Will County sheriff’s top aide suspended while state cop
By Casey Toner email@example.com January 21, 2014 9:46PM
Updated: February 23, 2014 6:46AM
Will County’s chief deputy sheriff was disciplined in 2002, while an Illinois State Police captain, for pressuring a subordinate to go along with a plan to make money for them and for giving false statements to investigators, according to state police records.
Ken Kaupas was suspended without pay for 10 days in May 2002 for pushing a plan that would pay him $1 an hour for recruiting other state police employees to help transcribe audio recordings made during the course of state police investigations, records indicate.
Kaupas is a Republican candidate for county sheriff in the March 18 primary election and is a cousin of Sheriff Paul Kaupas, who is not seeking re-election.
The state police report on Kaupas’ penalty says he pressured state police administrative assistant Karen Larson in late 2001 to enter into a business arrangement that would allow more transcriptions to be done while earning money for the two of them.
Larson was paid $18 per hour to transcribe the recordings, and Kaupas proposed having other employees under his supervision do transcriptions, according to the records. They say Kaupas suggested that Larson pay each worker $15 per hour, keep $2 per hour for herself and pay Kaupas $1 per hour.
The report says Larson was reluctant to enter into the arrangement but felt obligated to do so because of Kaupas’ position as one of her supervisors. It’s not clear from the records as to how top state police officials learned of the would-be scheme.
Kaupas told the SouthtownStar he never received any money from the plan nor “agreed to a business relationship” with Larson, whom he described as a family friend. He said he did not pressure Larson, characterizing their conversations as two friends talking.
“I was wrong in that as a captain, I should not have engaged in that sort of conversation with somebody who worked for me regardless of whether they were a friend or not,” Kaupas said. “It was inappropriate.”
Larson declined to comment for this story.
Records show that Kaupas was disciplined for using his position as captain for personal gain, failing to truthfully answer questions about the transcribing business, urging Larson to conceal information and making false statements to investigators and in a memo explaining his actions.
Kaupas also spoke to Larson twice during the state police investigation into the matter, disobeying an order from his supervisor, according to the records.
Kaupas said he was moved into the state police’s District 16 headquarters in Pecatonia during the investigation and spoke to Larson briefly once when he dropped off a cellphone at the office where she worked.
“I said hello, and I asked how she was doing,” he said. “The investigation as I understood it was over with.”
Kaupas said he did not know why the report says he made false statements in the memo.
“I, to this day, scratch my head as to what portion of whatever was a lie,” he said. “I don’t frankly know.”
The state police report says Kaupas was later transferred to the state police operations division in Springfield. He retired from the force in July 2009 and became the Will County sheriff’s spokesman in December 2010. He was appointed deputy chief the following month.
“I understand that some voters will look at this and question my character,” Kaupas said. “I would just ask for people’s considerations, and I think that at the same time we all have made a mistake or two in our lives.”