Trustee On a Hot Tin Roof: FBI Launches Criminal Probe Into Roof Bids
FBI subpoenas communications and documents stemming from bid process and selection of contractor to replace Oak Lawn public works building roof. Village officials pledge to fully cooperate with criminal investigation.
Several Oak Lawn village officials were served slapped with federal subpoenas on Thursday after the FBI launched a criminal investigation into possible conract bid tampering.
Oak Lawn Village Manager Larry Deetjen confirmed that members of the village board and executive staff, were served at the Chicago law office of the village’s legal counsel.
“We’re cooperating fully with the investigation and turning over all the requested documents,” the village manager said.
The FBI has requested all documents, including meeting minutes, proposals, bid specifications, bids, internal and external correspondence and email communications concerning the bid process and selection of a contractor to replace the roof of the Oak Lawn Public Works facility, said sources familiar with the subpoena.
The village has until Dec. 20 to turn over materials to the FBI.
Questions arose when the $166,085 contract was awarded to Adler Roofing Co. of Joliet, where Oak Lawn Trustee Bob Streit’s brother, Mike, is employed as an estimator.
The village board approved the contract 4-3 on Nov. 27, even though Adler was not the lowest bidder. The two companies that had submitted lower bids were knocked out of the running because they did not provide a start date requested in the bid specifications.
At least one disqualified low-bidder, DCG Roofing Solutions of Des Plaines, has since threatened to sue the village, maintaining there was no such scheduling requirement in the bid specs.
During Tuesday’s village board meeting, Deetjen said that public works directors did not follow proper procedures when assembling bids, nor did they seek out a legal review by the village attorney.
A village trustee also allegedly ordered public works staff to slip a specification sheet into the bid package that Deetjen said was not prepared by the village public works department.
Streit termed the bid controversy a “false issue designed to defame the mayor, me and the roofing company,” in his remarks to fellow board members during Tuesday’s meeting.
He said he didn’t need to recuse himself from voting because neither he or his brother had a financial stake or interest in Adler. Defiant to the end, Streit then “reluctantly” motioned that the village board rescind the contract to his brother’s company.
Oak Lawn trustees also voted to reject all of the other roofing bids.
Thursday’s subpoenas mark at least the second time the village has come under the scrutiny of the feds. In June 2011, the village was served with a federal grand jury subpoena requesting all documents stemming from the hiring of the Queery and Harrow law firm after the former village legal counsel was fired in 2009.
Mayor Dave Heilmann has maintained that the village has been under an ongoing federal criminal investigation ever since. Heilmann, who is up for reelection next April, said he was unaware that Streit’s brother worked at Adler and assumed that village staff had vetted the bids when he cast the tie-breaking vote on Nov. 27.
Oak Lawn’s longest-serving village trustee and president pro temp, Streit is the powerful chair of the village’s public works committee and holds the tie-breaking vote backing Heilmann on the village board.
Between 2009 and 2012, Alder is shown to have contributed $2,925 to Streit's campaign coffers. The most recent donation of $500 was made on Sept. 27, according to the trustee's campaign finanace disclosures. Streit has denied that there was any "collusion" to steer the bid to Adler.
Read more Patch coverage of the investigation into roofing bids: