Ex-Crestwood water operator to plead guilty in federal case
BY CASEY TONER firstname.lastname@example.org April 10, 2013 6:34PM
Crestwood’s former certified water operator is set to plead guilty Thursday to federal charges that he lied to regulators about the village supplementing its drinking water supply with tainted water, his attorney said.
Attorney Patrick Blegen, representing Frank Scaccia, said Scaccia is to submit his plea at 2 p.m. in U.S. District Court in Chicago. Blegen declined to comment as to why Scaccia will plead guilty.
The plea is set to be made days before Scaccia and Theresa Neubauer, former water department head and now on leave as Crestwood police chief, are to go on trial for allegedly lying to environmental regulators about the village using water from a well containing vinyl chloride — a known carcinogen — to supplement its drinking water supply over more than two decades.
The village told residents and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency it was using only Lake Michigan water as drinking water after 1985, when it discovered a village well had been tainted by vinyl chloride. But regulators later discovered the village continued to use the well for as much as 20 percent of its drinking water from 1985 to 2007.
Scaccia and Neubauer’s jury trial is scheduled to begin Monday. A judge previously ruled there would be one trial but that each would have a separate jury, because certain evidence is not admissible for each defendant. Each jury could be ordered out of the courtroom when certain evidence is presented, and the verdicts will be reached independently.
Judge Joan B. Gottschall previously ruled against the defendants’ request to dismiss the indictment for lack of federal jurisdiction.
Gottschall also ruled against Scaccia’s request to suppress six statements he made to EPA investigators last April. Scaccia’s attorneys claimed that when he talked to investigators, he was told the information he gave them would be confidential. Scaccia also told them he wanted “whistleblower protection” for speaking to them.
Gottschall ruled that investigators never promised Scaccia any protection and kept his statements from the media and his employers, thus keeping his statements confidential.
Neubauer’s attorneys did not respond to multiple messages Wednesday.