Republican higher-ups in Lake County, IL, favor a flawed candidate for Lake County coroner

March 28, 2012

The most difficult part in vetting the race for the Lake County coroner office was to decide where to begin my somewhat revealing story that has all the makings of a local soap opera.  It involves manuverings behind the scene by LC Republican Establishment higher up officials to assure that Steve Newton could run unopposed in 2012, unethical doings by Newton while serving as Chief Deputy Coroner in Dr. Keller’s administration, an office love affair by Newton turned marriage leading to Newton’s dismissal in 2007, and the late arrival of Dr. Howard Cooper into the race as a long- shot Republican challenger.

I am well aware that my coroner expose might not  set well with many, knowing also that many will thank me for letting them know the truth about a candidate before voting next Tuesday. 

Why then am I then taking it upon myself to reveal what many of my fellow Republicans have so far been successful keeping under cover and for which I will (hopefully not more is done) be criticized for doing? 

As a Republican I place my conservatism above my Republicanism.  My sense of integrity demands that I point out abuse and corruption wherever and whenever it may surface, realizing that corruption in political parties is an equal opportunist where winning often is all that matters. Like cancer, corruption first invades, then follows pollution, which can eventually destroy all that it comes in contact with if not curtailed in time.   

Steve Newton, like all candidate running for office in Lake County and elsewhere, must face the public and be prepared to answer uncomfortable questions that they would rather not deal with.

One question Newton faces repeatedly from concerned, potentials voters is about certain indiscretions that occurred when serving as Chief Deputy Coroner under the Administrations of Republican interim Coroner Jim Wipper and elected Democratic Coroner Dr. Keller.  

I’ve heard Newton brush off the incident as a happening that is all about nothing when he spoke in February in front of the Republican Assembly of Lake County.   

The indiscretion involved an office relationship that Newton now describes as being between two single individuals, that fraternizing  was not forbidden, and that Dr. Keller didn’t fire him in 2007. 

Steve Newton wasn’t prosecuted, because, as a Republican, the present Lake County State’s Attorney, Mike Waller, preferred not to bring charges. Waller’s propensity not to level charges against fellow Republicans (well know in Lake County) is but one of the reasons why Mike Waller is not running for re-election and is leaving office under a cloud of inaptness in executing the duties of his office.

The opposite is true.  Through my own research I was able to find newspaper articles which tell a different story.  I have shared two of them with you.

1.  Daily Herald described the nature of the firing due to an improper “relationship” with a female underling, a direct subordinate of Steve Newton:    CTRL + Click to follow link” href=”http://dl.dropbox.com/u/42165977/Corruption/Coroner%20to%20fire%20his%20top%20deputy%20-%20Chicago%20Tribune.pdf” target=”_blank”>   

2.  Chicago Tribune reported on April 24, 2007 of Dr. Richard Keller’s announcement of the effective date of Newton’s firing, April 20, 2007.  http://dl.dropbox.com/u/42165977/Corruption/Coroner%20to%20fire%20his%20top%20deputy%20-%20Chicago%20Tribune.pdf 

 The women/girlfriend who later became Steve Newton’s wife was a Deputy Coroner; Newton was her supervisor in the Office as the Associate Deputy Coroner.  This romantic office coupling resulted in two gross infractions by Steve Newton as Associate Deputy Coroner in the Keller administration.

1.  Steve Newton gave his county-issued purchasing card, P-card, to his girl friend when she traveled to St. Louis to attend a medical course required by Lake County.  At the time, the county P-card could be used only by the employee who’s name was on the card (Only Newton was issued the card as the LC Associate Deputy coroner.).  While in St. Louis, and with Newton’s credit card in hand, Steve’s girl friend charged her expenses (including hotel) to Newton’s credit card. There was even a situation where Newton’s girlfriend paid for another individuals meal, which, under P-card regulations, the card could not be used for purchases of non-county employees. 

The usual practice would have been for Newton’s girl friend to have used her own credit card and then to have submitted the charges accrued in St. Louis  for reimbursement.  

2.  Steve Newton submitted false pay claims for his girl friend by having her paid for hours she did not work.  Newton, as Associate Deputy, was not in charge of time keeping.  This infraction is called “ghost payrolling” according to the document I am privy to.

Both of the above examples were totally inappropriate and appalling, to say the least.

The aftermath:  Because of financial improprieties and other performance problems of such severity, Newton’s girlfriend was discharged from her position as a Deputy Coroner effective August 3, 2007. 

Without question, and despite Newton’s denial to the contrary, he WAS FIRED (4/20/2007) as Associate District Attorney by Dr. Richard Keller three months before his girlfriend’s discharge as a  Deputy District Attorney by Dr. Keller in August of 2007 upon discovery of Newton’s acts of financial improprieties toward his girlfriend. 

Established was that Steve Newton had acted above his authority to monitor time card applications.  The person in charge of the process wasn’t able to monitor Newton’s girlfriend’s time cards, because Newton had established a separate procedure for her authorization, to which was leveled the charge of “ghost payrolling.”  

Just as egregious was Newton’s sharing of his personal P-card, issued for his use only, for use by his girlfriend when she traveled to St. Louis for a required medical course. 

The financial indiscretions that resulted in Steve Newton’s firing in the Keller administration should be enough to disqualify Newton for holding any Lake County elected office, but the Steve Newton Lake County soap-opera saga doesn’t end at this point.

Steve Newton, in touting his education, cites his background in criminal justice and fire science.  He claims to have attended the College of Lake County and lets voters assume that he indeed has his degree.  Verified through the clearing house is that Newton only attended CLC for one semester and that no degree was given. http://dl.dropbox.com/u/42165977/Corruption/CLC%20Newton.pdf  

One semester of college cannot give anyone a proper background in criminal justice or fire science, that’s  assuming Steve Newton did indeed take courses in criminal justice and fire science during his one semester at the CLC.  

 

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