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home : local news : local news June 24, 2016

2/7/2014 1:39:00 PM
Tracy files suit over theft case
The man who was accused of theft from a family trust has filed a civil case against those involved in his prosecution.

Stephen D. Tracy, 54, Robinson, was charged of stealing $10,000 from a family fund intended for Colt Duke, his stepson, on Oct. 18, 2013.

The charges were later dropped, with prejudice, by Crawford County State's Attorney Matthew Hartrich.

Tracy's case includes his wife, Kimberly Tracy, as a litigant. It was filed by attorney Stephen M. Osborne, Mt. Vernon.

The suit seeks a total of more than $700,000 in damages, including attorney's fees and any additional damages a jury may award.

In the civil filing, Tracy alleges that the case against him was the result of more than a decade of disputes related to the trust for Mary Martha Gumm, Kimberly's grandmother. The harassment and criminal case caused him to suffer damage to his employment as a financial adviser at Edward Jones, his reputation in the community and the loss of customers as a result of the false accusations, the filing said.

There were three groups listed in the case document.

The civil case lists Colt Duke, Shaun Wheeler and Ann Parrish for their involvement in bringing the suit and prior alleged harassment.

It also names Robinson Police Chief Bill Ackman, Crawford County State's Attorney Matthew Hartrich and the City of Robinson for their involvement in the prosecution.

The civil case also names Summit Bancshares, Ltd., doing business as The First National Bank in Olney. The bank had the accounts related to the trust.

The case involves several people related to Gumm. Parrish was her daughter. Parrish's children are Kimberly Tracy and Wheeler. Duke, the man who supposedly had the money taken from him, is Kimberly Tracy's son by a previous marriage.

Gumm was a disabled adult and in 1995 transferred her guardianship from Wheeler to both Stephen and Kimberly Tracy. This transfer was challenged in court by Wheeler and Parrish. The court sided with the Tracys.

The documents also allege several other incidents in which Wheeler, Parrish and Duke are said to have harassed the Tracys, both personally and in relation to the management of the trust.

It says Parrish and Wheeler made complaints to Edward Jones and the SEC about Stephen Tracy in an attempt to discredit him. It said this continued, with Duke joining the civil conspiracy in May 2010 when the group tried to get the Robinson police to investigate alleged elder abuse of Gumm.

The Illinois State Police and Illinois Department of Public Health did not file any charges after those accusations.

Parrish also did not inform Kimberly Tracy about moving Gumm to a new assisted-living home or Gumm's death on Dec. 9, 2009. As a result, Tracy missed the funeral of her grandmother, the filing alleges.

Family members received the initial charges, but official bodies were also charged in the civil suit.

The document alleges "neither Ackman or any representative of the Robinson Police Department sought or obtained Tracy's bank records of checks paid to determine whether Tracy promptly distributed the subject funds to Duke." If they had done so, the investigation would have ended immediately, the filing alleges.

The City of Robinson was listed as a defendant because of its employment of Ackman and the police department.

The document also charges Hartrich with malicious prosecution, claiming he should have determined that there was no grounds to charge Tracy.

The accusation against the bank alleges it did not alert the Tracys to the subpoena requested by Duke and Wheeler on the Tracys' checking account.

"Had the First National Bank in Olney notified the Tracys of the Bank's receipt of the subpoena and mailed a copy as required... Tracy would have had nearly 2 months to advise Hartrich of the fact that led to Hartrich to move that the criminal case against Tracy be dismissed and avoid the filing of the criminal charge," the document said.

Judge Christopher Weber recused himself from the case. The case was sent to the Chief Judge's Office for assignment to another judge.

The next scheduled action is a case management conference on June 24.

Claims made in a lawsuit state only one side of the case and may be proved or disproved in court.

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