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Koschman case was too hot for Quinn's top cop

Less than a month after the Chicago Police Department closed the David Koschman case without charging then-Mayor Richard M. Daley’s nephew, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez decided someone needed to come in to do an “independent investigation . . . to ensure we reach the truth in this case.”

Alvarez — who was feeling heat over her office’s handling of the case — got the Illinois State Police to take it. Less than two weeks later, though, the state agency abruptly backed out.

Newly obtained documents show why: In the interim, the incoming Illinois State Police director hand-delivered a letter to Gov. Pat Quinn saying he had conflicts of interest involving the Koschman investigation and recommending the case be turned over to the FBI.

“As you know, the Illinois State Police has accepted the call to conduct an independent review of the investigation of the death of David Koschman, initially investigated by two of my former employers, the Chicago Police Department and the Cook County state’s attorney,” Hiram Grau wrote in his March 28, 2011, letter to Quinn.

At the time of Koschman’s death in 2004, Grau was the police department’s deputy superintendent of the Bureau of Investigative Services, which had oversight of the case involving Daley nephew Richard J. “R.J.” Vanecko. After leaving the department, Grau became Alvarez’s deputy chief of investigations — the job he was leaving to run the state police.

“Given my impending appointment as director of ISP, ISP must decline to conduct [the Koschman] review,” Grau wrote. “A review of this matter by ISP during a time when I am director would lead to questions, fair or not, about the integrity of the review.

“More than that, a mother has lost her son, and she deserves answers as to whether the investigation was handled properly, answers that she can trust. I fear that the appearance of a conflict of interest would deprive Mrs. [Nanci] Koschman of the small peace of mind that an objective review might provide.

“I therefore am requesting that the ISP immediately cease review of the matter. It is my belief that . . . Alvarez should request a complete review of this matter by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

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