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Collins back in federal court Monday

December 2, 2018

URBANA — The latest chapter in the federal wire and mail fraud trial of former Kankakee Valley Park District executive director Roy Collins is set to play out Monday in U.S. District Court in Urbana.

Chief Judge of the Central District of Illinois James Shadid is set to hear arguments for Collins’ motion to withdraw his plea of guilty or dismiss the indictment against him. The hearing begins at 2 p.m.

Collins’ attorney, Gregory T. Mitchell, argued in a motion filed Oct. 5 that Illinois State Police investigator Brad Cosgrove and Kankakee Valley Park District commissioner Dave Skelly gave false testimony to a federal grand jury in May 2016. Skelly is a lieutenant with the Kankakee Police Department.

Mitchell argued the court has the authority to set aside a verdict and order a new trial where the defendant establishes: the prosecution’s case included perjured testimony, the prosecution knew or should have known of the perjury and there is reasonable likelihood that the false testimony could have affected the judgment of the jury.

Prosecutors maintain in their response filed Oct. 23 both Cosgrove’s testimony and Skelly’s testimony was truthful and prosecutors did not mislead the grand jury.

“Collins’s allegations ... represent a meritless, last-ditch attempt to avoid responsibility for his extensive theft from the Kankakee Valley Park District and Kankakee Valley Park Foundation,” according to the filing.

Prosecutors said that the accusations by Collins are baseless and no hearing is required. Instead, sentencing should be imposed on Collins.

Collins was charged in September 2016.

He is alleged to have used park district funds and employees to build a pond at his former home in Limestone Township and of taking money from the district’s BBQ Fest in 2014 and 2015.

Collins now lives in Knoxville.

Collins was a commissioner on the board when he was hired as the executive director in July 2011. In April 2016, the board and Collins agreed to a separation agreement.

A year later, Collins agreed to plead guilty. However, after two days of testimony in his sentencing hearing earlier this year, Mitchell said they were withdrawing the guilty plea.

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