Earlier this year the Chesterton Utility spent a modest sum on a forensic
examination of office computers, when it was discovered, after former
superintendent Steve Yagelski’s resignation on Feb. 6, that certain data
files were missing.
Now Yagelski has agreed to reimburse that amount, while the Utility for its
part has agreed to drop in perpetuity the matter of the missing files.
At its meeting Monday night, the Utility Service Board voted 4-0 to accept
Yagelski’s payment of $1,728.12 and in exchange to release him from any
future litigation or prosecution. President Larry Brandt was not in
The “Town of Chesterton . . . hereby releases and forever discharges
Yagelski from all such claims, demands, causes of action, or prosecution of
actions which it has or might in the future have against him or may have
arising out of or in any way connected to the alleged deletion, loss, or
destruction of computer files occurring during or after Yagelski’s
employment by the Town of Chesterton,” the document reads in part.
“It is further understood and agreed that this is a settlement or compromise
of a disputed claim and that the payment and acceptance of payment made
hereunder is not to be construed as an admission of liability, all liability
being expressly denied by Yagelski,” the document concludes.
“There was an issue about these files, what happened to them,” Associate
Town Attorney Chuck Parkinson told the Chesterton Tribune after the
meeting. “The Utility eventually recovered some of the files. The amount of
$1,728.12 is reflective of the cost of the forensic examation of the
computers, staff time, and legal fees.”
Qualify for Money
In other business, the Service Board voted 4-0 to approve an expenditure of
no more than $54,600 to retain the services of consultant SEH Inc., which
will shepherd the Utility through the bureaucratic review now being
conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of a federal earmark
of $300,000 obtained by U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-1st, for a re-line of
the 18-inch gravity line along Porter Ave.
The estimated cost of that project: $400,000; the earmark, $300,000; the
Utility’s share, $100,000.
Interim Superintendent Mark O’Dell told the Tribune after the meeting
that the amount of $54,600 is in addition to the Utility’s $100,000 match.
To qualify for the earmark the Utility must complete the project by the end
of October. The re-line itself should only take a couple of weeks, O’Dell
said. But the Army Corps’ review of the project is rigorous, likely to be
lengthy, and complex to the point of necessitating SEH’s services.
“Two or three months of paperwork,” Member John Schnadenberg remarked. “Two
weeks for the project.”
O’Dell told the Service Board that at least one source of significant
infiltration into the sanitary sewer system east of Ind. 49 has been
remedied: a leak identified in a lateral for a building on Sidewalk Road in
Coffee Creek Center.
R.V. Sutton Inc. has repaired that lateral, O’Dell said, the breach in which
was flowing large quantities of groundwater into the system.
Originally, O’Dell remarked, it was thought possible that an
Indiana-American Water Company line had broken somewhere in the area, so
much water was entering the system. Actually, however, R.V. Sutton
determined that the water table was simply exceedingly high and that
groundwater was flowing into the lateral through the breach.
Member Jim Raffin took a moment at the end of the meeting to thank O’Dell
for his work to this point as Interim Superintendent and noted that
“everything is pretty well organized.”
Schnadenberg agreed and added that O’Dell has been doing a fine job
communicating with the Utility employees and liaising with the Street