CHICAGO (CBS) — Who is paying the costs for the prosecution of Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke? With Kane County State’s Attorney Joseph McMahon overseeing the case for more than two years as special prosecutor, it’s a matter that’s touched off a political controversy in Kane County.
CBS 2 political reporter Derrick Blakley follows the money.
McMahon is very much in the spotlight as the man tasked with prosecuting Van Dyke for the 2014 shooting death of Laquan McDonald; but he’s also in the middle of a controversy about who is footing the bill.
“Who’s paying for the two-year-old prosecution of the Laquan McDonald case in Cook County? The obvious answer is Kane County taxpayers,” Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen said.
McMahon entered as special prosecutor in the case in August 2016 to avoid conflicts of interest, after then Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez asked to be recused, because Cook County prosecutors work closely with Chicago police officers
In a statement, McMahon said, “our work in this case has not resulted in increased costs to the taxpayers of Kane County. The salaries and benefits of my staff are fixed costs,” he said.
However, Lauzen insisted the case has still cost Kane County residents in terms of work denied to the county because McMahon and members of his staff have spent so much time on the Van Dyke case. He took issue with McMahon handling the case in the first place.
“It took place without the Kane County Board’s permission, or even any discussion at all,” Lauzen said.
According to Lauzen, the annual salaries of McMahon, and four Kane County assistant prosecutors working on the Van Dyke murder trial comes to $707,741 a year.
McMahon refused to calculate how much time his team has spent on van dyke.
Cook County officials said they expect to reimburse Kane County only for incidental costs, such as hotel rooms for witnesses who don’t live in the Chicago area, and daily lunches for prosecutors.
“We do not believe this includes salary re-imbursement and no requests for salary re-imbursement have been received,” a county spokesperson told CBS 2.
In a statement, McMahon accused Lauzen of playing politics with a criminal justice issue.
McMahon declined to be interviewed for this story, due to a judge’s order prohibiting him from discussing the Van Dyke case.