ROCKFORD (WREX) — In the wake of additional charges against Winnebago County Coroner Bill Hintz, the Winnebago County Republican Party Chairman Eli Nicolosi called for Hintz to resign from his elected position.
"These new charges only underline the severity of his crimes, and are unbecoming of any elected official; especially a Republican. He should step down and allow a person of integrity and strong morals to take over as coroner," Nicolosi said in a news release Friday.
Nicolosi initially called for Hintz's resignation in October 2020, when he was initially charged in connection to the alleged theft of government funds while leading the coroner's office.
Hintz faces 49 counts of theft, forgery and official misconduct, 12 of which were filed Wednesday in Winnebago County court. The latest charges allege Hintz stole money from the estates of at least five people who died.
According to court records, 13 WREX obtained, the most recent alleged theft happened in April 2021, 6 months after Hintz was initially charged with theft and forgery.
Hintz's wife, Michelle, faces forgery charges stemming from alleged trips using Winnebago County taxpayer money.
The coroner was re-elected in Nov. 2020, after running unopposed. Hintz has refused to step down since the allegations came to light, assuming full duty as county coroner. Nicolosi called the alleged theft from the families of the dead a "dark stain" on Hintz and the coroner's office.
Read Nicolosi's full statement:
"Today I am once again calling on Bill Hintz to resign his position as coroner. These new charges only underline the severity of his crimes, and are unbecoming of any elected official; especially a Republican. He should step down and allow a person of integrity and strong morals to take over as coroner.
Bill Hintz, like all citizens in our society, are "innocent until proven guilty". However, the new charges leveled against Mr. Hintz include stealing from the "dead" and pocketing fees that families have paid for the release of their loved ones. This has become a dark stain on Mr. Hintz and the office he holds. The public trust can only be regained by the immediate resignation of Mr. Hintz.
Public offices are the domain of our citizens and politicians should never think otherwise. The WCRCC will convene a meeting on Tuesday, September 14th to address this issue further and determine more actions.Eli Nicolosi, Chairman of the Winnebago County Republican Party
Hintz's attorney said he plans to plea not guilty to the 49 counts. Hintz will be in court on Sept. 22.