Byline: Tony Gordon Daily Herald Legal Affairs Writer
A former Ela Township supervisor and Lake County board chairman committed official misconduct when he allowed his mother-in-law's county nursing home bills to be paid by taxpayers, prosecutors said Monday.
Robert Grever's defense attorney responded that Grever could not be convicted of that crime because there was no law requiring him to do anything different than what he did with the bills.
Grever, 66, is on trial before Lake County Circuit Judge Mary Seminara Schostok for official misconduct. He could be sentenced to up to four years in prison if convicted.
He served as Ela Township supervisor from 1981 to 2001 and was also on the county board between 1990 and 2000. Grever served as board chairman from 1996 to 1998.
He is charged with failing to reimburse Ela Township for $194,000 it paid to Winchester House in Libertyville for care of his late mother-in-law. Mae Chvojka was at the facility from 1991 until her death in 1996.
Under an agreement in effect at the time, Ela Township paid Winchester House for care of Ela residents, and then collected the money from the patient or the person in charge of handling the patient's estate.
Assistant State's Attorney George Strickland said Grever's former wife made four monthly payments of about $3,000 each for her mother's care, then stopped.
"The defendant should have gone to the board, informed them that his wife was not paying and asked them to authorize legal action," Strickland said. "There is nothing in the law that allows his family to be treated any differently than any other family in the township."
But defense attorney Robert Will of Waukegan said Grever was supposed to be respecting the confidentiality of all people who were being billed through the township for being at Winchester House. Anyone on the township board could have asked Grever for more details on the bills if they saw fit, Will explained.
Without evidence that the board members questioned Grever about the bills, Will said, the state will be unable to prove his client violated the official misconduct statute by failing to perform a mandatory duty. …