Andrew T. Freund

A Crystal Lake man charged with killing his 5-year-old son and burying him in a shallow grave in Woodstock is an attorney connected to a Riverside property management company.

Andrew T. Freund Sr., 60, and Joann Cunningham, 36, are both charged with five counts of first-degree murder in the death of their son Andrew “A.J.” Freund, whose body was recovered April 24 in a shallow grave in a remote area of Woodstock, according to Crystal Lake police.

Freund reported his son missing on April 18.

In the days after A.J. Freund was reported missing, disturbing details emerged about his father and Cunningham.

A day before police discovered A.J.’s body, the Chicago Tribune reported that the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services had been in contact with the family since the boy was born, with opiates in his system, in 2013. The Tribune also obtained five years’ worth of local police reports, describing deplorable living conditions and signs of drug use at the family’s Crystal Lake residence.

Although he lives in Crystal Lake, Andrew Freund Sr. is an attorney whose professional address is listed at 24 East Ave. in Riverside, a storefront in the Tower Apartments owned by a real estate trust.

The Illinois Attorney Registration and Discipline Commission’s website connects that address with a company called Contractors Inc., whose president is Donna DiBrito, according to the Illinois Secretary of State.

DiBrito is associated with other corporations using various addresses at the Tower Apartments, including Property Rental Inc. DiBrito is listed as that corporation’s president as well, and its address is listed as 24 East Ave. by the Illinois Secretary of State.

DiBrito declined to comment when contacted by the Landmark on April 25.

Cook County Circuit Court records show Freund is the attorney representing the real estate trust that owns the Tower Apartments in a premises liability lawsuit filed last year by the estate of 70-year-old Randall Schirmer, a tenant of the Tower Apartments who fell off a ladder to his death while painting a stairwell at the complex on Sept. 4, 2018.

DiBrito, according to Riverside police, discovered Schirmer’s body on the ground near the rear stairwell he’d been painting. The lawsuit claims Schirmer was hired to do that work by Ronald Kafka, who is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit. Property Rental Inc. is also a defendant in that suit.

The case is still pending in Cook County Circuit Court.

Ronald Kafka has long been associated with the Tower Apartments and other properties in Riverside and other communities. Kafka consistently has denied owning the Tower Apartments, saying he is an agent or consultant for the owners.

The lawsuit states Kafka “owned, operated, managed, maintained and controlled” the Tower Apartments at the time of Schirmer’s death and that he “carelessly and negligently” failed to maintain or repair the stairwell and railing where Schirmer was working when he fell to his death.

Freund’s law license is active, but the Illinois Attorney Registration and Discipline Commission also reports that he’s been on probation since January 2016. His law license had been suspended in 2015 for indirect criminal contempt of court related to a 2012 divorce case involving Cunningham.

According to court records, Cunningham – known at the time as JoAnn Summerkamp – was being represented in her divorce suit by Freund. The court had ordered that Summerkamp refrain from taking personal property from the home she shared with her then-husband.

However, Summerkamp, with the assistance of Freund, removed silverware, two flat-screen TVs and a Blu-ray player from the home. Court records also note that Freund pawned one of the TVs. A judge sentenced Freund to 14 days in jail for the contempt conviction.

Court records, citing the testimony of a doctor, stated Freund had been diagnosed with opioid and cocaine use disorders and that the drug use was related to his actions, which included a 2014 shoplifting conviction in McHenry County.

The court ordered Freund’s law license suspended for two years, but the discipline was suspended after 90 days on the condition that Freund continue with an addiction treatment program, participate in a 12-step program and undergo neuropsychological testing and evaluation.

Both Freund and Cunningham remain in custody at McHenry County Jail.