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Crime & Courts

Donnelly: SAFE funds moved in 'secret'

Karen Donnelly
Karen Donnelly

La Salle County State's Attorney Karen Donnelly continues to contend Spring Valley and two other cities should return SAFE money.

Donnelly took legal action last year to retrieve $573,451 in SAFE money given to Spring Valley, Ottawa and La Salle. The money was generated by the now defunct La Salle County State's Attorney's Felony Enforcement unit, which Donnelly's predecessor as state's attorney, Brian Towne, formed in 2011 to interdict drugs and drug money on the local stretch of Interstate 80.

The unit was ruled illegal and abolished in 2015.

Donnelly's suit was dismissed Dec. 20, but she refiled Dec. 27. The cities responded with motions to dismiss, claiming Donnelly put forth little that was new, and the December dismissal should stand.

Donnelly recently answered the fresh dismissal motions, at one point summing up her position.

"The essence of (our) action is that Towne committed an unauthorized act by transferring $573,000 of La Salle County taxpayer money to Spring Valley, which then compounded the act by further transferring some of that money to Ottawa and La Salle. All of this was done in secret and none of it had ratification from any elected official," Donnelly said.

A status hearing is Monday, March 5.

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