Former Homer Glen District 33C Board member charged with stealing money from HOA

The former treasurer of a Homer Glen homeowners association, also a former Home Glen District 33C Board member, was charged last month for allegedly writing checks to herself, according to court records.

Jennifer Rudolph, 43, of the15400 block of Sharon Drive, was charged March 18 with continuing a financial crime enterprise, two counts of theft between $10,000 and $100,000 and one count of theft between $500 to $10,000, according to the Will County circuit court.

Rudolph was arrested on a warrant March 27 and taken to Will County jail, according to court records. During her court hearing the following day, she was released from custody under pretrial release, said Will County sheriff’s office spokeswoman Kathy Hoffmeyer

Will County public defender Zack Strupeck, Rudolph’s lawyer, declined to comment through a spokesperson. Rudolph did not respond to requests for comment.

A member of the Country Woods Homeowners Association filed a complaint with the sheriff’s office in March 2023 alleging the mishandling of funds in the HOA bank account, Hoffmeyer said.

In May, another member of the association filed a second complaint with the sheriff’s office with similar allegations naming Rudolph, the treasurer, as a suspect, Hoffmeyer said.

Former Country Woods Homeowners Association President Ernst Gaichas said he went to the HOA’s bank and was told there was an overdraft on the account and it was closed. Gaichas said he was one of the people who filed a report to the Will County sheriff’s office.

Gaichas said Rudolph was a former Homer Glen Elementary District 33C Board member.

The two members alleged Rudolph wrote out checks from the association’s account to herself and improper and illegal financial mismanagement of the bank account for her personal financial gain, Hoffmeyer said.

Sheriff’s detectives reviewed several bank subpoenas and completed interviews, saying the investigation found in September and November 2021 Rudolph allegedly took $20,000, Hoffmeyer said.

Rudolph resigned from the Homer District 33C Board in August, according to the district. Superintendent Craig Schoppe did not respond to requests for comment.

School board meeting minutes show Rudolph did not attend many meetings after being elected.

Rudolph ran for the Homer District 33C Board in 2021. In her candidate interview with the Daily Southtown, Rudolph said her family moved to Homer Glen about 2 1/2 years ago because of the strong school system, its test scores, the sports and activities it offered and the special events the district held.

She said there were several priorities the board needs to examine, including class sizes and how to address overcrowding whether it’s repurposing existing space or looking at buying new property. The board needed to examine its budget to make sure finances are being spent wisely, and the district should explore adding more electives to its curriculum.

Rudolph said the district did an OK job adapting to the coronavirus pandemic, but said officials could have been more creative. Teaching core curriculum should have had more priority during the times when children were attending school in person, she said.

More efforts needed to be made to help children with their mental well-being since they’ve been away from a normal schedule for so long, Rudolph said.

akukulka@chicagotribune.com