DECATUR – A former Decatur police chief is asking for a special prosecutor to investigate City Manager Tim Gleason for his use last year of a police car and driver for a personal trip.
Mark Barthelemy filed a petition Tuesday in Macon County Circuit Court to appoint a special prosecutor to look into the incident, arguing that Macon County State's Attorney Jay Scott has a conflict of interest that prevents him from pursuing it.
But Scott said Tuesday that he referred the allegations against Gleason to the Illinois State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's Office last month. He said he's also referred a report related to former Decatur Police Chief Brad Sweeney to the prosecutor's office but declined to provide more information about that matter.
“We, at the beginning, decided this is not a case that we should be in the middle of because of our ties to everybody involved,” Scott said.
A representative at the state prosecutor's office could not immediately provide the status of either case Tuesday afternoon.
Barthelemy said Tuesday evening that he knew Scott's office had referred the Sweeney case to the special prosecutor but was unaware that it had also sent the information connected to Gleason. He said he wanted to know that something was being done.
Gleason did not comment, saying he hadn't seen the latest filing.
His use of the police car became public knowledge through Sweeney's ongoing lawsuit against the city. Sweeney claims his Feb. 4 firing was retaliation by Gleason for, among other reasons, objecting to Gleason's use of the car and driver.
Barthelemy's petition is unrelated but cites documents filed in the Sweeney case. He asserts that Gleason's conduct appears to violate the Illinois Criminal Code and State Officials and Employee Ethics Act.
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Gleason has acknowledged that he used a police car and driver to travel to St. Louis on May 7, 2015, immediately following the Greater Decatur Chamber of Commerce State of the City breakfast event that day.
He had previously scheduled a trip to California for an event related to his son's service in the Army. Gleason changed his travel plans to fly out of St. Louis so he also could attend the breakfast, which fell less than two months after he became city manager.
During a deposition taken by Sweeney's attorney in that case, Gleason said former Mayor Mike McElroy, who died in July, told him to use a police car and driver to accommodate the new plans. Otherwise, Gleason would have left a vehicle stranded in St. Louis, because he had kept his original return flight to Peoria.
Barthelemy served for 30 years in the Decatur Police Department, more than four as its chief. Following that position, he worked as the city's human rights officer for eight years, retiring in 2014.
Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe said she didn't understand why Barthelemy filed the petition, as she thought the state's attorney's office had already referred both cases to the state prosecutor's office.
She said she was not concerned about Gleason potentially being investigated by that office. “This is the system,” she said. “I believe in our system, and I think the truth will come out.”
She said she did not think there was any wrongdoing involved in Gleason's use of the car.
“(Gleason) was performing an official duty, so to get him to be able to do that duty, the mayor at the time did what he thought was best and came up with an idea,” she said.
Attorneys for both sides in the Sweeney lawsuit declined to comment.