For those following Dundee Township politics, the Braasch case recently came up in the news when it was released that the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office decided not to prosecute Braasch for reportedly keeping money given to him for culvert replacements. The people following this case are scratching their heads and wanting answers, and luckily I was able to get them from the source.
Being that the Kane County State’s Attorney, Joseph McMahon, is from Dundee and that his father also worked with Braasch in the past, it was immediately assumed that Braasch had been let off the hook in the face of strong evidence. The Kane County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation after being given evidence by the Township, and they determined that money had been accepted by Braasch but there was no record of where the money went. Anywhere. Not in his account or the Township's.
If he was accused by residents of taking personal checks made out to him for culvert repairs, and he wasn’t really pocketing the money, then there would be a record of these transactions in Township balance sheets, but there isn’t. So we're supposed to believe that Braasch has just been a horrible record keeper this whole time? Naturally, people are highly suspicious of the decision by the State’s Attorney’s Office to not take this case further.
Being familiar with this case and the people involved, I asked Joseph McMahon for more information on this, and he put me in touch with the prosecutor that reviewed the Braasch case.
I am in no way making an official statement on behalf of the KCSAO or the County Board, I am simply relaying my understanding of this situation because we are otherwise left to speculate.
From what I understand, McMahon never saw this case and didn’t have any input on the decision whatsoever. Like any other case coming across their desk, Assistant Attorneys have to review the facts they have before them and determine if there is enough reasonable doubt to bring it before a jury and have a chance of winning. If McMahon had grown up in Aurora and never known Braasch at all, the prosecutors would have done everything the same and come to the same determination, so his history had no bearing on the decision.
The Assistant Attorney reviewed the case like any other and determined that despite how it might look on paper, there just wasn’t enough evidence to pursue the case with enough reasonable doubt to get far.
In this case they recognized that money had been taken in by Braasch, but that there was no record of it going to him directly, or into the Township coffers and that was the hangup. These attorneys have professional experience with judges and juries and the kinds of evidence they need to win each kind of case. The kind of logic that exists within a legal proceeding sometimes leads to results that go against what people think “should” have happened. As the prosecutor said, real cases are nothing like what you see on Law and Order.
Although this may be unsatisfying to many following the case, we have to trust that our public officials and employees have a high level of integrity, and from what I gathered in my conversation, the prosecutor involved in the determination takes the job very seriously and did not even know who Braasch was before this.