Ex-Joliet Mayor Files Federal Suit: Roechner, Reid Among 8 Defendants
Ex-Joliet Mayor Files Federal Suit: Roechner, Reid Among 8 Defendants

Ex-Joliet Mayor Files Federal Suit: Roechner, Reid Among 8 Defendants

JOLIET, IL — More than three months after losing his bid for a third term in office, former Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk has retained a Palos Heights law firm to file a federal RICO lawsuit against former Joliet Police Chief Al Roechner, Roechner’s wife, Nancy, current Elwood Police Commander Marc Reid and a host of others including Shaw Media, the newspaper company that publishes The Herald-News in Joliet.

The federal lawsuit also names former Joliet Herald-News editor Joseph Hosey, who also previously worked for Patch, plus current Joliet City Councilman Pat Mudron and former City Councilman Jim McFarland as defendants.

The lawsuit contends all the defendants acted as an enterprise “to further deliberate illegal conduct against O’Dekirk.” Patch has reached out to all the defendants in the case and will update this story if any respond.

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READ: Ex-Chief, Ex-Deputy Chief Conspired To Damage Mayor: IL State Police

The lawsuit also points out that Shaw Media has control over the publications of The Herald-News and “Shaw Media approved all articles by Hosey, knowing they were false, relevant to this action, published in The Herald-News.”

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On Wednesday afternoon, Joliet Patch interviewed Palos Heights attorney Michael Ettinger, whose firm, Ettinger and Associates, filed the lawsuit.

“We believe we have a very strong case that we filed,” Ettinger told Joliet Patch. “We just filed it today. I would hope the public would read the complaint. It’s all spelled out in there.”

According to his law firm bio, Ettinger graduated with honors from John Marshall Law School in 1970, and he defended Robert Blagojevich in the Northern District of Illinois and after a hung jury, 9 to 3 for acquittal, the charges were dismissed.

Read the full lawsuit:

Here are some of the key allegations raised in Wednesday’s federal lawsuit by Ettinger and Associates:

Another section of the lawsuit against the defendants is identified as “THE SCHEME.”

According to page 5 of the federal suit, “It was imperative for Roechner, Nancy, Reid, Mudron, McFarland and Hosey to damage the reputation of O’Dekirk because he was their political opponent in Joliet, and they saw him as a political obstacle to their career and political goals in Joliet.”

The lawsuit said the defendants “conspired and concocted a false allegation of intimidation against O’Dekirk and “convinced Donald Dickinson through coercion, intimidation and undue influence to make a false police report against O’Dekirk.”

The lawsuit notes that Roechner, Nancy, Reid, Mudron, McFarland Hosey “came into possession of these photos” belonging to Dickinson in which “Dickinson had sent photos of his genitals to an individual with whom he had been romantically involved with.

“O’Dekirk in reality never had possession of Dickinson’s nude photos nor did he even know of their existence until this scheme became public. Reid created a false police report based on Dickinson’s false statements,” the lawsuit contends.

The lawsuit points out that on the night of the November 2020 meeting, Reid “documented these false allegations using an obsolete police form from the city. Reid’s report was handwritten, which was outside the routine practice of the Joliet Police.

Page seven of the lawsuit notes that “a subsequent three-tiered forensic investigation by the Illinois State Police of Dickinson’s phone did not yield any pictures of his genitals. The investigation did reveal that information was recently erased from the phone prior to the forensic investigation. Reid was the person who recovered the phone and handled the phone prior to turning it over for investigation.”


The lawsuit also indicates Reid “made two copies of Dickinson’s phone. The first was a full copy, which he kept to himself. The second was a copy with only select portions of what was on the phone containing only the things that he wanted the ISP and other investigators to see. Reid passed along this second copy with his selected redactions for further investigation. The redacted second copy of the phone removed any evidence of the conspiracy and plans to fabricate evidence against O’Dekirk.”

Another section of the federal lawsuit is identified as HERALD NEWS.

In that part of the lawsuit, the plaintiff’s lawyers argue Hosey “used his position as managing editor at the Herald News to print an article on Nov. 2, 2020, detailing the allegations in Reid’s phony report. Hosey facilitated the printing of the article in the Herald-News knowing that the contents of the report were false. Shaw Media, through Herald-News, printed the article knowing its contents were false. The article was published with the sole intent and purpose of damaging O’Dekirk’s public image.”

According to O’Dekirk’s lawyers, “the goal of publishing the article was to either get O’Dekirk removed as mayor or to lose the election.”

As for Nancy Roechner, the former Joliet chief’s wife, she “at various times in 2021 and 2022 texted Dickinson telling him in essence to stick to the story,” the lawsuit claims. “Hosey continued to publish articles with negative comments towards O’Dekirk, with the last known being dated May 7, 2022, with the intent of damaging O’Dekirk’s reputation and political standing … O’Dekirk was ridiculed in the public eye of Joliet. O’Dekirk’s political career was damaged and specifically he lost re-election for Joliet Mayor in April of 2023.”

In addition to O’Dekirk, his wife and stepson are also listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit because wife Rebecca Marie “was also a victim and was injured in that hearing this news caused her great stress and caused her great emotional distress. O’Dekirk’s stepson, Mason Palacios, was also a victim and was injured in that hearing this news caused him mental and physical health problems. Mason Palacios is a special needs child,” the plaintiffs argue.

Even though former Councilman Dickinson is not a plaintiff or defendant in the lawsuit, O’Dekirk’s lawsuit states that “Dickinson is a victim who was injured. Dickinson was threatened, charged criminally, his reputation damaged, his political career destroyed and on information and belief, his mental health destroyed.

“Dickinson has stated that this situation has ruined his life.”

Furthermore, the lawsuit states, “The People of the city of Joliet are also victims in that they have been injured by being deprived of a fair and honest election, free of influence from the corruption of this conspiracy caused by officials of the city of Joliet.”

Related Joliet Patch coverage of the 2020 saga:

Ex-Chief, Ex-Deputy Chief Conspired To Damage Mayor: IL State Police

Mudron: Dickinson Wanted To Get Ahead Of Private Parts Photo Scandal

Joliet Police Pension Spiker Becomes Elwood Police Sergeant

‘Duck’ Dickinson’s Criminal Case Dismissed, Jobe-Gavin ‘Disappointed’

Ex-Councilman McFarland Files Defamation Suit Vs. Mayor O’Dekirk

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