Commissioner Terry Steinbach is amending the claim that her e-mail account was improperly accessed and the suit filed in the case will name names.
Steinbach’s lawyer, Charles Mudd Jr., said he plans to name the village of Forest Park and village information technology officer Craig Lundt as defendants in the lawsuit he originally filed for Steinbach against nameless John Does nearly three months ago.
Mudd said he was unable to find out exactly who or which computer allegedly accessed Steinbach’s village e-mail account, but will likely hold the village and Lundt responsible because of their oversight duties.
“We have evidence that someone accessed her e-mail account through web site servers,” Mudd said. “I’ve seen an e-mail account from (the account manager) showing that certain e-mails were forwarded. My client does not want to end the litigation.”
A copy of the amended charges was not available as of Oct. 31.
Steinbach’s original complaint, filed with the U.S. District Court in August, claims that three unknown persons improperly accessed her e-mail account and forwarded several communications on to her political opponent, Mayor Anthony Calderone.
Steinbach announced she is running for mayor in the February 2007 election. Calderone has not formally announced his plans, but is expected to run for re-election.
Steinbach’s motion for limited discovery was granted by the court in August, meaning that a search of electronic records could be conducted to try and pinpoint the alleged culprit. But according to Mudd, Hostway Corporation, which manages the village’s e-mail system, was unable to pinpoint which computer accessed Steinbach’s e-mail account.
“We attempted to obtain information from both the village and Hostway, which was not as successful as we thought it would be,” Mudd said. “Hostway didn’t have the information for the time in question.”
Mudd maintains he does have evidence that Steinbach’s e-mail account was improperly accessed. Steinbach declined to comment on the suit, or the possible motivations one might have for reading her e-mails.
Mudd said although he doesn’t know who accessed Steinbach’s e-mail account he is holding the village responsible because it has the duty of maintaining the security of the system. Specifically, Lundt is the village employee directly responsible for the system, Mudd said.
“The only person who could have done it was the IT person,” Mudd said.
However, if Lundt did access Steinbach’s account, Mudd said it’s likely the job was done at the behest of another.
Village Administrator Michael Sturino is Lundt’s immediate supervisor, and has spent approximately $10,000 conducting an internal investigation. Sturino said his inquiry has turned up nothing to support Steinbach’s allegations. Further, Sturino said the lawsuit could end up costing taxpayers thousands.
“This lawsuit will precipitate a great deal of expense to the taxpayer,” Sturino said.
The village administrator declined to give specifics on his own investigation and said he will not comment on Steinbach’s amended complaint until he has an opportunity to review the document.
Mudd said the new allegations will stop short of accusing other ranking village officials, such as Sturino or Calderone.