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False statements to grand jury part of Collins’ motion to dismiss indictment or withdraw guilty plea

October 13, 2018

The attorney for Roy Collins argues in a motion 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.

Collins is the former executive director of the park district. He was charged with federal wire fraud and mail fraud in September 2016.

Attorney Gregory T. Mitchell filed the motion to dismiss indictment or withdraw guilty plea on Oct. 5. The U.S. Attorney General’s office has until Oct. 19 to file its reply.

A hearing will be held Nov. 19 in U.S. District Court in Urbana before Chief Judge of the Central District of Illinois James Shadid.

Collins 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 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.

Mitchell argues 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.

According to the court document, Cosgrove “falsely testified that, as part of his investigation, he learned of financial irregularities regarding the BBQ Fest and that some of those irregularities relate to alleged kickbacks from an individual named Shaun Szymborski (also known as Shaun Kelly).

According to the motion, Szymborski told Cosgrove in an interview that he and Collins worked together to select musical acts to perform at Barbeque Fest. They also made payments to the artists.

Prosecutors and Cosgrove knew his testimony to the grand jury was false because Szymborski denied paying Collins any kickback payments when he testified before the grand jury.

Mitchell had Cosgrove read part of Szymborski’s testimony during a two-day sentencing hearing Jan. 31-Feb. 1.

It included Syzmborski telling Cosgrove this was “just the cost of doing business.”

The motion also accused Cosgrove of giving false testimony that Collins made Szymborski provide kickback payments and that these payments were confirmed by law enforcement interviews with Szymborski and his wife.

Cosgrove’s testimony falsely characterized Szymborski as a victim and supported Cosgrove’s false narrative that, in his opinion, Collins “was merely a thief who misused his position to steal from the park district.”

Skelly allegations

According to the motion, Skelly is accused of falsely testifying that the park district board had not approved and that he, as a board member, had heard nothing about the alleged improper use of district equipment or workers to build the pond on Collins’ property.

Skelly is accused of falsely testifying that “the rest of board members didn’t question, didn’t care about the purchases” and that Collins was permitted to do things without questions from the board because “many are friends with Collins (and that Collins provides) a lot of benefits that were handed to certain board members.”

Cosgrove interviewed Lisa R. Cooper, who was a board member and president of the Kankakee Valley Park District Foundation at the time.

She said when she learned of the issue of the pond, she attended a meeting with the board’s attorney, John Coghlan, and Collins. It was discussed that the district’s equipment was being used but Collins was making a donation to the district.

During that Dec. 5, 2015, interview, Cooper told Cosgrove about a second meeting she attended along with board member Duane Tucker, park maintenance director Gary Reardanz, Collins, Coghlan and via telephone board president Alfred “JJ” Hollis.

Cooper again said the board members who were part of the meeting “had again agreed that Collins was doing nothing wrong and it wasn’t a problem he was using KVPD equipment.” She said the pond would be used by the park district’s foundation for activities.

The motion goes on to say Cosgrove “subsequently corroborated Copper’s statement after interviewing Coghlan” on June 19, 2016.

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