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CHICAGO SUN-TIMES MONDAY, AUGUST 6, 2012

NEWS

THE KILLING OF DAVID KOSCHMAN | A WATCHDOGS INVESTIGATION

DOES GRAND JURY HAVE KOSCHMAN VIDEO?


BY TIM NOVAK AND CHRIS FUSCO

grand jury has been looking for any surveillance video that might show a nephew of then-Mayor Richard M. Daley throwing the punch that led to David Koschmans death in 2004. No one will say whether the grand jury turned up any video of Koschman or Daley nephew Richard J. R.J. Vanecko and, if it has, where those videos have been for the past eight years. No videos had surfaced prior to the grand jury investgation, which began three months ago. But now the operators of some of Chicagos most-storied latenight bars say theyve been subpoened by the grand jury Operators of Division Street taverns around the location where David Koschman was punched say they have received subpoenas. | SUN-TIMES FILES led by Special Prosecutor criminal charges against Koschman, 21, of Mount tion of Koschmans death, had, we turned over. charges should be filed Dan K. Webb. anyone, the case remained Prospect, and four friends completed in 2004. Benson says the grand against Vanecko or anyone The bars Butch on the books as an unsolved bumped into Vanecko, then Asked whether his bars jury was looking for video else in Koschmans death McGuires, Mothers and homicide until the Chicago 29, and three of his friends keep video from that far and documents. He wont and whether police and The Lodge, among others on the sidewalk on the south Sun-Times asked to see the back, Benson says, Not in say whether his company prosecutors didnt file also have been asked to general. We dont keep them side of Division west of Dear- case file in January 2011, turned over any video of charges against produce credit card born. The 5-foot-5, 140-pound four months before Daley that long. Koschman and the drunken Vanecko because of receipts that could left office. Butch McGuires also was Koschman and one of Vanconfrontation with Vanhis ties to Daley. identify witnesses to That request sparked a eckos companions got into subpoenaed for video and ecko, who the police have Weve received the early-morning reinvestigation by the police. an argument. It ended, the credit card receipts. said jumped in a cab with a subpoenas, and confrontation of April We did have a subpoena, police say, when the 6-foot-3, This time, they concluded friend and took off as Kosweve answered the 25, 2004, when the 230-pound Vanecko punched that Vanecko threw the says Dominique Simonetti, chman lay in the street. subpoenas as best police say Vanecko punch. But they also decided a Butch McGuires manager. Koschman in the face, causI cant talk about that, we could, says Dan struck Koschman Richard J. that Vanecko who was ing him to fall and crack his We had nothing to give says Benson. Its under inBenson, human during an argument Vanecko head on the street. Hospital- never interviewed by the them. vestigation by a grand jury. resources adminison Division Street police had acted in selfized in a coma, Koschman Simonetti says the bar He also wont say whether trator for The Lodge near Dearborn. defense and shouldnt be died 11 days later. didnt have video cameras his company previously Management Group, which Webb, a former U.S. atcharged. They closed the Though the police conin 2004. turned over video to the runs five Division Street torney, is using the grand case on March 1, 2011. Webb wont talk about the cluded their investigation bars, including Mothers and Chicago Police Department jury to gather evidence and Ten days later, the Sunin 2004 without seeking during the original investiga- case. The Lodge. Whatever we decide whether criminal

Staff Reporters

NEWS

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES MONDAY, AUGUST 6, 2012

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THE WATCHDOGS
Times filed a public records request under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act asking to see any videos the police might have obtained during their now-closed investigation. The confrontation between Koschman and Vanecko had occurred outside a Starbucks and across the street from a Walgreens and Fifth-Third Bank all businesses that have video surveillance cameras. The police department denied the request for videos. It didnt give any explanation. None of the police reports from the nine detectives who investigated Koschmans death in 2004 mention whether surveillance tapes existed or whether the police looked for video back then. After he was punched, Koschman never regained consciousness. The two detectives originally assigned to the case Rita OLeary and Robert Clemens were on it for one day, then went on vacation. No one worked the case again until May 10, 2004 four days after Koschman died, according to police records. Then, Detective Ronald E. Yawger and other homicide investigators were assigned to the case. I dont think there was any surveillance out there, Yawger, who has since retired from the police department, said in an interview last year. If they didnt do it right away, Im sure it didnt get done. The newspaper also turned up other problems with the way the case was handled, including missing case files in the Cook County states attorneys office. Those stories prompted Koschmans mother, Nanci Koschman, to go to court seeking the appointment of a special prosecutor. In March, Cook County Circuit

Special Prosecutor Dan K. Webb has convened a grand jury to investigate the death of David Koschman. | JOHN H. WHITE~SUN-TIMES
Judge Michael P. Toomin agreed, and he assigned the case to Webb on April 23. Its unclear whether the grand jury has subpoenaed other businesses in addition to the bars. Asked if Starbucks was subpoenaed, a company spokeswoman would only refer any questions to the police or the special prosecutor. A spokesman for Walgreens says the company hasnt received a subpoena and, to the best of our knowledge, was never asked to turn over surveillance to the police from 2004. Koschman and his friends had been drinking at the old Bar Chicago, 9 W. Division, before running into Vaneckos group. At the time, Bar Chicago now known as Detention was a client of Vaneckos older brother, Mark Vanecko, an attorney who was working then for his familys law firm, Daley & George. Mark Vanecko was the bars registered agent between 2000 and 2008, when its owners sold the business to Pera M. Odishoo. Mark Vanecko is no longer the bars registered agent and hasnt been for three years. Odishoo says he hasnt gotten any subpoenas from Webbs grand jury. Mark Vanecko didnt respond to messages seeking comment about whether Bar Chicago turned over any video to the police in 2004.

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