Monday, November 23, 2009

Another Illinois Official Found Dead

It's a tough time for Illinois officials. The head of the Sangamon County Circuit Clerk's passport and traffic division was found dead in Lake Michigan near Buckingham Fountain in Chicago. Matthew Dennison was attending an Association of Illinois County Officials meeting in Chicago with his boss, Sangamon County Circuit Clerk Tony Libri, according to the Chicago Tribune, which reports the following:

Libri said he learned of Dennison's death when Chicago police knocked on his door at about 9 a.m., asking him to identify the body. Libri had few details of the case, but said he didn't suspect foul play or suicide.

"I had dinner with him last night and he was fine. He wasn't depressed," Libri said.

Dennison had worked with him since 1996 and is survived by his wife and three children.

"He's my employee but he's one of my close friends," he said. "He was a great guy."
Libri says he doesn't suspect foul play or suicide. At least three Chicago political insiders under investigation have allegedly committed suicide over the past two years. Did he decide to go for a swim in Lake Michigan this time of the year? The State Journal-Register says Dennison, a 40-year-old, may have slipped and fallen into the lake and drowned or had a heart attack. He was found early this morning wearing the same clothes he was wearing when he and Libri dined the evening before. Dennison also worked part-time for a local radio station according to the Journal-Register.

When I lived in Springfield back in the 1980s, Libri worked as a weatherman for WICS, a local NBC television affiliate in Springfield. I recall having fun with my roommate and his fiance' poking fun at him during his weather broadcasts. Later, my roommate's girlfriend broke off their engagement and wound up marrying Libri. Ouch! I always wondered what made her change her opinion of him. Libri is the current Sangamon Co. GOP Chairman and a very close political associate of William Cellini, a wealthy businessman and big-time political insider who is currently facing indictment on public corruption charges arising out of the awarding of state pension investment contracts in Illinois under former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

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