Officials Track `Common-Law' Leader Business Ventures Are Investigated

Article excerpt

Prosecutors in Edwardsville are reaching across Illinois and Missouri to investigate business ventures by Dennis Logan of St. Peters, whom they call a leader of the "common-law courts" movement.

Assistant State's Attorney Michele Berkel of Madison County already has filed criminal misdemeanor charges against Logan and 52 other people for filing in the county's courts what she said were bogus documents. Ten of those charged have pleaded guilty.

On Friday, Berkel said she also was investigating what Logan called the Patriot Educational Systems Trust. Berkel produced fliers for seminars sponsored by Logan in Hannibal, Mo., in December and Quincy, Ill., in April, showing fees of $75 for one person or $100 for a couple.

More documents Berkel said were distributed by Logan offer a subscription to Patriot Trust for a $95 initial fee and a $95 "monthly bank draft" after that.

The documents list Logan's address in St. Peters as the company's location.

Of those charged by Berkel, 36 are from Missouri, 15 are from Illinois and one each is from Iowa and Oklahoma.

Berkel said Logan's documents conflict with his comments to the Post-Dispatch last month that he rarely was paid for lectures he gave around the country about common-law courts.

Berkel said that, in light of the seminar and subscription costs, "This certainly sounds like a business venture to me."

She asked that anyone who has paid money to Logan to attend seminars, to learn about common-law courts or to get help with filing documents, c all her office in Edwardsville at (618) 692-6280.

Logan could not be reached for comment Friday.

But his wife, Jean Logan, who is listed as co-sponsor of the seminars, called Berkel's investigation "a witch hunt" and said the seminars were not held to make money. …