Agreement reached between Davlin estate, Catholic Charities (IL)

A settlement has been reached to recover money found missing from the estate of the late Margaret Ettelbrick after the suicide of her executor, Mayor Tim Davlin.

Under the agreement, $250,000 will be paid to Ettelbrick’s estate from the deceased mayor’s estate — about $90,000 less than was determined to be missing.

Most of the money, in turn, will be paid to Catholic Charities, as specified in Ettelbrick’s will.

“That was the number that Catholic Charities was comfortable with,” said Kevin McDermott, Sangamon County public administrator, when asked why he settled for less than the missing amount. “It amounts to about 75 percent of the original claim.”

The money, which must be paid within 15 days, will come largely from the sale of Midwest Service Corp. stock owned by Davlin, much of which apparently was purchased using money from the Ettelbrick estate. Midwest Service Corp. is the parent company of the Mid-West Truckers Association. Robert Davlin, the mayor’s father, was one of the founders of the trucking association.

After attorney fees are paid, whatever is left will be paid to Catholic Charities, which, under Ettelbrick’s will, was owed the remainder of her estate after all of her other beneficiaries were paid.

Diocese pleased

Ettelbrick, who was Davlin’s cousin, died in 2003. She left an estate totaling about $950,000

In a statement, Bishop Thomas Paprocki said the Catholic Diocese of Springfield is pleased a settlement was reached.

“Margaret Ettlebrick’s wish to bequeath a substantial gift to the poor has been fulfilled and Catholic Charities has been made whole in this situation,” Paprocki said. “This gift will have a significant impact on the lives of many people in need in the Springfield community who are served faithfully by Catholic Charities on a daily basis.”

Circuit Judge Pete Cavanagh signed off on the settlement Wednesday. A hearing was scheduled for Nov. 16 to check the status of the $250,000 payment.

Davlin was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot on Dec. 14, the day he was due in court to provide a final accounting of the Ettelbrick’s estate.

Closes out estate

It was later learned that more than $340,000 was missing from the estate. In June, McDermott filed claims for that amount against Davlin’s estate.

According to the claims, Davlin sold Ettelbrick’s house for $46,449 less than it was worth, spent $85,512 on personal expenses and used $203,750 to buy stock in Midwest Service Corp.

Todd Renfrow, who headed City Water, Light and Power under Davlin, and Jenifer Johnson, another Davlin cousin who was corporation counsel in his administration, agreed to be sureties when the probate case was opened in 2004. They could have been held liable for any shortfall.

McDermott said he decided not to seek the money from Renfrow and Johnson because that “would entail dragging this out.”

“This way we’re going to get cash up front and we’ll be able to close out the estate,” he said.

The Catholic Diocese previously received more than $222,000 that was left in Davlin’s campaign fund.


Agreement reached between Davlin estate, Catholic Charities
Deana Stroisch
November 2, 2011
The State Journal-Register