Former Police Superintendent Pleads Innocent to Misuse of Funds
CHICAGO (AP) _ A former city police superintendent pleaded innocent Wednesday to charges that he improperly used $1,200 in department funds for personal trips.
Richard Brzeczek, who headed the department from 1980 to 1983 during former Mayor Jane Byrne’s administration, entered the plea before Cook County Circuit Chief Judge Richard Fitzgerald. The case was continued unti May 6.
Brzeczek, 43, who has been in private practice since leaving the department, was indicted March 13 by a county grand jury on four counts of theft and 20 counts of official misconduct.
The indictment alleges he spent $1,231 on two personal trips to California and Minnesota, but reported he had attended seminars sponsored by the Police Executive Research Forum and the American Bar Association.
The police department’s travel fund is a discretionary fund used to cover expenses of law enforcement personnel in connection with their jobs. The indictment said such meetings did not occur on those dates, and that Brzeczek instead was visiting a friend.
Prior to the indictment, Brzeczek’s attorney, George Murtaugh Jr., implied his client was being investigated for political reasons.
Brzeczek, running as a Republican candidate in 1984, opposed incumbent Cook County State’s Attorney Richard M. Daley and lost.
To avoid the appearance of impropriety, Daley removed himself from the investigation of Brzeczek and turned the matter over to Michael Angarola, his top assistant.
But after an appearance before the grand jury, Murtaugh said, ″Richie must be afraid Brzeczek is going to run for mayor.″
Daley lost in a three-way Democratic mayoral primary involving Mrs. Byrne and Mayor Harold Washington. Daley, son of the late Mayor Richard J. Daley, has not announced if he will enter next year’s mayoral primary.