June 22, 2021

Lincoln-Way fraud case may get pushed to March

Criminal case against former superintendent pending for over 3 years

A federal fraud case against a former Lincoln-Way School District 210 superintendent may get pushed back to March.

On Monday, assistant U.S. attorneys and attorneys for Lawrence Wyllie, 83, of Naperville, filed a joint status report in federal court asking U.S. Judge Gary Feinerman for a new court date on March 8. Both parties expect on that date they will be “better positioned to address the court’s inquiry as to how this case will proceed,” the report said.

More than three years ago, Wyllie was indicted on federal fraud charges that accused him of misappropriating funds from Lincoln-Way for his own benefit and concealing the district's true financial condition from the public.

Monday’s status report said Wyllie provided a “detailed written and oral overview of the medical events and conditions” he has dealt with since August 2018, and documentation “detailing such serious and ongoing medical conditions.”

Federal prosecutors and Wyllie’s attorneys had a conference to address what work remains left for both parties and whether a Dec. 7 status hearing should be rescheduled, according to the report.

“While the parties are not yet in a position to determine how this case will proceed, the parties are committed to continuing their dialogue about what work remains before they will be in a position to determine how this case will proceed,” the report said.

Wyllie’s attorneys, Dan Webb and Anthony Matthew Durkin, did not respond to a message Monday inquiring about the case and if they still intend to go to trial. A representative of the Winston & Strawn law firm said Webb was “out of town” and to contact him by email.

In 2017, Webb said, "We will be going to trial and we expect that a jury will find Mr. Wyllie not guilty of these charges."

In response to questions on the case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Fitzpatrick said, “We cannot discuss pending cases, so we must decline to comment at this point.”

All federal civil and criminal jury trials for the Northern District of Illinois were suspended in late October in response to a renewed surge of COVID-19 cases.

Wyllie was superintendent of Lincoln-Way for 24 years until he retired in 2013. He continues to receive income from his pension with the Teachers' Retirement System of the state of Illinois.

Wyllie was praised by former Lincoln-Way Board President Ron Kokal as an "absolute genius in school financing" but federal prosecutors alleged he caused the school district to assume $7 million in additional debt and misused at least $80,000 in district funds for his own personal benefit.

Felix Sarver

Felix Sarver covers crime and courts for The Herald-News