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Crime & Courts

Trial date set in May for La Salle County auditor case

La Salle County Auditor Jody Wilkinson
La Salle County Auditor Jody Wilkinson

A trial date has been set for Monday, May 20, in the case against La Salle County Auditor Jody Wilkinson.

A final pre-trial date was scheduled for Friday, May 10.

Wilkinson, 53, is charged with altering the time sheets of auditor employees to falsely reflect they collectively earned $3,031 in overtime pay, then forwarding the time sheets to the county's payroll office. The employees, Tori Artman, 44, and Pamela Wright, 54, are charged with accepting the unearned pay.

Assistant State's Attorney George Mueller and defense attorney Joe Navarro said they don't anticipate the need for any more status hearings.

When asked about the possibility of the parties reaching a resolution before the trial date, Judge Michael C. Jansz said he would be open to addressing it.

Wilkinson, along with Artman and Wright, has been barred from the auditor's office. The County Board has hired an outside auditor to continue county business.

The next status hearing in Artman's and Wright's case is scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 20. In that case, attorney Todd Martin, representing Artman and Wright, has asked for La Salle County State's Attorney Karen Donnelly to be removed from the case. Donnelly also has requested Martin be removed from the case.

In the latest court filing in Artman's and Wright's cases, Donnelly said she has no conflict of interest, noting the state's attorney does not have a responsibility to represent Artman or Wright because they were not sworn county officials by oath. Donnelly said she has a responsibility to determine which side is correct and represent that party.

Martin has subpoenaed transcripts of closed sessions, since Sept. 25, of the County Board and the board’s Salary and Labor Committee, which dealt with the auditor situation. Martin said Donnelly launched a criminal investigation into the auditor's office following a disagreement at a county committee meeting, in which the auditor would not allow Donnelly to reimburse a book for her office, because she didn't have the receipt.

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