The investigation of Dr. Richard Keller, the Democratic Lake County Coroner, for alleged misconduct with relation to a death of an individual who was given methadone at a Waukegan clinic by Keller, which death Keller then investigated as coroner, is attracting more scrutiny in the main stream media. Today, the Chicago Tribune ran an interesting story focusing on the recent proliferation of methadone treatment clinics, and gave some more details on his operation of the Green Dragonfly Clinic (how's that for a 60's-era holdover name?).
Among other interesting factoids in the Trib article are the following:
Keller acknowledged that he and the two women who own the clinic have no background in addiction treatment, which is recommended but not required by law. Methadone clinics must be registered and evaluated by the DEA, the U.S. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment and the state human services agency's Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, officials said.
The state inspected Green Dragonfly in July, citing staff for violations that are being remedied, Keller said. One violation included the failure to report Vaughn's death as required, officials said.
On Friday, the state declined the Tribune's request for a copy of the report, citing exemptions in Illinois' open records law, including one in which a request can be denied if it "would interfere with pending or actually and reasonably contemplated law enforcement proceedings."
Not a total shock that the state is reluctant to cough up this report (various agencies, as well as former guv Blagojevich, are famous for being cagey when it comes to releasing documents), but the fact that the clinic failed to report the death is extremely interesting. Combined with the fact that Keller did the coroner's investigation, it seems there's plenty to look at here. The Trib is usually pretty good about eventually getting hold of documents it wants, so we'll see how this pans out.
Keller admitted that his decision not to run for re-election in 2012 was influenced by the investigation, and not because of his distaste for political fundraising as he originally claimed publicly (not that anyone--especially me--bought it).
As usual, the Lake County Democrats, led by State Senator Terry Link, are claiming this is all political persecution. Wait, what was the last time the notoriously thin-skinned Link used that excuse? Oh, yeah, it was when his petition scandal broke, and he claimed that the allegations of dead people's signatures appearing on his election petition was all concocted by 'Republican operatives.' We all know how that turned out.
Keller has always had a rather unique outlook on his job.
Not to get ahead of ourselves, but we're wondering if the Republican Leadership Team of Sheriff Mark Curran, County Clerk Willard Helander, Treasurer Bob Skidmore, and Superintendent of Schools Roycelee Wood, should start looking for a potential coroner candidate to add to the team should Keller resign or be forced out prior to the end of the nomination period for the upcoming 2010 elections.