'Chumps Like Us' -- Streit Says OL Taxpayers Overpaid for Springsteen Cover Band

Streit alleges village picked up tab for hotel rooms, limos, equipment rentals and VIP tent tickets for band that performed at Fall On the Green under contract negotiated by Trustee Tom Phelan.


Oak Lawn Trustee Bob Streit (Dist. 3) said village taxpayers might have overpaid for a Bruce Springsteen tribute band to play at the 2012 Fall the Green Festival during Tuesday’s village board meeting.

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In his near, hour-long village trustee’s report, in which Robert’s Rules flew out the window, Streit told fellow village board members that a contract was negotiated for $10,000 with Tramps Like Us—a Springsteen tribute band out of New York—to play a main stage, Sunday show at Fall On the Green.

The fee earned by Tramps Like Us is more than double of what bands are typically paid to play Fall On the Green, between $400 and $3,500.

The contract also included five free rooms for three nights at the two limos for the band to use while it played Friday and Saturday gigs at 115 Bourbon Street and Hardrock Café in downtown Chicago, and wristbands for the VIP tent.

The village was also to have paid $2,000 out of a $5,000 Budwesier sponsorship for a radio ad package for the band, according to an email Trustee Tom Phelan, then the special events committee chair, sent to Village Manager Larry Deetjen and Chad Weiler, the village's business development director, dated May 25.

“As if this isn’t troubling enough I have now learned that we received a bill for equipment that was used by the band on all three nights at other venues, too,” Streit said. “I do want to point that these contracts were negotiated prior to my appointment as the new chairperson of special events.”

Streit informed the village board that the vendor was told that Oak Lawn would pay the entire equipment rental bill.

“I don’t even know if it’s legal,” Mayor Dave Heilmann said. “I asked our staff not to pay this because I thought it was not a legal expense. I don’t believe the Village of Oak Lawn can pay for equipment for a band playing outside of the village.”

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The mayor further shared that Tramps Like Us was paid $3,000 for each of its Friday and Saturday gigs.

“You have ask why are we, the village, paying $10,000 for a Sunday night which everyone knows is a lost night,” Heilmann said.

Heilmann said he checked venues in New York where the band had played locally, for which they were paid $3,000 and $3,500. He also received a letter from the band on Tuesday afternoon, telling the mayor to “cease and desist” because Heilmann was “threatening the band’s livelihood.”

“I don’t mean to slight the band. “They’re great and they do a wonderful job,” Heilmann added. “This has nothing to do with them but what our responsibility is to Oak Lawn.”

Phelan said the hotel rooms—valued at $3,000 for three nights--were donated by the Hilton Oak Lawn, which was given a gold sponsorship of Fall On the Green in exchange. Mancari Chrysler donated both limos for use by the band.

“I thought it would be a nice tie-in for [the real] Springsteen’s concerts at Wrigley Field,” Phelan explained.

The radio-advertising package also never happened, Phelan said. The mayor misrepresented the band’s average fee, which is $8,500. At another Illinois fair, the band was paid $18,000.

Phelan maintained he was able to get Tramps Like Us to reduce its fee to $10,000, with hotel rooms, limos and equipment rentals to make it more affordable for them to perform in Oak Lawn.

He encouraged the band to try and get some other gigs in the Chicago area to compensate for the reduced fee as part of a “pricing strategy” to upgrade the quality of performers at Fall On the Green, and to better utilize the main stage.

Phelan also reminded the village board beer sales on the Sunday night that Tramps Like Us performed were $15,000, more than the year before.

In an email the day after the meeting, Streit said that Sunday beer sales at Fall On the Green were $3,500. In total, FOTG beer sales were $12,755 above last year's.

"Changes made this year in controls and accountability, resulted in the higher sales," Streit wrote.

“It’s important to village residents Phelan said sarcastically. “That’s not important, what is important is what bands played on Sunday night [at Fall On the Green]. It didn’t cost taxpayer dollars anything.”

All discussions were communicated to Village Manager Larry Deetjen, who had the authority sign the documents, Phelan said.

“The year before we spent $10,000 on rides that we never spent before," he added. "That didn’t come to the board because it wasn’t a big deal for the community.”

Asked how much the equipment rental fee was, Streit said it was included in the email, but no figure for renting "backlining" equipment--organs and drums-- was indicated.

This story has been updated.

Do you think the village paid too much for Tramps Like Us? Tell us in the comments.



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Quiet Neighbor October 10, 2012 at 07:43 PM
SMBW- 1. He is for public safety and has acted on it do your research 2. He did not tamper with a witness, research what that actually means to do that. 3. Your impact fee rumor is just that. Thank you for your well thought out reply only proving my point. I'm sorry that you are in so deep that the thought of any positive thoughts about the Mayor causes illness for you. Even though I've shown you that I am not for Dr. Bury being Mayor and despise her mailings there isn't going to be anything that would make me make up things about her or her character. I don't need to. There is fact and then there is propaganda. It makes for good articles but that's about it. Last time I called the police they came, were helpful, as well as the Fire Dept. My streets were plowed, and even repaired in the last few years, my water comes out of the faucet when I turn it, public works comes out, garbage gets picked up. Every trustee I've ever contacted has replied to me, and the Mayor would as well. I also believe (I might be wrong) that local taxes haven't been raised recently and there are events, and parades, great recycling projects, and even some development activity. I do believe that our elected officials attempt to do the right thing and what is in the best interests of Oak Lawn. The delusion that replacing Mayor Heilmann with Dr. Bury will fix anything for you, besides curing your hatred, means you'll be disappointed no matter who wins in April. OakLawnGuy is 100% correct
andy skoundrianos October 10, 2012 at 07:49 PM
Fall on the green is not a political event. This is for the people of Oak Lawn and Park Lawn. This bickering over what band played and what was paid is a drop in the bucket. For four years when everyone was happy with each other, no questions were ever asked. Now The Mayor is in control and suddenly the taxpayers have lost tons of money because of the former special events chairman who is not an ally of the mayor. The fest was a success I could care less who takes credit for it. It's not about the trustee who is chairman of the special events committee then or now..Compared to the money lost in legal bills and a poor job done by the law firm Mayor Heilmann hired, I would be more concerned about that. That being said,Let the audit come out and we will see what develops I'm sure Trustee Phelan will not try to block this report like the Mayor did with the Godfrey and Khan report!!!
OakLawnGuy October 10, 2012 at 10:34 PM
Andy, my question to you, as a close Streit supporter, would be: why is Mr Streit then hammering on this so much, and asking us to pay our money for an audit? Really, does it have to do with Mr Heilmann? Do you seriously think Mr Streit is doing Mr Heilmann's bidding? To me the answer is obvious, but I'd be curious what you come back with.
Merrit October 10, 2012 at 11:02 PM
We have talented Oak Lawn musicians that should have had a chance to play at Fall on the Green, this should be about Oak Lawn, not some out of state band that no one has ever heard of
Mary P. O' October 10, 2012 at 11:53 PM
Whoa! $10,000 for 1 not even full night? This is bizzare to say the least. The band comes to oak lawn at Phelan's request. He negotiated five free rooms for three nights at the Hilton Oak Lawn, two limos for the band to use while they played Friday and Saturday, at 115 Bourbon Street and Hardrock Café downtown? How in the world can Mr. Phelan justify paying for the bands lodging and equipment for 3 days while they're playing at other events, while in town?? Are you kidding me? This is not Barrington or Inverness where residents could possibly afford such extravagances. I just hope Godfrey and Kahn doesn't step in when the village is sued for not paying for the bands radio ad.
Mary P. O' October 11, 2012 at 12:46 AM
What does the mayor have to do with the hiring of a 10,000.00 band? Why all of the bashing?
District 666 Resident October 11, 2012 at 03:28 AM
Except the story actually corrects the big lie by big phelan. the band cost more than the money brought in for beer sales that day. HA HA
District 666 Resident October 11, 2012 at 03:35 AM
Andy I thought you paid attention for twenty years! Phelan already tried to block the audit with crazy votes at the board against the audit and putting his treasurer buddy up to write a report clearing everyone and saying the audit wasn't needed. That sounds like blocking the report but maybe your right! LMAO at hypocrisy in action. Get Falo's hand out of your back big puppet man
Rich October 11, 2012 at 03:45 AM
I remember a few years back when we had to tell a couple firefighters we had to lay them off because the village could not afford them. I actually remember feeling that the mayor had to make a tough decision and did so with the best interest of the village in mind. Knowing now what was happenning behind the scenes and the amount of money being spent and mis-spent, I honestly believe he deserves a belated best actor award. I will vote for whoever the police and fire departments back next April. They continue to do their job well in spite of the lack of leadership of the mayor and the disfunctional board of trustees.
andy skoundrianos October 11, 2012 at 04:15 AM
OLG What Trustee Streit does is his own business He doesn't ask for advice from me I don't ask advice from him. It's obvious we agree to disagree quite readily when it comes to the Mayor. I think you know where I stand on the issue. I have never hidden my opinion of the mayor and his actions no matter what trustee is backing him at the moment.
andy skoundrianos October 11, 2012 at 04:16 AM
First I was Bob's puppet now I'm Phelan's??? Make up your mind so I can make out my christmas card list... Thank you very much!!!!
andy skoundrianos October 11, 2012 at 04:19 AM
Well Rich, the fire dept. has already said they will back The mayor so I hope that fact helps
Tommy S October 11, 2012 at 12:23 PM
Maybe the band already had a contract that couldn't be broken. Is that possible since the story said Phelan negotiated the deal. Remember how Phelan argued that he never negotiated any contracts. Now it looks like he did negotiate this contract. OOPS
Brad October 11, 2012 at 03:34 PM
District, I saw that now. So Phelan says $15000, and Streit says $3500? That is a huge disparity. Which one is telling the truth? I would think $15k was high, but $3500 seems low. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.
Brad October 11, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Sorry Rich, but I do not agree with you at all. I would never back a candidate because of the endorsement of local union workers. They are completely out for themselves, and themselves only. And I am not saying there is anything wrong with that. But since I am neither a policeman or fireman, what they deem important is very different than what a homeowner in the village does or should. I am also by no means pledging allegiance to the current regime. But I think residents should vote for whom they believe is best for Oak Lawn, not Oak Lawn workers who might not even live here.
Brad October 11, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Reading this story again, I now look at this a different way. I do not have a problem with Bob bringing this up. Nor do I have a problem with Tom defending his actions. What is leaving a bad taste here is that this is considered the "top story". It is only the "top story" because it makes for good drama. I would much rather hear what was discussed regarding the 111th demolition, new recycling, water contract, Godfrey report etc... To me, those are issues that will affect the village moving forward. Yes the godfrey report is a political football too. But aside from the mayor's indescretions in it, a new way to handle their legal team moving forward (billings, accounting etc) is important to the well being of the village. Legal representation is a lot more expensive than I bet most residents were aware. Sensationalizing the arguments amongst trustees/mayor has become the norm around our village. There are others issues and matters being taken care of that are getting pushed to the back burner as far as reporting. We need better reporting on the issues here from all media, patch and southtown to name a few. And the jabbing, negative campaigns of those running for mayor are not helping.
District 666 Resident October 11, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Maybe Lorraine should break the tie by reviewing the records. If Phelan thinks that the band brought in $15,000 in beer sales, I'm sure that the village has as record to show he is right or lying
OakLawnGuy October 11, 2012 at 06:05 PM
So you feel Mr Streit is siding with the Mayor in jumping on the FOTG item. My feeling is, he wants Mr Phelan gone, at any length. Perhaps he and Mr Heilmann share that goal, but I doubt Mr Streit is pursuing this only to boost the Heilmann candidacy, doubt that the Mayor is in "control" of Mr Streit, and has nothing to do with anything regarding the whole law firm controversy.
OakLawnGuy October 11, 2012 at 06:07 PM
I'm sure they prefer to back the incumbent mayor rather than Dr Bury as Friend Of Larry.
richard fitswell October 12, 2012 at 12:37 AM
the article said the band got this and that. maybe they didnt get this and that. maybe just one of those rooms went to him .hmmmmmm. Baby we were born to ruunnnnnnnn
andy skoundrianos October 12, 2012 at 03:13 AM
Hey Joe... great song by hendrix by the way, I don't know any facts until the report comes out. You have made up your mind I like seeing the audit first. Once again OLG I will state that I don't know what the reasons are for Trustee Streit's actions or who he is aligned with now, He doesn't call me up for advice,He is his own person just like I am He seems to be backing the Mayor on issues now I do not. You draw your own conclusions. I'm not a mind reader.
OakLawnGuy October 12, 2012 at 11:52 AM
My point, perhaps not clearly stated, was this issue has more to do with Mr. Streit than anything Mr Heilmann is doing or has done, and bringing in a comparison to the lawyer mess is irrelevant.
Oak Lawn Gal October 12, 2012 at 03:08 PM
I agree with OL Guy's comment about Dr Bury's alignment with Deetjen, Phelan and Olejniczak and the probable continuing flow of secret deals. I think if Dr Bury ran as a true reform candidate she'd stand a much better chance of getting elected. That would mean being critical not only the mayor but the board members with as well. The people I know who follow Oak Lawn politics feel there are problems with the entire board. But if she's already aligned with Deetjen, Phelan and Olejniczak that's not likely to happen. I think it's short-sighted and she will hopefully reconsider her election strategy.
Brad October 12, 2012 at 05:01 PM
I agree with OakLawn Guy. This has to do with Streit attacking Phelan. No one else is involved or pulling the strings. This also does not have to do with any of the lawyer issues either. Yes it appears Streit has changed alliances and is behind the mayor now. But he changes allegiances all the time. I am sure that is a reason why he has been in office so long. Bob looks out for Bob's best interests. He is a true politician.
Brad October 12, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Joe, you misunderstand me. There is animousity between Heilman and Phelan. No question about it, and it is probably warranted on both sides, and it is very apparent to "Joe public". I am not saying that Heilman has anything to do with this at all. What I cannot figure out, is why does Streit seem to have a vendetta against Phelan on this whole fall on the green fiasco? It is a festival for the village people that is free, and raises money for charity. Phelan has had a big part in turning it around to be profitable, so the village does not lose money, park lawn gets bigger donations, and the village enjoys a fun weekend. Why would this turn into such a political hot potato? I cannot figure out Streit's end game on this. Especially if this audit, that we the taxpayers are paying for, turns up virtually nothing.
Snarky October 12, 2012 at 11:00 PM
hey andy that's really a stretch blaming dave for tommys bad spending of other peoples money habit - and he already did try to block the report. pay attention
Snarky October 12, 2012 at 11:14 PM
hey andy this time you won't make up your mind until you see the audit first. why ruin your record and keep quiet now. your bobs and phelans puppet now.
Snarky October 12, 2012 at 11:19 PM
hey andy how many other bands over the years got the same over the top consessions do you think. no wonder he was screeming about an audit that may cost 20 grand. thats 2 bands.
richard fitswell December 18, 2012 at 09:13 PM
richard fitswell December 18, 2012 at 09:16 PM


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