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County government asks Coroner Hintz to resign or take leave of absence

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Bill Hintz Web Pic

ROCKFORD (WREX) — The Winnebago County Board unanimously approved a resolution to call for Coroner Bill Hintz to either resign from his position or take administrative leave as Hintz faces 49 counts of theft, official misconduct and forgery.

During discussion Thursday night, board member Aaron Booker said Hintz should step down as coroner "out of respect for Winnebago County residents" as the court proceedings play out.

Last week, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul announced an additional 12 charges against Hintz, alleging he stole approximately $14,500 in cash that belonged to deceased individuals out of the coroner’s office’s evidence vault. Raoul said Hintz also required family members to pay cash in order to recover the cremated remains of their homeless loved ones but kept the money for himself.

Public Safety and Judiciary Committee Chairman Burt Gerl brought the resolution in front of the board, which also passed unanimously Wednesday night out of the committee he chairs.

"Clearly he is presumed innocent until proven guilty, we know that. But these new allegations rose to a level unbecoming of that office or any office," Gerl said Wednesday night.

The new charges come almost a year after Hintz was initially charged in October 2020, accused of stealing taxpayer money for trips and hotels with his wife, Michelle, who also faces charges.

According to court documents, obtained by 13 WREX, Hintz allegedly stole money from a deceased resident as recently as April 2021, 6 months after the initial October charges were announced.

The vote is largely symbolic, as the Winnebago County board doesn't have the authority to remove Hintz from office. He was elected in Nov. 2020, a month after he was initially charged, after he ran unopposed.

Breane Lyga

Breane Lyga is the content manager at 13 WREX. She joined the team in 2015 as the 5, 6 and 10PM news producer after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She was 13 WREX’s assignment editor from 2017 to 2018.

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