(CBS) — A suburban township road commissioner collected a big salary for his full-time job overseeing the maintenance and repairs of roads, even though township records show he spends most of his time in Florida.
How does he get away with it? The 2 Investigators looked into complaints about the unusual work habits of Gary Grosskopf, the Oswego Township Road Commissioner for the past 26 years.
Some say he’s literally phoning it in.
Grosskopf posted pictures of his wedding in Florida, where he shares a home with his wife.
And Oswego Township records for his cellphone show most of the calls are being made from Florida.
“It tells me he’s in the state of Florida,” says Todd Milliron, an activist who obtained the phone records under the Freedom of Information Act. The records show that from April 28, 2014 through June 27 of this year, there were 321 days of calls from the cellphone Oswego Township issued to Grosskopf; all were from Florida. He spent 67 days in Illinois.
“I would call it ghost payrolling,” Milliron says. “Job abandonment may be another term that could be used.”
The records show that instead of being here during the three coldest months last winter, from December 10, 2014, to March 5, 2015, the road commissioner was in Florida. That includes Super Bowl Sunday, when there was a massive snow storm.
“Snow removal is an important part of that job,” Milliron says.
With his $95,912-a-year salary, Grosskopf is the highest paid Oswego Township employee, officials said.
Last Friday, CBS 2 went looking for him at office. Workers there said they did not know where Grosskopf was. Nor did his son Aaron Grosskopf, who was at the home Grosskopf used to own but sold to his son.
Aaron Grosskopf is operations manager for the Oswego Township Road Commission. He’s paid $26 an hour and made $50,052 last year, according to township officials. His dad is his boss.
“He lives here with me.” Aaron Grosskopf told Zekman.
“I thought he lives in Florida,” Zekman said.
“He’s here,” Grosskopf said.
No, he wasn’t, Oswego Township Supervisor Jim Detzler said minutes later. Detzler said he’s a good friend of Gary Grosskopf, and that Grosskopf would be back on Monday.
Asked about the cell phone records indicating Grosskopf spends most of his time in Florida, Detzler replied: “Gary is elected the same as I am. He can do kind of what he wants to do.”
Zekman pressed him. “Does that mean he can spend most of the year in Florida instead of here?”
“Well, it means he can go to Florida as much as he likes,” Detzler said, adding that Grosskopf does a great job as highway commissioner.
“He’s in constant contact all the time by phone with his employees,” he said.
That system is not OK with some taxpayers.
“It’s shocking,” says Nicki Volpe, who lives in Oswego. “How could that be? How could Illinois allow that?”
“Wow,” says Gerald Houston Jr. “It would be nice if he would supervise the people that need to be supervised.”
In response to questions, Detzler conceded, “I can see how the public in Oswego might be concerned.” He added: “I’ll look into it, absolutely.”
Detzler could have looked into it in the past. He’s chairman of the township board that oversees expenses.
Grosskopf was in his office Monday but refused to do an on-camera interview or answer any questions. He hung up on Zekman when she asked how he could justify spending all those days in Florida.