Former Kane County circuit clerk Thomas Hartwell dies: sheriff

Thomas Hartwell resigned as the chairman of the Kane County Republican Party so he could run for judge. Hartwell is in his second term as Kane County Circuit Clerk.

Editor’s note: This article discusses suicide. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.

Former Kane County Circuit Clerk Thomas Hartwell has died by suicide, Sheriff Ron Hain said Thursday.

According to a statement from Hain and Kane County State’s Attorney Jamie Mosser, sheriff’s deputies responded to Hartwell’s Elgin Township home at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday for a report of a missing adult. A family member reported that Hartwell had been missing for about 24 hours. Deputies asked Palatine police to check Hartwell’s law office, where they found his body.

Hartwell, 63, was indicted last month on multiple charges alleging he misappropriated more than $100,000 in public funds while in office.

For a nearly two-year period, between December 2018 and November 2020, Hartwell improperly steered $119,575 to two companies overseen by Robert Gutierrez of St. Charles, Kane County State’s Attorney Jamie Mosser alleged. Gutierrez, who was president of both companies, also allegedly gave Hartwell $15,000 in kickbacks, Mosser alleged.

Hartwell also was a former Kane County Republican Party chairman. He resigned as party chairman in 2017 to launch an unsuccessful run to become a circuit court judge in Kane County. Hartwell had been a member of the Kane County Board in the late 1990s.

An autopsy on Friday showed that Hartwell had died by suicide, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Mosser and Hain extended condolences to Hartwell’s family and friends, but would not provide additional comments, according to their statement.