An attorney for a former teacher charged with attempted murder requested Joliet District 86 officials allow him to return to work after his $1,000 settlement offer was rejected, according to district records.
When the District 86 board approved acknowledging the resignation of Andres Rodriguez, 40, of Tinley Park, after learning he had been working for another school district while on paid leave, Rodriguez’s attorney, Eugene Keefe, said he would be willing to reach a settlement by paying $1,000.
District officials determined Rodriguez owed them about $43,000 in salary payments and other money paid for benefits when they discovered Rodriguez had been working as a teacher for Cicero School District 99 while he was suspended pending an investigation stemming from an attempted murder charge filed against him.
About 9 a.m. May 21, Eric Grodsky, one of the district’s attorneys, told Keefe that the board’s representatives rejected his settlement offer, according to district records. About an hour later, Keefe emailed Grodsky to say the settlement offer was withdrawn and Rodriguez “vehemently denies and controverts” the criminal charges against him.
Keefe argued that, as a tenured teacher, Rodriguez is “entitled to full pay” during his administrative leave and that money was due until August.
“He did not resign and if you assert he did so, the claim of resignation is withdrawn by my client. He will immediately return to regular work for the board today, tomorrow or at any future time,” Keefe said.
District spokeswoman Sandy Zalewski said Rodriguez has not returned to the district since being placed on paid leave on Aug. 17, 2017. Rodriguez’s suspension followed an incident where he allegedly shot a man on July 18, 2017, in Tinley Park.
Keefe declined to comment.
“Not going to answer any questions. Have a great day,” Keefe said before hanging up.
Zalewski said district officials first learned Rodriguez had been working for another district when District 99 officials contacted them to try to enter him into a registration system, which they couldn’t do because he had already been registered for District 86, she said.