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Local

Spring Valley answers Donnelly

Karen Donnelly
Karen Donnelly

Spring Valley's attorney responded Wednesday in the tug-of-war with La Salle County over SAFE funds.

La Salle County State's Attorney Karen Donnelly went to court last year to recover $573,451 in forfeiture assets given to Spring Valley, Ottawa and La Salle. The money was seized by the now-defunct La Salle County State's Attorney's Felony Enforcement unit, which former state's attorney, Brian Towne set up 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 are again asking for the new suit to be tossed.

In a recent court filing, Donnelly summed 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.

Spring Valley's attorney, G. David Mathues, of Itasca, replied in writing Wednesday with his own summary of why the money should not be returned.

" 'The forfeited proceeds were voluntarily, deliberately and intentionally given to the city of Spring Valley without any conditions or restrictions.' The transfers continued for 'some five or six years' before the county sued to claw back the money. Nothing disproves these basic facts," Mathues said, partially quoting Circuit Judge Robert Marsaglia's words in tossing the suit in December.

The next hearing is Monday.

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