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Trial date set for woman accused of stealing from PTO

Elizabeth Bako

Elizabeth Bako

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Updated: August 12, 2013 10:48AM

Members of the Frederick School PTO in Grayslake say the group has been rendered stagnant by ongoing delays in the trial of a Grayslake woman accused of stealing more than $10,000 from the group when she was treasurer.

Following another pre-trial hearing delay Tuesday, July 9, in the case of former PTO treasurer Elizabeth Bako, 41, of Grayslake, stand-in treasurer Mary Grogan said that the loss of money and publicity from the case has made it hard for the PTO to move forward with its mission of fundraising and engaging parents at the school.

“It’s hurting the school and ultimately hurting the kids,” Grogan said. “Because of what’s happening to our group, so far, people don’t want to be involved.”

But things may be heading toward resolution. Lake County Circuit Court Judge Victoria Rossetti granted one final delay, moving a pre-trial hearing scheduled Tuesday to Sept. 4 and setting a trial date of Oct. 7 instead of Aug. 26.

She indicated it will be the last delay granted to the defense in the case.

“October 7. That is a realistic trial date and we’ll go to trial at that date,” Rossetti said.

Assistant State’s Attorney Scott Turk had told the judge that due to ongoing delays “the PTO is unable to move forward and unable to raise funds.”

But defense attorney Christopher Lombardo said the defense needs and deserves time to review newly-filed records including emails between Bako and school employees.

Rossetti said she sympathized with the PTO but agreed that the defense has the right to review the records.

Bako is accused of taking more than $10,000 from Frederick School while she was the PTO’s treasurer, and the Grayslake fifth and sixth grade school’s PTO fund started with a zero balance at the start of the 2012-2013 school year, officials said.

The PTO has been working to raise funds and restore the funds allegedly taken by Bako, but a resolution to the case and potential restitution would greatly improve the situation, members said. She is barred from having contact with Frederick School as part of her bond conditions, but she has been granted permission to register her children for school.

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