Tag Archives: Richard Vanecko

Chicago Police, members of Ex-Mayor Daley’s family sued for manslaughter cover up

by Doug Book, editor

Late on an April night in 2004, Richard Vanecko, the nephew of then Mayor Richard M. Daley, threw a single punch at David Koschman on a sidewalk in Downtown Chicago. Vanecko, Koschman and the small groups accompanying them had been drinking. An argument broke out and the blow from the 6’3″ 230lb Vanecko drove the 5’5″ 125lb Koschman to the pavement. Koschman’s head struck the cement with such force that he died 12 days later in a Chicago hospital.

The police investigation didn’t begin until after David Koschman died. “[Police] didn’t conduct lineups to try to identify who threw the punch until almost a month after it happened,” during which time, Vanecko had shaved his head in order to change his appearance. Though no one at the lineup could identify him, when the case was re-opened in 2011 in response to a series of investigative articles and a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by the Chicago Sun-Times, police admitted they had known who threw the punch shortly after the event took place. Both police and prosecutors withheld the name of Richard Vanecko from the public for 7 years.

In 2004, although the Cook County medical examiner labeled Koschman’s death a homicide, prosecutors shut down the investigation and refused to file charges because police claimed witnesses told detectives that Koschman was the aggressor; that he charged at Vanecko’s group after its members had turned to walk away. As a result, the official position of Chicago police was that Vanecko (who they have NEVER questioned about the killing) had acted in self-defense.

Though each of Koschman’s friends told detectives that David was NOT the aggressor and that he had been “sucker punched” by Vanecko, prosecutors quickly agreed with the self-defense assessment by Chicago police. Anita Alvarez, “…a top prosecutor under Cook County State’s Attorney Richard Devine,” claimed that: “All witnesses who were questioned indicated that Koschman was the aggressor and had initiated the physical confrontation by charging at members of the other group…”

Of course, prior to being elected state’s attorney himself, Richard Devine “…was the top deputy to Vanecko’s uncle, Richard M. Daley, when Daley was state’s attorney.”

Upon opening the 2011 re-investigation, “…prosecutors claimed their files on the case “had disappeared.” Even so, the Cook County state’s attorney’s office said it would “…stand by its initial conclusion that no one should be charged.” When asked his opinion of the lost file, Criminal Defense Attorney Richard King, a law professor at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, said: “They declined charges, but they can’t find the file?”  “I’ve been doing this for 39 years, literally thousands of cases. I’ve never seen a felony-review file missing. Ever. Never heard of one.”

Given concerns about the way in which both the 2004 and 2011 investigations of David Koschman’s death were conducted, attorneys representing David’s mother, Nanci Koschman, asked Cook County Judge Michael Toomin to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the actions of both Chicago police and the Cook County Prosecutor’s Office. Stating that in his opinion the self-defense rationale was constructed by the police “from whole cloth,” Judge Toomin appointed former United States Attorney Dan Webb as special prosecutor.

 Webb conducted a 17 month investigation into events surrounding the death of Koschman and on March 24, 2014, attorneys filed a 44 page Complaint on behalf of Nanci Koschman. Named in the Complaint are Richard Vanecko, “unidentified” Daley family members and 25 Chicago police and Cook County Prosecutors, including Richard Devine and Anita Alvarez. The Complaint accuses defendants of “…continuing [a] cover-up conspiracy that was designed to deny Mrs. Koschman…her Constitutional rights and to protect the Daley family from criminal prosecution, civil liability, and political embarrassment.”

On February 1st, 39 year old Richard Vanecko plead guilty to Involuntary Manslaughter before McHenry County Judge Maureen McIntyre. In a plea agreement reached by special prosecutor Dan Webb and Vanecko’s attorneys, Vanecko will spend 60 days in jail, 60 days of monitored home confinement and 2 1/2 years of probation. He will also pay $20,000 in restitution to Mrs. Koschman and apologize for his actions.  Though hardly a severe sentence, this might be the most expensive felony rap with which the Daley family has ever been connected. Undoubtedly they walked away scot-free from most.

Vanecko’s plea agreement came 2 weeks before his trial on manslaughter charges was scheduled to begin.

As Rahm Emanuel is unlikely to stick his neck out by continuing the original cover up, it’s just possible that participants in the Daley dynasty will feel a little heat. Wouldn’t THAT be a change of pace for people in the Windy City!

Sources:

http://peopleslawoffice.com/plo-files-koschman-civil-rights-case/

http://projects.suntimes.com/koschman/latest-news/mom-cant-let-them-get-away-with-this-again/

http://peopleslawoffice.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Koschman-Complaint-1_201403241429.pdf

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-02-01/news/chi-koschman-vanecko-20140131_1_vanecko-u-s-attorney-dan-webb-nanci-koschman

http://www.suntimes.com/3997332-417/questions-arise-in-2004-death-involving-daley-nephew.html

http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local&id=9478327

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-03-24/news/chi-lawsuit-by-koschmans-mother-says-cops-made-up-evidence-about-sons-death-20140324_1_nanci-koschman-david-koschman-richard-vanecko

http://peopleslawoffice.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/2014.-March.PMCRLR-Vol.-11-No.-2-Koschman-Article.pdf

Previous Coach is Right pieces:

http://www.coachisright.com/tag/richard-vanecko/

http://www.coachisright.com/the-mayor-daley-family-gets-away-with-murder-yes-the-real-thing/

Grand Jury threatens to expose police/mayoral cover-up of manslaughter in Chicago

by Doug Book,  staff writer

In March, Coach is Right published a story of official cover-up and falsification of witness testimony involved in the 2004 death of David Koschman at the hands of Richard Vanecko, nephew of former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.

In the early morning hours of April 25th 2004, Koschman and three friends bumped into someone from a group which had been visiting the bars in downtown Chicago. A moment later, a member of that party struck Koschman, driving his head into the street causing brain damage from which the young man never recovered. His mother buried him 20 days later, disconnecting life support after 2 failed surgeries.

One full month after the event, police informed Koschman’s mother that her 5’5”, 125 lb son had “been the aggressor” in a fight with the 6’3”, 230 lb Vanecko and as a result, though her son was killed, no charges would be brought. Police told Mrs. Koschman that she would be “impressed” with who her son’s attacker was related to and that “… if she sued, his family had the wherewithal to tie the case up in court ‘for years.’ In fact, Vanecko and a friend had run away after the punch was thrown and Vanecko was only identified at all because another member of his party had been physically restrained at the scene by witnesses. (1)

Seven years later the case was briefly reopened in response to a flurry of articles in which the Chicago Sun Times accused police and the Mayor’s office of official malfeasance and cover-up. The Sun Times had discovered that police did NOT interview witnesses until Koschman had died, some 3 weeks after the event; that Vanecko had refused to be interviewed by police and had shaved his head to change his appearance in anticipation of a police lineup which was held 1 MONTH after the altercation; that witness Michael Connolly claimed police had misrepresented his statements to them in order to make Koschman appear the aggressor; that the case file had suddenly gone missing from the prosecutor’s office and that the States Attorney refused to reveal the name of the prosecutor who decided to neither file charges or refer the case to a Grand Jury.

The case was then officially closed by Chicago police.

But in 2012, the events of Koschman’s death were finally turned over to a Grand Jury which on December 3rd indicted Vanecko for “…the use of physical force without lawful justification…” and with “…recklessly perform[ing] acts which were likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another…” Vanecko has been indicted for involuntary manslaughter, a charge which could bring up to 5 years in jail. (1)

Circuit Court Judge Michael Toomin found that, “…in public statements, prosecutors and police portrayed Vanecko as acting in self-defense despite never having interviewed or spoken to him…” A special prosecutor appointed by the judge is asking for “…the grand jury’s investigation into whether the Chicago Police Department and the county’s state attorney’s office ‘acted intentionally to suppress and conceal evidence, furnish false evidence and generally impede the investigation’ .” (1)

“Under [the] circumstances, the public could well conclude that the entire claim of self-defense came not from Vanecko, but, rather, was conjured up in the minds of law enforcement,” concluded Toomin. (2)

Difficult as it is to believe that a Daley family member might get preferential—indeed ILLEGALLY preferential—treatment in Chicago, that is exactly what a grand jury could refer for trial

Unfortunately for Richard Vanecko, it appears that Rahm has found no personal benefit in continuing a cover up for the nephew of Richard Daley.

(1) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2242627/Former-Chicago-mayors-nephew-charged-killing-man-bar-fight.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490

(2) http://townhall.com/news/us/2012/12/03/richard_vanecko_nephew_of_former_chicago_mayor_daley_indicted

Further reading:

http://www.coachisright.com/the-mayor-daley-family-gets-away-with-murder-yes-the-real-thing/

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-12-10/news/chi-richard-vanecko-david-koschman-daley-nephew_1_rush-street-nightlife-district-david-koschman-daley-nephew

http://www.suntimes.com/3997332-417/questions-arise-in-2004-death-involving-daley-nephew.html