State Police Raid Illinois Politican’s Office, Gather Gaming Docs

Written By J.R. Duren on January 23, 2023
vlt illinois gaming licenses city hall

The past couple of weeks were anything but typical at Waukegan City Hall, a municipal building tucked away between the Wisconsin border and Chicago.

State police raided the office of city councilmember (“alderman”) Roudell Kirkwood on Jan. 12 to search for, among other things, documents related to video gaming license applications. Kirkwood is under investigation for theft, wire fraud, forgery, and misconduct.

Waukegan Mayor Ann Taylor emailed comments to the Lake County News-Sun last week. Her comments included an admonition for city employees.

“I urge city employees and elected officials to fully cooperate with this investigation and any other inquiries from law enforcement,” she wrote.

Kirkwood under investigation regarding Illinois gaming licenses

Kirkwood represents Waukegan’s 4th Ward and he’s the chair of the city’s broadband committee. He also serves on committees related to public works and city codes.

The councilmember’s record is anything but sterling. This past July, the Statewide Gaming Command and Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) charged him with:

  • 26 counts of forgery
  • Two counts of wire fraud
  • Two counts of official misconduct
  • One count of theft by deception

Authorities allege Kirkwood committed 16 acts of forgery related to falsified documents he sent to the IGB. Reports indicate the documents were related to video gaming licenses.

According to reports, Kirkwood allegedly falsified documents he sent to the IGB. Those false documents led to Kirkwood getting a video gaming license. The councilmember made up to $500,000 in revenue from video gaming based on the falsified application.

Authorities said the City Hall raid was part of an ongoing investigation. So, it’s likely any documents or records authorities seized during the raid are linked to Kirkwood’s gaming application.

Court records also show that Kirkwood participated in two bankruptcy cases and was the plaintiff in a civil rights complaint against the Board of Education of the Waukegan Community Unit School District. The latter case was settled.

American Place casino not implicated in raid

Based on the information at hand, American Place, an under-construction casino in Waukegan, is not involved in the investigation.

Kirkwood’s case goes back to at least 2019, well before Full House Resorts, American Place’s owner, received its preliminary license in late 2021.

As a side note, American Place plans to open a temporary casino as it develops a permanent casino. The property scored a big win earlier this month when the city council approved the property’s ground lease and development agreement.

The temporary casino will house 1,000 slot machines, 50 table games, a sportsbook, and multiple dining options. American Place will be the 12th Illinois casino to open.

Photo by PlayUSA
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J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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