Annie Cosby Jul. 11, 2014, 10:00am

A Cook County school district is seeking review of a state agency's decision to give unemployment benefits to a secretary who was fired for stealing food from the cafeteria.

Dolton West School District 148 filed a complaint for administrative review June 30 in the Cook County Circuit Court against the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES), William H. McClusky, Marilyn S. Orso, Rosetta A. Shinn, Raymond T. Nice, C. Richard Vernier and Sandra L. Coulter.

According to the complaint, the district employed Coulter as a secretary at Lincoln school from September 20o3 until Nov. 2013, when it fired her after video surveillance showed her taking large quantities of food for student meals out of the building for her own use.

Coulter then filed for unemployment benefits, which an adjudicator granted after "giving credence to Coulter's position that she didn't know she was in violation of the district's rules and that the food she took was expired or soon to expire," the suit states.

The district asserts it appealed, and that an administrative law judge determined Coulter was ineligible for unemployment benefits since she was fired for misconduct.

Coulter, according to the complaint, then appealed to the IDES' board of review, which in May set aside the administrative law judge's ruling after finding Coulter's actions were not willful and deliberate violations of district rules.

Dolton West School District claims the board's decision was erroneous and is asking that the circuit court review the matter.

It is being represented by attorney Margaret Kostopulos of Ancel, Glink, Diamond, Bush, DiCianni & Krafthefer P.C. in Chicago.

Cook County Circuit Court Case No. 2014L050506.

This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed in the Cook County Circuit Court. The details in this report come from an original complaint filed by a plaintiff. Please note, a complaint represents an accusation by a private individual, not the government. It is not an indication of guilt, and it only represents one side of the story.

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