Fox Lake mayor defends trip to Bears game

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FOX LAKE, Ill. -- The village board in Fox Lake met Tuesday night for the first time since the bombshell announcement that Lieutenant Joe Gliniewicz committed suicide.

During the meeting, Mayor Donny Schmit defended his trip to San Diego with former police chief Michael Behan. The two men were in California for last night’s Bears-Charges game.

“Nothing is more important during serious challenging times than having friends and family support you along the way,” Mayor Schmit said. “It’s a trip between friends. nothing official. And I’m sure I’ll be doing it again next year with the same group.”

WGN Investigates reports that multiple high-ranking officials are furious about the trip because Behan is under investigation by the Village of Fox Lake. Also, the trip comes less than week after the revelations were reveled about Gliniewicz.

Officials say the trip looks terrible.  Today, interim Fox Lake Police Chief Mike Keller said it was not the best decision.

Tonight, Mayor Schmitt refused to talk about what the chief said.

Ellen Allen, a Fox Lake resident, said she doesn’t see why the trip has caused a big fuss.
“You and your co-partner, one might be under investigation but in your heart you know it’s not true. Should you just leave him on the side of the road and let him get run over by traffic? I don’t think so. You should support him,” she said.

Many questions remain in the Gliniewicz controversy. The police lieutenant’s personnel file contains complaints of harassment and drinking and investigators say he misused funds from the Fox Lake Police Explorer program over a number of years. The new police chief says he doesn’t how Gliniewicz’s behavior went unchecked.

“Since I’ve been here I’ve heard a lot of things about the culture of Fox Lake and this whole region and we’re working to change that culture. We’re bringing change to Fox Lake,” Keller said.

Some of Gliniewicz’s text messages raised questions about whether he was trying to plant evidence so tonight, according to the Chicago Tribune, the Lake County State’s Attorney looking into Gliniewicz’s cases.