Caseyville police chief faces misconduct charges

News-DemocratMay 8, 2013 

Caseyville Police Chief J.D. Roth was charged Wednesday with two counts of official misconduct.

Roth, of Fairview Heights, posted $40,000 bail and was released from the St. Clair County Jail.

"I won't comment," Roth said when reached by phone. "I will leave that to my paid counsel."

Roth confirmed he is still on paid administrative leave from the village.

"J.D. has been a valued member of law enforcement for 26 years," said Roth's attorney, Clyde Kuehn. "He has observed the criminal justice system and he feels confident that he can answer these charges to establish his innocence."

St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly said the investigation was conducted by the FBI, the St. Clair County state's attorney, the U.S. attorney's office and the Illinois State Police.

The charges are related to a 2003 Dodge Dakota Ram 1500 pickup seized in a drug bust by the Caseyville police.

Roth drove the truck for personal and police business until police officers pressured the Village Board to put the truck up for auction.

Instead of auctioning the truck, the Village Board told Roth to get bids for the truck from local car dealers. The bid process came under fire when Caseyville officers began to investigate after Roth purchased the truck from a dealership where Roth's friend and car salesman Brad Reno worked. The dealership bought the truck from the village for $7,500. Less than a month later, Roth bought the truck from Reno's dealership.

Jack Adams, owner of Crossroads Motors and one of dealership asked to submit a bid by Roth, signed a notarized statement, stating that Roth asked for a bid of about $7,000, but Adams said he felt the truck was "worth more than that at the time," according to an affidavit signed by Adams.

State law prohibits individual public officials or employees from buying or benefiting from seized property.

The second count of official misconduct is connected to luggage purchased with village funds. The criminal complaint stated that Roth used the luggage for his personal use.

Each count of official misconduct is a Class 3 felony, punishable by two to five years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

The case is another example of the need for restoration of the Illinois State Police's Public Integrity Unit, Kelly said.

"This is the 13th public corruption case charged under state law within the last two years by my office. This case, the stimulus fraud case we charged earlier this week and the vote fraud cases charged last week are perfect examples of why we need the State Police Public Integrity United restored under the 2014 state budget," Kelly said.

"These matters took hundreds of manhours to complete and two charges were barely within that statute of limitations. Even complaints that prove to be non-criminal need to be properly investigated so the public can have some faith in the system. As it is, we are barely keeping up but we will not give up."

Contact reporter Beth Hundsdorfer at bhundsdorfer@bnd.com or 618-239-2570. Contact reporter George Pawlaczyk at gpawlaczyk@bnd.com or 618-239-2625.