Commissioner Haney Statement on Connie Gramarossa’s Chicago Crash
As I have been fielding numerous questions regarding the car crash in Chicago involving a County-owned Vehicle that was driven by Commissioner Gramarossa, I am issuing this statement to ensure the public has a better understanding of what has transpired.
In the early morning hours of March 17, 2023, Commissioner Gramarossa was involved in a motor vehicle collision on the north side of Chicago. Gramarossa rear-ended a vehicle stopped at a red light causing $6,500 in damages to the victim’s car and at least $18,000 in damages to a County-owned 2021 Ford Escape. The final bill for repairs to the County vehicle is pending.
On April 5, 2023, the Board of Commissioners was presented with a settlement involving a County Vehicle crash and it was approved in a 2-0 vote, with Gramarossa abstaining. The vote I cast in favor of approving the settlement was made under false pretenses. Presumably, Commissioner Mrozinski was under the same false pretenses. Commissioner Gramarossa never disclosed to the Board of Commissioners that she had been involved in a crash involving a County-owned vehicle, nor that the settlement in front of us was for her negligent actions.
After the vote occurred, in the subsequent days and weeks, I became aware of the crash, that it involved Connie Gramarossa, and that it occurred in Illinois in a County-owned vehicle.
As one example of what I believe were her attempts at covering up the crash, Gramarossa strategically parked her personal vehicle in different locations as to make it difficult or nearly impossible for myself and others to realize she wasn’t using a County vehicle. From early January to 3/16/2023 Gramarossa parked in her Commissioner parking spot. From 3/17/22023 to 5/1/2023 she never used her County parking spot. On 5/1/2023 (the day the media started asking questions) she parked her personal vehicle in her assigned spot for the first time since the crash.
As I accumulated information about the crash, and County vehicle, I checked, double checked, and triple checked to ensure the information and evidence I had was accurate. I then compiled it and turned it over to law enforcement last month. I believe Commissioner Gramarossa has likely committed felonies in what I believe to be her attempt to cover up the accident she was involved in. There are additional key pieces of information I will refrain from sharing at this time, as an investigation is ongoing and I do not want to jeopardize the process.
I chose to notify law enforcement rather than make it public as I didn’t want anyone else who might possibly have been involved in aiding or abetting Gramarossa in concealing this information from the Board itself and the public, to realize the cover-up had been discovered.
If the information surrounding the family member who was in the hospital, and more importantly the timeline on how she came to be on the north side of Chicago is accurate, it is understandable, if still inappropriate. It is also a direct violation of County Ordinances. What is not understandable or acceptable is what I see as a multi-week ruse and attempted coverup to bamboozle both the Board of Commissioners and the Public.
Monday and Tuesday (5/1 and 5/2 2023) of last week I was contacted by different media outlets and asked if I knew about the crash and if it happened; I said I did. I was asked why I hadn’t said anything; I said I did, only instead of going public, I chose to notify law enforcement instead.
On Tuesday afternoon (5/2/2023) Commissioners Gramarossa and Mrozinski met in the Hiler Building, together in her office, for approximately an hour and a half. A meeting of this sort is a blatant violation of the Open Door Law. The building was closed that day but they were seen in the office by witnesses, including myself. The next day, on Wednesday (5/3/2023), I was removed as President of the Commission by Gramarossa and Mrozinski without cause.
The last few weeks have put on display actions that seriously undermine the public’s trust and confidence in our operations as a governing body. I’m frustrated and ashamed that things have disintegrated to the point that our meetings have become a source of ridicule by so many. This is letting down the people of La Porte County, and they deserve better.
Some will suggest that we must all get along, but that simplifies the reality of the situation. No superficial peace is worth compromising your morals or integrity. I’ll keep insisting on a county government rooted in honesty and accountability no matter the personal cost to me. That’s the right thing to do, and it’s why I serve.
Joe Haney
La Porte County Commissioner
To contact Mr. Joe Haney direct about this release
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