Caseyville Township trustees again pressed Supervisor Bruce Canty for answers about his use of township computers Thursday evening during the board’s first meeting of 2016.
Canty refused to discuss the matter, citing an ongoing Fairview Heights Police Department investigation into the matter.
Police began what Lt. Mike Hoguet called “fact finding research on the incident to see if a crime has been committed” in early December shortly after trustees halted the Dec. 4 township board meeting to inspect a computer in Canty’s office. The serial number on that computer did not match the serial number listed on a township invoice describing repair work done to a computer issued to Canty. Trustees seized the computer.
Since the police investigation began, detectives have interviewed township employees and seized computer hard drives. Police would not offer any details of the investigation when reached for comment Thursday afternoon.
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“It’s still an ongoing investigation and cannot be discussed,” Canty told the board. “The police department still has all the hard drives.”
The hard drives Canty referred to were discovered in October in a cake tin at the bottom of a box of Halloween decorations. When the drives were discovered, Canty told trustees he ordered a former employee to remove them from computers that were to be put out of service.
A computer engineer hired by the board to conduct a computer system audit also examined the hard drives and concluded their contents had been professionally deleted.
Trustee Rick Donovan insisted Canty answer the board’s questions pertaining to the use of equipment purchased with taxpayer funds.
“As you well know, it was a public fund expenditure. It is perfectly within the purview of this board to ask you questions concerning the expenditure,” Donovan said. “The board expects answers. It’s a simple question. What happened to the computer?”
“It’s a simple answer,” Canty replied. “It’s still an ongoing investigation. When the investigation’s done, we can discuss it.”
Canty told trustees during the Dec. 17 meeting that he would not discuss the matter in the meeting, saying instead that trustees could make appointments to speak with him along with his attorney. Canty said Thursday his attorney is Eric Evans of Granite City.
Evans could not be reached for comment Thursday night.
The ongoing tension in the township has drawn the ire of at least one township resident. Brad Van Hoose, who passersby may have noticed seated outside the township building on several occasions in November and December with signs demanding that Canty resign, told the board that he’d stop his picket if Canty explained what happened with the computer and hard drives.
“I will stop when Mr. Canty decides that public records are a priority. I will stop when Mr. Canty discloses what happened to a taxpayer-funded computer,” Van Hoose said. “If Mr. Canty would like to disclose publicly what happened with that computer and what happened with those hard drives, I will discontinue the picket.”