SYCAMORE – The president and executive director of Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County has been charged with stealing more than $10,000 from the nonprofit, Sycamore police said Friday.
Anthony D. Cvek, 37, of the 200 block of West Sycamore Street, posted $1,000 bail Thursday night to be released on charges of theft of $10,000 to $100,000, unlawful possession of a firearm without a firearm owner’s identification card, and possession of a revoked FOID card, according to the release. If convicted of the theft charge, he could face three to seven years in prison.
Prosecutors allege in court records that the theft from the organization occurred between January 2018 and Jan. 22 of this year.
Cvek could not be reached for comment on his cellphone or at the local Habitat chapter office at 1625 DeKalb Ave., Sycamore, which appeared to be empty midday Friday. Cvek is one of four members of the board of directors, according to the chapter's website.
A statement from the board of directors sent Friday night said members will meet soon to vote to terminate Cvek's employment and remove him from the board, and that Vice Chairman Kevin Bunge will lead the nonprofit on an interim basis.
Sycamore police were contacted Jan. 22 by members of the Habitat board of directors, who told investigators that a fellow board member had defrauded the organization, the release says.
Officers obtained a search warrant for Cvek’s home, where they found documents, transaction records and equipment bought while Cvek had control of the nonprofit’s funds, according to the news release. Police also found a 9mm Smith & Wesson handgun and a revoked FOID card, according to Sycamore Police Cmdr. Mike Anderson. Cvek's FOID card was revoked when an order of protection against him was granted in 2018 in Kane County.
Anderson said the theft was uncovered through bank records, but would not provide further details. He did say, however, that it's not yet clear how much was stolen.
“The exact dollar amount hasn’t been determined yet,” he said.
The statement from Habitat says the board will not comment on the criminal charges, but that the nonprofit has initiated a full review of of its finances.
"We take stewardship of funds seriously and are committed to transparency and strengthening our operations and oversight," the statement reads. "HFH officials will be reaching out to each Partner Family over the next week to answer any questions they may have."
Cvek is also a first-term member of the DeKalb County Board of Review, which reviews assessments done by township assessors, as well as a former County Board member. He was appointed to the review board in 2017, and is up for reappointment this year, according to DeKalb County Assessor Robin Brunschon. She said Cvek attended the board's most recent meeting Jan. 29, and according to online minutes, he was also at the Jan. 10, 16 and 17 meetings. The minutes show the last meeting he missed was Jan. 9, for a family emergency.
DeKalb County Board Chairman Mark Pietrowski said while he's working with the State's Attorney's Office to figure out what's next, he's disappointed.
“This is not anything anybody wants to see happen,” said Pietrowski, who was a County Board member when Cvek served from 2012-14. “As someone who has served with this individual, there is some disappointment I’m going through.”
Pietrowski confirmed Cvek served as both president and executive director for the local Habitat chapter.
“One of those potential negatives [of such an arrangement] is they can have access to the finances almost exclusively, if you don’t have it set up to have checks and balances,” Pietrowski said.
Cvek was arrested Thursday without incident and posted $1,000 bail to be released on a $10,000 warrant signed Thursday by DeKalb County Judge William Brady, according to Anderson.
The local Habitat for Humanity chapter built its first home about 20 years ago, in 1998. The organization participated in rebuilding efforts in Fairdale in 2016, but had not been active in home-building efforts recently.
Records show Cvek is due in DeKalb County court at 9 a.m. Feb. 20.