Attorney hired by Bolingbrook recommends going after Drew Peterson’s pension

Drew Peterson Mugshot as of January 2014
Today the Chicago Tribune reported that after a 9-month review, attorney Charles Atwell sent a letter to the Bolingbrook Police Pension Fund stating his opinion that there is enough evidence to challenge Drew Peterson’s $79k yearly pension.

Atwell, a public pension expert, was hired in March of last year to study the transcripts of Peterson’s trial for the murder of ex-wife, Kathleen Savio, and to determine if the convicted man had used the knowledge and skills gained as a police officer in the killing.

Under Illinois law, if challenged Drew Peterson would have the right to a public hearing which would be somewhat like a trial, in that the hearing would be public, board members would testify, and Peterson could call witnesses in his defense. He would also have the right to attend the hearing.

While serving his 38-year sentence for murder at the Menard Correctional Center, Peterson’s pension checks have been given over to his adult son, Stephen, who allegedly has been using the funds to raise Lacy and Anthony Peterson, the young children of Stacy (Cales) Peterson, who went missing in the Fall of 2007 and is presumed dead (at the hands of her husband).

Stephen Peterson lost his job as a police officer for the Village of Oak Brook in 2011 when it was determined that he used poor judgement and obstructed an investigation when he agreed to receive money and guns from his father in the days after Stacy Peterson went missing.

Bolingbrook Police Pension Board attorney Richard Reimer says, “The pension board will schedule a special meeting to decide whether or not to pursue that hearing. Reimer expects that to occur in “the next couple of weeks.” He also indicated that if the hearing does occur, Peterson will most likely attend via video-conference, rather than being transported to Bolingbrook.

Peterson’s attorney, Steve Greenberg, has pooh-poohed the idea of his client losing his pension, stating, “There is absolutely no basis in law or fact. This is simply the flavor de jour to pile on Drew. At some point, I hope, they will start applying the same laws that apply to everyone else to Drew Peterson, and make it a fair fight.

Kathleen Savio’s sister told the Tribune, “As a police officer, you’re supposed to serve and protect. He didn’t protect. He used his law-enforcement skills and knowledge to go out and murder my sister. If you do the crime, you should pay the full price. There shouldn’t be any exceptions.

Meanwhile Naperville pastor, Neil Schori, who testified at Peterson’s murder trial to incriminating statements told to him by Stacy Peterson, is afraid that Stacy’s children would suffer if their father was stripped of his pension. He tweeted:

In other news, Joel Brodsky appears to have abandoned his defamation lawsuit against former co-counsel, Steve Grenberg, Stacy St. Clair (Chicago Tribune), and Joe Hosey (AOL Patch). Back in September Greenberg tweeted that Brodsky had to withdraw the complaint because of errors in the filing. Joel Brodsky says that he has dropped the suit for now because of the ill health of the attorney representing him. The complaint was filed by Walter Maksym, who was reprimanded in 2011 for filing a bizarre and nonsensical brief.

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14 thoughts on “Attorney hired by Bolingbrook recommends going after Drew Peterson’s pension

  1. That’s very good news for the people of Bolingbrook.

    Drew surely abused his official position while stalking Kathleen, when he broke in, when he brought another officer with him to pressure her, and absolutely his actions at the ‘discovery’ when he was even in uniform. (if I remember this correctly)
    In any case, I hope they enjoy their debate just so long as you know who stays you know where.

    I see an argument or two to leave the pension as is; not to disturb the innocent children’s comfort and security that they currently have, and that their care may as well be paid for by the fund that DP at least made contributions to. As ever, the wrongdoer is the one who disadvantaged his children (and how), not his employers, not the community, and I believe, the children would have been happily cared for by Stacy’s family members and friends, so the alternative to the pension income is probably not the abyss. Bless them all. What a mess he made. At least he must be pretty miserable

    BTW what do I win for pointing out the conflict of interest extant in DP and Bratsky’s relationship right at the beginning? Thing is, we know they both read here so DP had the heads-up from Bucket *years* ago! LOL!

  2. Bucketoftea, you bring up an interesting point, that there could be alternatives, however unlikely, for the care and custody of the children. I remain astounded that custody of the children went to someone who seems to have, at minimum, a cursory involvement with Stacy’s disappearance, and was probably far more involved than that. (So you can get rid of the mother and steal her children?!)

    I acknowledge the informed opinions of those like Neil Schori who believe that Peterson should keep his pension for the sake of the children. But if his pension can be officially diverted to the care of his children, and/or other victims of these crimes, that would seem to be a just course of action. But should the pension exist at all in light of his crimes? That’s a question that must be asked.

    Peterson most definitely used his cop skills in his crimes and he shouldn’t continue to be rewarded by taxpayers in spite of his bloodlust. He has knowingly forfeited his pension, but expect him to fight as if its sacrosanct. I’ve talked about what happened with pensions in my personal case in posts on officer-involved domestic violence. When the Brame (Tacoma) incident was unfolding on TV, my ex told me that if Crystal Brame had tried to “take” David Brame’s pension in the divorce, it was justifiable homicide. At the time there was case law in our state allowing him to walk out of the marriage with his entire pension despite him using me, my savings, and our money to fatten his retirement accounts to five times the size of mine. Washington, by the way, is a community property state.

    On that note, this pension shouldn’t be seen as solely Drew Peterson’s. His wives helped him earn that. This isn’t something he achieved on his own power without using (intentionally or just in the course of marriage) or hurting anyone else. Whatever happens, Drew Peterson should not continue to receive a pension. He’ll inevitably see efforts to “take” it from his as wrong, though.

  3. While I understand that Stacy’s kids are being cared for with Drew’s pension, I don’t think that should be a factor in determining whether or not he keeps receiving the money.

    The reality is that people who commit crimes often have children and yes, the children suffer because of the actions of their parents but you can’t withhold punishment simply because the convicted person is a parent.

    If it can be shown that Drew is not entitled to that money, then he should not have it. As far as I know, there is nothing on the books that allows for a stipulation that a person can be partly stripped of their pension or that they can keep it but it must be distributed in a certain fashion. If they do decide to go ahead with a hearing, the pension board is going to have to make a decision based on existing law.

    I don’t think there can be any winners in a situation like this, no matter what happens to that pension.

    I’ve brought it up before and I wonder if the Cales family is looking into the possibility of getting Stacy declared dead. She will be missing seven years by next October and if they are able to do that, then Stacy’s kids could possibly get social security.

  4. Bucket, we’ll award you the “First to point out conflict of interest” award if I can get credit for calling BS on the book deal when Drew and Joel claimed they weren’t making any money from it.

    1/9/09:

    “I’m sincerely having trouble buying that Peterson in no way profits from Armstrong’s royalties. Otherwise, why would he be granting interviews to Armstrong that are then used to market the thing?

    There is evidently some current and ongoing connection between Drew, Joel, Glenn and Derek and it simply has to do with money. What else could it be?”

    It turned out that Armstrong had actually coughed up $5k for the questionable privilege of writing Drew’s book…but I’m still going to take credit. 🙂

  5. I have a feeling the attorney fees for the past year of investigating whether to pursue the pension issue far exceed the pension amount. Just saying…

  6. That’s a good point, DD. It did cost the village some $ to retain Atty Atwell. But do you really think it cost more than $79k x the 20-30 years Drew can be expected to live? I have no idea how much he charges to research a case and make a recommendation but I can’t believe it’s over $1.58 million!

  7. I would rather see the state pursue Stacy’s case. A guilty verdict in that case, would better set the stage for a series of things to occur, including pension issues. IMO

  8. I’m not supporting Drew, but in calculating pension costs, didn’t he also contribute a percentage each paycheck? I’m just trying to do the math.
    I think everyone would be shocked with the attorney fee charges for something like this. As for how long someone lives…well that’s always a guess.

  9. If Bolingbrook pursues Drew’s pension, I don’t think that will have an impact one way or another on the State continuing its ongoing investigation into the whereabouts of Stacy Peterson. It’s not really an either/or situation.

    AFAIK, if you are stripped of your pension due to wrongdoing, you are still allowed the contributions you paid into the pension fund, but without interest. That said, those could also be lost because they might be used to pay fines and restitution associated with a criminal conviction.

    Do you have any idea how much an attorney like Atwell was paid? Does a guess of $50-100k sound in the ball park? I’m thinking somewhere around that but I could be completely off base.

  10. I would say the higher figure. I once once told by someone that an attorney’s office usually bills every fifteen minutes, so there needs to be enough clients to account for the staff’s 15 minute time segments. I’m not sure if that made sense. LOL Once you are on “the client list”, the billing meter begins.
    I think the pension issue would have a better chance after Stacy’s case. I would hate for the Bolingbrook tax payers to be further burdened.

  11. I have a couple of questions.

    In my neck of the woods, if a parent dies, the minor children are entitled to collect Social Security until they are 18. Has Stacy been legally declared dead or is that something that may be in the works? (I know of one family here that receives $1,200 for one child after the father died when the child was three. He is now about ten and still collects that monthly income.)

    Second, is there any kind of government assistance available for minor children when their only parent is incarcerated?

  12. It’s time to have Stacy’s death declared, however I hope all of the necessary estate paperwork is firmly in place.Things could get complicated.

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