St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly Thursday had a grand jury subpoena served on the village of Caseyville, relating to Police Chief J.D. Roth's purchase of a truck seized by the Police Department in a drug bust.
The subpoena served on the village seeks all documents and records pertaining to a 2003 Dodge Ram truck. The grand jury will review the document to determine whether criminal charges should be issued.
Mayor George Chance could not be reached for comment. Kelly declined to comment. Roth referred questions to his lawyers, Clyde and Justin Kuehn. They could not be reached for comment.
The felony offense listed on the subpoena is official misconduct and bid rigging. The agency requesting the documents is the St. Clair County Sheriff's Department.
According to copies of those documents obtained by the Belleville News-Democrat for a story published last month, Roth put 65,000 miles on the truck for personal and police use. He also charged the village more than $6,000 in maintenance for the vehicle, including parts and new tires.
State law dictates that property seized in drug cases is supposed to be sold or used for law enforcement purposes. The officers complained that Roth also claimed the vehicle for personal use.
The subpoena requests documents that include purchase records, sales records, appraisal notes, photographs and repair and service records and receipts for any equipment added to the vehicle and any board minutes, notes, letters and or emails related to the sale of the truck.
In 2010, the Village Board, under pressure from police officers who wanted the truck auctioned off, told Roth that instead of selling the truck, he could get bids from local car dealers; the board also voted to allow him unlimited use of a 2010 police car. Roth went to four car dealerships to obtain estimates of what they would pay for the truck.
In a notarized statement given on April 12, at the request of several Caseyville police officers, Jack Adams, owner of Crossroads Motors, said Roth came to him, "... seeking a bid on a 2003 Dodge Ram pickup for around $7,000 and I felt it was worth more than that at the time."
The statement continued: "He (Roth) told me that he would go see Brad Reno, a friend of his and a car dealer, to get a bid from him. I felt pretty uncomfortable with the situation."
Reno at the time was working at a dealership that was one of four that each made bid of about $7,300. One of the bids was submitted without actually seeing the truck, according to the documents.
The winning dealership sent the village a check for $7,500 in June 2010, according to Illinois Secretary of State records. Less than a month later, Roth purchased the truck from the dealership. The sale price from that transaction could not be determined.
State law prohibits individual public officials or employees from buying or benefiting from seized property.