Convicted Crestwood chief may resign Thursday
BY CASEY TONER email@example.com May 1, 2013 11:14PM
Former Crestwood water official Theresa Neubauer leaves Dirksen Federal Building following guilty verdict with Attorney Thomas Breen, Monday, April 29, 2013 | John H. White~Sun-Times
Three new trustees are set to be sworn in during Thursday’s Crestwood Village Board meeting.
William Pieroth, Daniel Jurka and Anthony Benigo were elected April 9 as members of the Independence Party slate that also included Mayor-elect Lou Presta.
Presta, who will be sworn in as mayor Thursday night, said he plans to appoint Linda Madlener to fill his seat on the board at an upcoming meeting.
Presta will take over from Robert Stranczek, who succeeded his father, longtime Mayor Chester Stranczek, as mayor in 2007.
Updated: June 3, 2013 3:25PM
Crestwood Police Chief Theresa Neubauer, who was convicted Monday of 11 counts of lying repeatedly to state regulators while head of the village water department, may resign Thursday, village officials said.
They said the resignation may occur at the village board meeting, which is scheduled for 8 p.m. at village hall, 13840 Cicero Ave.
Trustee Lou Presta, who will be sworn in as mayor during the meeting, said the village stopped paying Neubauer on Monday following her conviction by a federal court jury in Chicago. She had been on paid leave since being indicted in August 2011.
Neubauer, 55, and former water operator Frank Scaccia were charged for their roles in a cover-up regarding Crestwood’s use of tainted well water in its drinking supply for 22 years until 2007. Scaccia, 61, who stopped working for the village in 2008, pleaded guilty April 11 to one count of providing false statements.
Presta said Neubauer was told to submit a letter of resignation and to not come to work after she was convicted. He refused to say why the board is not firing her in light of her felony convictions.
“Take it any way you want,” Presta said, adding that if Neubauer does not resign as chief, trustees will dismiss her.
“The jury spoke, and you have to let justice take its course,” he said. “The jury did its job, and we have to live with it and move on.”
Presta said the village will attempt to recoup the roughly $350,000 it spent on the legal defense of Neubauer and Scaccia once they are sentenced and if they lose their appeals. He declined to talk about the water scandal, citing pending lawsuits against Crestwood.
Trustee John Toscas, who lost a heated mayoral election to Presta in April, was more forthright when it came to Neubauer being found guilty.
“I have no respect for her, and I’m glad she was convicted,” Toscas said. “I wish everybody else involved with it (the well water scheme) was also convicted.”
Federal prosecutors alleged during Neubauer’s trial that former Mayor Chester Stranczek and other village officials along with Neubauer and Scaccia schemed to tap into the contaminated well after the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency ordered the village to shut it down. Stranczek, 82, who has Parkinson’s disease and lives in Florida, was not charged in the case.
Crestwood faces more than 100 lawsuits filed by 250 current and former residents who claim they developed cancer, tumors, immune system disorders and other serious health problems from drinking the water for so many years.
The village also has been sued by the Illinois attorney general’s office, a case that’s expected to move more quickly now that Neubauer’s trial has ended.
A message left Wednesday for Neubauer’s attorney was not returned.