside his grandmother’s house at 146th Street and Cooper Avenue — because he was investigating what he believed to be the mismanagement of village funds and other incidents, including the repossession of a fire truck.
But Dixmoor police disagreed, saying the then-20-year-old was arrested for refusing to retreat to his vehicle when ordered when he was questioned about a suspended license.
Smith said Monday those charges were dropped.
Contributing: Sun-Times Media Wire