Dan K. Webb. |  Sun-Times file photo

Dan K. Webb. | Sun-Times file photo

Bill for probe into Koschman death tops $585,000

Published Nov. 29, 2012

By TIM NOVAK AND CHRIS FUSCO

Staff Reporters

The cost of the ongoing investigation by a special prosecutor into a 2004 death linked to a nephew of former Mayor Richard M. Daley is up to $585,739.

The Cook County Board’s Finance Committee is set to vote Tuesday on the latest bill submitted by special prosecutor Dan K. Webb, the former U.S. attorney appointed by Cook County Judge Michael P. Toomin in April to reinvestigate David Koschman’s death following a drunken confrontation with Daley nephew Richard J. “R.J.” Vanecko.

The bill for $219,120 covers August and September. Previously, the county has paid bills for the reinvestigation totaling $366,619.

Toomin appointed Webb in April to determine whether Vanecko should be charged in Koschman’s death. Toomin also ordered Webb to investigate whether “employees of the Chicago Police Department and the Cook County state’s attorney’s office acted intentionally to suppress and conceal evidence, furnish false evidence and generally impede the investigation into Mr. Koschman’s death.”

Webb has billed $538,515 for fees for his deputy special prosecutors and paralegals. He also has spent $12,015 on travel expenses and billed for $9,782 in expenses for a grand jury he empaneled in June, according to the bills submitted to the county, which provide only general information about the expenses.

Webb and his staff have been gathering documents and interviewing witnesses, some of whom live out of state. They’ve also interviewed police officers who investigated Koschman’s death in 2004 – when the police said they couldn’t determine who hit Koschman – and those who reinvestigated the case last year.

Koschman, 21, of Mount Prospect, died from brain injuries 11 days after he was struck during a drunken confrontation on Division Street near Dearborn Street in the early-morning hours of April 25, 2004. No one has ever been charged in the case, which remained an unsolved homicide for seven years, until a Chicago Sun-Times investigation prompted then-police Supt. Jody Weis to order a re-examination of the case in January 2011.

Three months before Daley concluded his record-setting tenure as mayor last year, the police concluded that the 6-foot-3, 230-pound Vanecko punched the 5-foot-5, 140-pound Koschman – but did so in self-defense and shouldn’t be charged.

Vanecko, now 38, was never interviewed by the police.

Citing problems uncovered by the Sun-Times with the way police and prosecutors handled the case, Toomin agreed to a request for a special prosecutor made by Nanci Koschman, Koschman’s mother.