RADICE: Former Mayor Dave Heilmann Unable To Move On

Former planning and development commission Steve Radice responds to charges in former mayor's letter to Patch on Jan. 13.

Former Oak Lawn planning and development commissioner Steve Radice. Radice is now employed in a part-time capacity for the village.
Former Oak Lawn planning and development commissioner Steve Radice. Radice is now employed in a part-time capacity for the village.


Editor's note: The opinions expressed in this editorial are the author's and do not reflect the views of Patch.

This letter is in response to Dave Heilmann’s letter to the Patch on Jan 13, a letter filled with so many lies, false accusations and misstatements that I felt a detailed response is necessary.

It’s clear to me our former mayor is still having trouble dealing with his defeat in last April’s election, and after I read his letter I first decided to ignore it and concentrate on more important things like my family and my job. But after my 15-year old son read it and asked “How can someone be allowed to write lies like this?” I realized I needed to respond.

To begin, I have lived in Oak Lawn’s 3rd District for more than 20 years.  I raised my family here and have been active in our community for the majority of that time, because I love Oak Lawn and I want our Village to thrive.

In 2007 my trustee, Bob Streit, asked me to serve on the village’s Planning & Development Commission (“P&D”) which I happily agreed to do.  I served for six years, the last two as chairman. 

In October 2012 the Village posted a help-wanted notice for part-time property maintenance inspector position. This was something I thought I could do and be good at given my experience on the P&DC.  I submitted my resume, interviewed, and was offered the part-time position, which pays $18 hour, provides no insurance benefits, and doesn't qualify for a pension.

Prior to taking the job I asked if there might be a conflict of interest if I remained on the P&D Commission, and the attorneys thought it might, so on October 15, 2012, before my term was up, I submitted my resignation letter from the P&D Commission to the village manager and board  - including then Mayor Dave Heilmann {see the pdf of the resignation letter}.

Afterwards Trustee Streit called me to say he was unhappy with my decision but understood and respected it. He thanked me for my six years of service and said he was proud of the work I did, and so did several other board members, the village manager, and my fellow commission members.  In fact, the village manager asked me to help train the new commissioner replacing me, which I was happy to do.

Compare those facts to the slanderous lie Dave Heilmann wrote about me in his letter, that I was “not re-appointed to the P&D Committee because Heilmann received complaints about my independence.”  He provides no proof or documentation, because none exists, and neither he nor any other Village official EVER told me about ANY complaints, not while I was on the P&D Commission, and not any time after.

In fact, the only real disagreement I ever had with Dave Heilmann was over Advocate Christ Medical Center's $500 million expansion. Heilmann thought the hospital should get a free pass on construction fees, permit fees, and other payments that could have amounted to almost $7 million for Oak Lawn residents.  These are fees that every other business and resident in Oak Lawn pays, and that Advocate Christ routinely pays and expects to pay in ALL the other towns where they have hospitals. 

For some reason Heilmann thought Oak Lawn should be different, that we shouldn't “penalize” the hospital, regardless of how their half-billion-dollar project might affect our Village. Maybe it had something to do with Mr. Heilmann’s law firm (from their web-site) representing some of Chicago-areas biggest hospitals and hospital groups?  Or maybe because Christ Hospital honored Heilmann as their “2012 Man of the Year,” complete with a black-tie event at a museum in downtown Chicago?

Whatever his reasons, I disagreed with Heilmann, and so did the majority of our other P&D Commissioners.  And Heilmann made it very clear to me that he was very unhappy with my position, so apparently if you disagree with Dave Heilmann, you are not “acting independently.”

 Which is backwards and hypocritical.  Especially when the majority of the village trustees, the village manager, the village clerk, and the village attorney also disagreed with Heilmann, and so did the vast majority of Oak Lawn residents as we saw in last April’s election, where the issue of Christ Hospital paying their “fair share” was the number one issue.  

Dave Heilmann and his entire slate of candidates lost decidedly, and within weeks Christ Hospital also said they disagreed with Heilmann, when they agreed to pay the Village more than $3 million for their expansion.

That was the biggest and most obvious lie in Heilmann’s letter, but it wasn't the only one, and bullet-pointing the rest is probably necessary given space constraints:

  • Heilmann wrote that the work I do for the village is a felony, citing - and then twisting and perverting - an Illinois Law that very clearly pertains to people who “intend to defraud the government”. So by doing my part-time, $18/hour, no pension or benefits, inspector work, I am defrauding the village? Or the marketing and economic development work I do, again part-time, no benefits, no insurance and no pension, and where I also pay all my own expenses?
  • Heilmann wrote that the village manager eliminated the “Business Development Department.”  The village didn't have a “Business Development Department” and never had for the eight years Heilmann served as mayor. The village manager eliminated the “Business Operations Department”, a one-position “department” that Heilmann created out of thin air when he was first elected in 2005, and then filled with a friend and supporter who was paid $120,000 in salary and benefits.
  • Heilmann wrote about a board meeting I attended last May where - as a resident - I spoke about the owner of an Oak Lawn business that was threatening the village and the village manager. I felt it was important that residents know that this business owner was convicted of failing to pay more than $250,000 in sales taxes from his business  .  Heilmann failed to mention this fact in his letter, apparently because he’s more concerned about the feelings of a convicted felon than the first amendment rights of Oak Lawn citizens, or the tax revenues of Oak Lawn residents.

I can't deny that after reading Dave Heilmann’s letter I became very angry and frustrated, but as I began writing my response, that anger and frustration turned to sadness.

Sadness for a person who I thought held so much promise for Oak Lawn. We are fellow parishioners at St. Linus parish. I supported Dave when he first ran for Mayor in 2005, and worked on his re-election campaign in 2009.  I attended his father’s wake, and sent his wife a get-well card during her illness.  And I did all of this not because of politics, but because I considered Dave a friend, which makes his attack on me that much more hurtful.  

It’s one thing to disagree with someone, or even to dislike someone, but it’s something altogether different when you purposely lie about someone and malign their reputation and character to get revenge on your political enemies. And it’s not acceptable. Period. 

Heilmann finished his letter by saying “Sometimes silence screams the truth,” and since he appears to believe that, consider my response the answer to that silence.

But also consider something else.  There is definitely one thing that “screams the truth," and not just sometimes but always. It’s called the truth.  

Robert President January 20, 2014 at 06:04 PM
I'm not an attorney and don't pretend to know municipal employment laws, but after looking at Heilmann's bio on his company web-site it looks like one of his areas of expertise is "employment contracts" if he felt the village made some sort of mistake in Radice's hiring, would a BIGGER MAN have contacted someone at the village or Radice himself and shared his professional opinion, instead of writing a letter to a newspaper that looks to have a lot of holes and lies and slanderous accusations because of political vendettas... He really has to get over the fact that he is no longer our Mayor (you lost and it's OVER Davey) he obviously still can't admit he's no longer Our village Mayor / President because after 9 months out of office his attorney bio on his company web-site still says "He is currently the Village President of a municipality of 57,000 residents in a south suburb of Chicago" that real ethical Davey Boy, falsifying your professional bio in order too lie to potential clients of Clausen Miller... I wonder if Clausen Miller is even aware of this blatant LIE?
Bob January 20, 2014 at 06:07 PM
The point here is it don't matter who you support in Oaklawn politics but giving an employee a no bid contract does not seem right.
Robert President January 20, 2014 at 06:17 PM
J Epley (I mean Bob, Dennis and Shannon) I called Radice and asked about his basketball game, after researching it I found out it is in retail stores not only around the country but in Europe, Asia and Australia as well... If I were an editor for some two bit political blog, I would do my research before I went on record criticizing someone who invented a game being sold around the world - looks like the JOKE is on YOU Bob, Dennis and Shannon or should I say " Heilmann's and Weiler's mouth pieces"
p franeke January 20, 2014 at 06:21 PM
Chaz, I would rather get a root canal than waste even a minute of my life googling some loser like you.
OakLawnGuy January 20, 2014 at 06:25 PM
Prez Bob, J Epley is real. Not Bob, Dennis, Dave, Moe, Shemp......none of them. I mentioned in another comment, Chaz runs a site that many consider rude and low, but one thing he has not been so far: wrong.
andy skoundrianos January 20, 2014 at 06:33 PM
J that's 4 times you mention the address wanna go for five??
Robert President January 20, 2014 at 07:03 PM
In case you missed it, j Epley (I mean Streit, Brennan and Fox) is a complete Moron after researching Radice's game I found out it is in retail stores not only around the country but in Europe, Asia and Australia as well... If I were an editor for some two bit political blog, I would do my research before I went on record criticizing someone who invented a game being sold around the world - looks like the JOKE is on YOU J Epley or should I say " Heilmann's and Weiler's mouth piece"
Barney January 20, 2014 at 07:41 PM
Mr Radice will sue Dave if this is not true. If this is true Mr Radice has to be fired, along with the person that accommodated my tax dollars in a illegal direction. A outside investigation is the answer. Will it cost yes. I'm sick of unanswered question out of our village hall.
john artis January 20, 2014 at 08:01 PM
Hey Barney didn't hear you complain when Dave personally Hired Chad Weiler with no resumes or board approval why not?? That hack was paid over $100,000 of your tax dollars to be a glorified water boy for his best buddy Dave. What were his qualifications a failed bar owner?? The Hypocrisy is getting thicker on these posts
Barney January 20, 2014 at 08:17 PM
Your right ,I didn't complain so you didn't hear it. If somebody would have said the guy was given a no bid contract for a company he owned, with no relativity to the work done. You'd have heard me. I'm fed up with the crap going on in Oak Lawn. I'm not On Dave or the Mayors team, but I sign my name to my complaints. Ill complain when I don't like what I hear , Im sick of the village of Oak Lawn political BS. An outside opinion ;in this case, is in the best interest of our village.
My-Acts Of-Sedition January 20, 2014 at 08:36 PM
@p franeke ... Glad to see you are comfortable remaining ignorantly blissful. One would think, at the very least, you'd want to know about the dude who's been keeping Larry from finding other employment. Enjoy the root canal.
Robert President January 20, 2014 at 08:54 PM
Barney, you seem to be one of the only people on this blog using your own name (including me) and I give you a lot of credit. Your concerns are reasonable and legitimate and the fact that you don't seem to be anyone's puppet or mouthpiece makes me believe you are a stand up guy... Why don't you call Radice at village hall tomorrow and tell him about your concerns, my guess is he might be able to enlighten you, if not then your concerns would be legitimate.
Barney January 20, 2014 at 09:04 PM
Robert President. Thank you for the nice words. I will not make that call I would not be the authority to react to his answers. Right, wrong, or indifferent. To many unanswered questions the last couple years in our village. Outside authority is needed. My opinion.
Robert President January 20, 2014 at 09:34 PM
Barney, I respect your opinion... I'm confident we will all find out whether anything was done illegally or unlawful like Heilmann alleges, or if his allegations are false and simply political revenge... Time will tell.
andy skoundrianos January 20, 2014 at 10:15 PM
Barney is a real person I have met him at board meetings we don't agree on much but at least he does use his name unlike most posters on this site I do respect that.
Barney January 20, 2014 at 10:22 PM
Andy I feel validated that you say I'm real. This is one we can agree on. Is this guy collecting a ill directed check or not? Get the truth outside our village hall.
Phil Crivellone January 20, 2014 at 10:48 PM
This village needs a complete do-over. I read this stuff and wonder how things actually get done around here.
lou January 21, 2014 at 09:54 AM
steve thanks for your letter.its about time someone sheds some light on our old mayor dave. i wish he would get over losing and leave our elected board to do what they do best, working for oak lawn tax payers! enough already were tired of this crap!
andy skoundrianos January 21, 2014 at 12:30 PM
Eom you and your fellow Dave fans are Hypocrites Mr. Weiler was a political hire by the Ex-Mayor with no resume, no experience, and was paid over $100,000 dollars a year excluding benefits. What businesses did he promote or bring to Oak Lawn?? He was politically active during his whole tenure at the village. You don't like Mr. Radice because your guy lost and Mr. Weilers position was eliminated. Keep telling people to write the states attorney nothing will happen Let it go and get on with your sorry lives. What do you fetch for Dave??
OakLawnGuy January 21, 2014 at 12:42 PM
Why doesn't everyone just wait till the County addresses this issue and see what's what? Village politics rile us all, but pot shots get you nowhere.
CAJ January 21, 2014 at 03:24 PM
J - Do you receive a commission for every e-mail or letter that goes to those addresses you post? Because the way you promote them, it sure seems like it.
Time.To.Clean.Up.Oak.Lawn. January 21, 2014 at 04:52 PM
It's called "getting the word out" CAJ. Our current leaders have shown they lack any moral compass and thus the need for a third party to police.
jim fletcher January 21, 2014 at 04:59 PM
J Epley and Eom are the same person just look at the crazy rant styles, the paranoid delusions, meglomania,vile personal attacks,blind loyalty to the previous mayor,hatred and obsession with Mayor Bury, Larry Deetjen and Tom Phelan Needs a few mental health days!!
CAJ January 21, 2014 at 06:04 PM
Time.Clean - It's called redundant repetition.
Jasken Park January 23, 2014 at 10:23 AM
Well said, Steve!
Robert President January 24, 2014 at 02:17 PM
Dennis Brennan, you are such a complete MORON, why don't you get a job {don't call yourself an attorney} you are a Joke editor for the Oak Lawn Thief so-called newspaper... A JOKE
jim fletcher January 24, 2014 at 04:51 PM
Eom, you still didn't take a mental health day yet huh?? You make J Epley sound sane Oh wait same person My bad
Chaz Stevens January 29, 2014 at 06:37 PM
Mr. Kiefer; Cook County DA. Regarding my existing complaint filed against the City of Oak Lawn and Bring It Inc. (aka Steve Radice), I would like to append the following information to that file. 1. The City of Oak Lawn has turned back the clocks to September 15, 2013 via the backdating of a $75,000 contract to Radice’s company. 2. This contact pays Radice for economic development services and property maintenance inspections. 3. I note Radice has zero previous professional experience with either. 4. I also note, around the Sept. 2013 timeframe, Radice was employed by the City of Oak Lawn. Question: Is medical marijuana legal in Illinois, as it’s readily apparent certain folks up there are hitting the bong. Regards from Florida. Chaz — Chaz Stevens, Hella Famous Inventor, Pabst Blue Ribbon Festivus Pole (as seen on Colbert and The Daily Show)
Time.To.Clean.Up.Oak.Lawn. January 30, 2014 at 06:45 AM
I hear that Deejten's mystery woman in the December accident has also retained her village job. Seem's all of Lar's friends have him to thank.
MD February 08, 2014 at 02:44 PM
It does help being friends with phelan


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something