Attorney General charges Wapella man in DeWitt County Court

CLINTON — Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul has filed charges against a Wapella area man alleging he defrauded Wapella Township while he was a road commissioner.

Raoul’s office filed 22 charges in DeWitt County Circuit court against Eldon Cusey, 58, a former Wapella Township road commissioner.  Charges include forgery, official misconduct and deceptive practice/theft of less than $100,000.  The theft charge is a Class 1 felony, all others are Class 3 felonies.

The complaint was filed on Thursday.

In May 2022, the Wapella Township Board asked Cusey to resign and pay restitution for thousands of dollars in fraudulent charges it claimed Cusey made using the township’s credit card.  Minutes of the board’s May 10, 2022 meeting show the board discussed the credit card charges.  Minutes also show Cusey agreed to resign and paid restitution of $27,253.

Some of the credit card charges, which took place from January-November 2021, not appearing to be for township use included a food dehydrator, clothing, pet food, canning supplies, gardening supplies, more than $1,500 for Busch Lite beer, furniture and multiple charges for a long list of grocery and other items that continued through 2021.

 “Government employees have an obligation to use government funds and property responsibly,” Raoul said. “Taxpayers must be able to trust that those who serve on their behalf use their authority for the public good and not to enrich themselves.”

 The Illinois State Police (ISP) led the investigation into Cusey’s alleged misconduct.

“The public must be able to trust public officials to use their tax dollars ethically,” said ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly. “ISP’s Special Investigative Unit will continue to investigate public corruption and work with the Illinois Attorney General’s Office to bring to justice those who break the law.”

Assistant Attorneys General Mara Somlo and Haley Bookhout are handling the case for Raoul’s Public Integrity Bureau.

If convicted, Cusey could face up to 15 years in prison for the Class 1 felony.  A single Class 3 felony can carry up to five years in prison.  Cusey is charged with one Class 1 felony as well as four counts of official misconduct and 17 counts of forgery.

Cusey is scheduled to be arraigned at 9 a.m. on March 14 in DeWitt County Court.