Criminal Justice

Van Til Sends Resignation to Governor

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December 3, 2013 – Lake County surveyor George Van Til is sharing his parting comments today in dispatching his letter of resignation to Indiana Governor Mike Pence.

Van Til is a six-term Lake County surveyor who’s also the defendant in a federal criminal case.  He told Lakeshore News yesterday that he’s resigning his position effective Thursday, before he has a change of plea hearing in federal court in Hammond.

He entered a plea agreement in federal court yesterday, agreeing to a “guilty” plea to six counts of wire fraud as a public servant.  The federal indictment against him accuses 66-year-old Van Til of using county government staff and resources to work on his re-elections from 2005-2012.

In Van Til’s statement today to the Governor, he recounts his 44-year record of political activity, “These 40 plus years, by most accounts, were good, honest public service. . . BUT, now this all ends.  I’m finished.  It’s done.  I am resigning my position as Lake County Surveyor effective December 5, 2013.”

“I think that I have given valuable public service, but I’m certainly not indispensable.  I know that I have served with integrity, but I’ve made significant mistakes. . . I now know I stayed too long.”

Van Til’s comments acknowledge his lapses, “I know that the people’s employees and the people’s resources are for the people’s business. . .  I’ve come to acknowledge that long service in the same office can be detrimental and I believe that I am an example of the problems that can be caused by this.  During the last third or so of my tenure, without really realizing it, I developed a sense that it was ‘my office’ and ‘my staff,’ and sometimes, especially in political situations, I approached it as such, on occasion asking employees to work for me, not the public.”

Van Til faces a fine and jail time in his federal court case that he says it ending his public service career, “My mistakes have cost me the end of my career, my stature, my good reputation, my livelihood, my savings and the respect of many, in spite of whatever public good I’ve produced.  The Van Til family and name have been respected here in LakeCounty for more than 100 years and though I mostly added to that, in the end I did not uphold it as I should have.  This is heartbreaking to me and my family and friends.  It should have not turned out this way.  I am sorry and I apologize to those who’ve expressed faith in me for so long and to the taxpayers of Lake County that I let down.  I ask those who believed in me for forgiveness.  I apologize to the public for not staying the course.”

The proposed plea agreement sets aside two other charges against Van Til, subject to federal court approval and ruling on the proposal at Thursday’s hearing in Hammond.

Full statement:  GEORGE VAN TIL STATEMENT FINAL 12.3.13

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