Algonquin Township delays deputy supervisor vote

By Gregory Harutunian For Chronicle Media

Algonquin Township Supervisor Charles Lutzow

The Algonquin Township Board’s decision to appoint a deputy supervisor for administrative duties in the wake of health issues incurred by its township supervisor Charles Lutzow, as well as designating a Freedom of Information Act Officer, were both delayed until its June 19 meeting.

Trustees reviewed the matter, during a specially convened June 12 session, and had not forwarded any names or signaled a potential direction.

Lutzow suffered a stroke over the June 7 weekend, and is currently under medical care. No specific timeframe has been released regarding his return, as he undergoes recovery and medical monitoring. The board was informed of the medical emergency through an email, the following week.

“At this point, the trustees have not appointed any person to fill either position and decided to delay their vote until the next regularly scheduled meeting,” said Pam Gavers, the administrative assistant to the township supervisor. “Prior to the meeting, a town fund budget hearing is scheduled, along with a road district budget hearing. The regular township board meeting will be held, after that.”

Trustees Rachel Lawrence, Dan Shea, and Dave Chapman all voted to table the appointments. The board did vote to approve the Rockford-based attorney John Nelson for representation in the case of township clerk Karen Lukasik and the Algonquin Township Highway Department involving allegations of her destruction of township records. Nelson was retained at a rate of $250 per hour, whereas the township itself is listed as a third-party participant.

Two settlement terms have been proffered by Lukasik: resign her position, dismiss her countersuit, and accept a $65,000 payout; or continue her clerk’s position with “sole access to township records rooms,” a $36,000 payout, and dismissal of her counter suit. A camera was discovered in her office area, allegedly “spying” on her activities.

Lutzow is named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed in January, by the Algonquin Highway Township department, and its supervisor, Andrew Gasser, seeking a minimum $1 million in compensatory and punitive damages alleging constructive fraud, committed by Lutzow, in his capacity of highway department treasurer, when he closed an account at the local Fifth Third Bank and transferred the funds to the Crystal Lake American Community Bank.

The litigation alleges new accounts were opened under titles such as “Algonquin Township Highway Equipment and Building,” and “Algonquin Township Highway Road and Bridge Fund.”  When contacted, in April, Lutzow said he opened the accounts corresponding to different funds within the township and highway department. “There’s so many lawsuits, I literally don’t know which one you’re talking about,” he said, when contacted. “We’re like the ugly step-child … it’s a lot to keep up with.”

The tenure of Gasser, beginning in 2017, when he immediately fired three employees, has been an ongoing source of contention and legal actions between the highway department and the Township Board. In the employment termination matter, a lawsuit was filed against the road district by the Lakemoor-based International Order of Operating Engineers Local 150.  Gasser avoided contempt of court charges, when Lake County Circuit Court Judge Dan Jasca ruled April 9 that the threshold was met substantively for arbitration hearings.

Lutzow noted, at the time, “This is all taxpayer money, and we’re coming up to budgeting for the new fiscal year.”

The budget hearings are scheduled for June 19.