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Sandack police report “had nothing to do with” legislative duties

Former state Rep. Ron Sandack, R-Downers Grove, in 2014. | Ashlee Rezin / Sun-Times

A police investigation that Republican Ronald L. Sandack initiated shortly before he mysteriously resigned from the Legislature last month doesn’t involve Sandack’s former role as a west suburban state representative, a newly released document related to the case shows.

And while an initial police report disclosed that Sandack had reported an “internet scam” to police, “the actual criminal activity that took place” was something different, the document also appears to reveal. But exactly what police are investigating is being withheld because that investigation is ongoing.

These new details are contained in a letter that Downers Grove Village Attorney Enza Petrarca sent to the Illinois Attorney General public access counselor’s office in response to public-records requests filed by the Chicago Sun-Times and other media outlets about the Sandack case.

When Sandack, a former Downers Grove mayor, abruptly resigned on July 24, he issued a statement to the Capitol Fax political blog saying that “cyber security issues” forced him to re-evaluate his “continued public service.”

Sandack, a vocal supporter of Gov. Bruce Rauner, later disclosed he reported those issues to Downers Grove investigators, who turned over a three-page police report to various news outlets under the state’s Freedom of Information Act.

The narrative section of the report is almost entirely blacked out, prompting reporters to ask Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office to review whether the redactions are legal.

Petrarca’s letter, released Friday, is crafted to justify the redactions. While the letter itself is heavily redacted, it still revealed new information about the case.

“At the time of this crime Mr. Sandack was a private citizen; he was not acting in his role as a state representative,” Petrarca wrote. “This entire incident had nothing to do with his official duties as a representative.”

The letter also reveals that screenshots of “messages and social media pages” have been preserved as evidence.

“Mr. Sandack is the victim in this case,” Petrarca wrote, noting that’s why police refused to release his description of the crime. “Nobody, public figure or not, would want any of this information being disclosed to the public.”

The letter also suggests that the incident Sandack reported is more involved than a cybersecurity matter. But the attorney general’s office blacked out exactly what the police department is investigating, citing confidentiality issues.

“Mr. Sandack came to the police station to report that he was the victim of an ‘internet scam,’ as he later publicly reported,” Petrarca wrote. “However upon providing further information to the police officer it was determined that the actual criminal activity that took place and was being reported was [redacted]. This is certainly different than an ‘internet scam’ or ‘hacking’.”

Sandack, who had been in the General Assembly since November 2010, did not respond Friday to phone and email messages.

After initially declining to comment last month about Sandack’s resignation, Rauner said two days later that he had no advance warning that Sandack had planned to resign: “I’m not sure what all is going on there,” the governor said then.

Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, who was often targeted by Sandack on the House floor during debates, also said he had no idea why Sandack resigned. The speaker is the father of Attorney General Madigan.

Sandack, 52, told the Chicago Tribune last month that he resigned after several fake social media accounts were set up in his name. Sandack also cited robocalls to people in his district alleging that he had accosted a Democratic staff lawyer on the House floor — something Sandack had angrily denied.

“Politics has gotten too ugly,” Sandack told the Tribune. “I don’t need it, and my family doesn’t deserve it.”

Sandack FOIA Request Review