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Judge Tosses Unity Party Lawsuit Against Mayor

United they stand, divided they fall, former Unity Party slate members' attempts to recoup campaign funds controlled by mayor fails in court.

A Cook County judge dismissed a lawsuit filed against Oak Lawn Mayor Dave Heilmann and Trustee Carol Quinlan (Dist. 5) that alleged both had absconded with campaign funds belonging to the former Unity Party.

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Village Clerk Jane Quinlan and Trustees Alex Olejniczak (Dist. 2), Tom Duhig (Dist. 4) and Tom Phelan (Dist. 6)—the mayor’s former Unity Party slatemates—filed a lawsuit in February 2011 in which they claimed $25,929 in campaign funds were improperly transferred by the mayor to his village board ally, Carol Quinlan.

Judge Mary Mikva said in her order of dismissal on June 28 that the plaintiffs did not present any facts that would suggest there was a “fiduciary duty owed to them by [Heilmann or Carol Quinlan].”

The mayor formed the Unity Party political action committee in 2003. Heilmann, Jane Quinlan, Olejniczak and Phelan

The party split in 2009 over political differences after Heilmann and Carol Quinlan, who is related to the village clerk by marriage, objected to Oak Lawn’s hiring of the Querrey and Harrow law firm.

According to a press release issued by the mayor’s attorney, —Jane Quinlan, Phelan, Olejniczak and Duhig, who was elected to the village board in 2009, “met in a bar” and formed bylaws of a new group called “Unity Party of Oak Lawn.”

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Claiming that they were now in control of all the committee’s campaign funds, they sued Heilmann over improperly expending funds raised by the former Unity Party. The lawsuit also alleged that Carol Quinlan was an improper beneficiary of the campaign funds.

Heilmann has called the lawsuit an “embarrassment” to Oak Lawn during an interview last year. The mayor said that he and his friends raised the Unity Party’s first $24,000.

“You have the village clerk suing the mayor she ran with,” Heilmann said. “What disappoints me is that my wife spent six months putting together a musical fundraiser… my friends spent three months working their hearts out and raised $16,000 or $17,000 in 2005 … all these people did that for Erica (the mayor’s wife) and I.”

The mayor added that none of the other Unity Party members’ fundraising events “brought in that kind of money.”

As chairman and treasurer of the Unity Party, Heilmann controlled the campaign funds from 2003 to 2011. In his attorney’s press release, Heilmann said he had to sue the other members of the former Unity Party to get Carol Quinlan’s share, about $18,000, of the campaign funds.

Village Clerk Jane Quinlan said the group only wanted a “six-way split” of the remaining funds.

“I brought a substantial amount of money to the party and labor,” Jane Quinlan said. “Everyone brought something to the party. “You’re a team and if someone would have told me that the mayor would have taken all our money I wouldn’t have believed it.”

Jane Quinlan said Heilmann brought her on board as candidate for village clerk after he first approached her to run for the Dist. 6 trustee seat.

“Dave knew my sister. They were in plays,” the village clerk said. “He came a back a month later and asked if I’d run for clerk.

According to Jane Quinlan, the mayor reached out to her through Carol Quinlan, because their husbands are cousins. The Unity Party parted ways in 2009, when members met at Jack Desmond’s Irish Pub in Chicago Ridge

“That’s a bar,” Jane Quinlan said. "Dave had mentioned he’d like to have fundraiser down the road and we found out that the invitations already went out. How do you think we felt then?”

Before Heilmann transferred funds and dissolved the Unity Party, Jane Quinlan said the mayor offered her $1,000.

“I’m not pimping my party for $1,000,” she added.

Krafthefer called the dismissal of lawsuit “a significant victory for Mayor Heilmann and Trustee Carol Quinlan.”

“Maybe the clerk and trustees will now be able to set aside their political differences and work together with the mayor for the good of Oak Lawn,” Krafthefer said.

Do you think village board members will be able to work out their political differences? Tell us in the comments.

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welcome home July 02, 2012 at 03:58 PM
why would the mayor offer jane quinlan 1,000 if he didn't feel guilty about hoarding all the contributions? I dont' know a lot baout politics but I do konw that when you're in a party all members are equal.
Sandra Bury July 02, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Involvement with an Oak Lawn elected official certainly has to do with Oak Lawn. I did not attack Trustee Streit, nor am I. The article didn't seem like an attack either. It was factual and references were cited.
Dave W. July 02, 2012 at 04:48 PM
As OLG said, there is plenty to go around, welcome home. The mayor isn't special because he was elected to anything before...I do not think the trustees or the clerk or the village manager would like to be classified as bumpkins (not saying you are explicitly saying that) by comparison. They are all adults, all professionals, and all capable of great works or great deviousness, equally. It seems more and more like the type of housecleaning thqat brought them in needs to take them out. If they cannot play nice in our 'sandbox', perhaps they can all find another one somewhere else and people who care more about Oak Lawn than petty political rivalries can step up and step in.
pilateees July 02, 2012 at 06:29 PM
I think the point being made about the mayor being a former politician and attorney is that he was aware of campaign election law. And how political committes are run. He took advantage of the others who trusted him and basically stole their money. He did that before when he was on the Township. The others weren't bumpkins as Dave W says. They jsut weren't really politically savvy. Much to their detriment now.
Sandy Killeen July 02, 2012 at 06:41 PM
This message goes out to all the Oak Lawn Village Officials......PLEASE STOP. This has gone on WAY TO LONG. The constant fighting is becoming embarrasing. PLEASE use your time wisely; use that energy in helping the residents and business owners of Oak Lawn and STOP worrying about your egos.
Dave W. July 02, 2012 at 06:48 PM
YAY, Sandy Killeen! Perfect!
Pat F July 02, 2012 at 07:14 PM
I also agree..on with village business to make us a better community..Work together!
andy skoundrianos July 03, 2012 at 01:59 AM
Sure do i was a campaign member for the unity party back in 2007 and 2009 The Mayor did nothing All the volunteers and workers came from the families of the trustees The Mayor was never there he never thanked any of the volunteers. The clerk and trustee Phelan provided a lot of the volunteers along with Alex,and in 2009 tom duhig and Carol Quinlan in 07 and 09. The money that I wrote on my check went to the unity party not Dave Heilmann . I have heard this case may still go to the board of elections.. So this is not over yet
they all fell down July 03, 2012 at 03:03 AM
jane quinlan is beyond contempt. she only pimps for herself. she took $2500 to leave the unity party w the others . she cant be truested is a gossip and phonyand liar
andy skoundrianos July 03, 2012 at 04:23 AM
Enough of the vile attacks on women Feel real proud of yourself hiding behind a fake name and attacking women You are beyond contempt
Lorraine Swanson (Editor) July 03, 2012 at 04:49 AM
Better Later, your comment was in violation of Patch's terms of use. Please rephrase and post again. Please be civil in your comments. http://oaklawn.patch.com/terms
anthony July 03, 2012 at 07:06 AM
wasnt really an attack on woman just her. Not saying i have an opinion but let the bridges burn and payback rule
Sandra Bury July 03, 2012 at 09:42 AM
Clerk Jane Quinlan doesn't deserve those kind of remarks. You won't find a finer public servant. She actually cares about Oak Lawn residents and spends her day helping anyone who needs it. She's classy enough to put Oak Lawn first. Every time. Anyone who has seen her in action can see her passion for our community, unlike someone else we may know who only shows up when the cameras are on and otherwise avoids residents as if they were bothersome gnats.
Mayor supporter July 03, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Anyone who thinks the mayor took advantage of anyone simply doesn't know him. Most mayors have their own committee and their own fundraisers. He could have made each of his running mates form their own committee and come up with a minimum. Instead, even though he was the biggest fundraiser and brought a name to this group - which would not have won without him - and he shared the funds equally. Then when they split up, even though some trustees raised very little, he still gave everyone an equal share and didn't take any for himself.
fred wiese July 03, 2012 at 03:28 PM
and the judge agreed. To some its a moral issue now. Next it may be their religion. Next it will be the banks. Next the hospital. If they don't like the Mayor nothing will suffice. Now after all the BS the Mayor,s got my vote and with any luck a different citizen will run in the 2nd. Happy 4th
andy skoundrianos July 03, 2012 at 04:28 PM
I know him, I worked on "His" parties campaigns in 2007 and 2009. Dave did very little. the volunteers came from the rest of the slate. The Mayor was never around. I went to the fundraisers a majority of the people there were not Dave's " people " Jane Quinlan had more votes than the Mayor in the last election!! You don't think the running mates helped him as much as you say the Mayor helped them to win?? Cmon The checks were written to the Unity Party not Dave Heilmann. There was no money equally shared. Look at the D-2's Dave kept all of the money All the judge said was This case should go to the board of elections to settle the matter. Oh yeah Mr. Wiese in case you didn't know the Mayor doesn't have my vote!! Happy 4th to you as well.
Available Auditor July 03, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Sandra, You attack the Mayor while telling everyone that a divisive leader with a vindictive agenda is bad for Oak Lawn. Hypocrical? Stay Classy Sandy Bury.
Available Auditor July 03, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Andy, How can you say that when we don't know who is running?
Andy just hates Dave July 03, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Andy only slams the mayor. That's it. He's got nothing else to say. Does not comment on fall on green investigation or indictment of bob's business partner (a nonstory at this point). It's just cheap shots at Dave. Andy's not about the village as he tries to portray, he's neck deep in politics. Nothing more, not credible, just antiDave. Very sad. Doc Bury is same way. She'll be vanquished in election if she's crazy enough to run. People know what she's about and it's just more Andy and Tom BS.
Andy just hates Dave July 03, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Andy calls Dave a liar, actor, and phony, someone says similar against Jane and Andy calls it a vile attack on women. Pretty typical, invoke race or sex when you cant say anything intelligent. Janes great btw, she's been a model clerk.
fred wiese July 03, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Thank you Andy. But I really don't care about your vote. I hope that your day gets better.
john Crivellone July 03, 2012 at 08:57 PM
This thing is getting more pathetic by the day. looks like the mayor only has one loyal member left. However, he does have all the money now!!!
andy skoundrianos July 03, 2012 at 10:00 PM
Difference is that I use my real name and picture unlike yourself ,you gutless coward. I never slam women on these blogs ever. I'm for anyone who is for the residents of Oak Lawn which sadly the Mayor is not. He is for big businesses like Advocate hospital that gives him awards at the expense of residents and taxpayers. He is also for hiring his law firm buddies who bilk the village out of Millions, He doesn't care about the community unless there is something in it for him.
Archie B July 03, 2012 at 11:20 PM
OF course you are attacking the trustee. What facts? You are the most devisive person on these comments but that's probably because the meathead hasn't been on here lately. Edith please stifle it
QC?? July 04, 2012 at 02:52 AM
Hey Joe, here to defend Dave again?? Only Dave links quotes to false stories on the patch. What is the obsession with the non screw up at Sward over a year ago?? Nothing came of this story and you know it just like all the other false claims you make Dave
Oak Lawn Gal July 04, 2012 at 11:25 PM
One loyal member? The mayor has Carol, Bob Streit and Cindy Trautsch voting with him. The major votes lately have been 4-3 in the Mayor's favor. The judge tossed the 2011 lawsuit. Nuf said about that. Now Phelan and Alex have their lawyers and that sideshow will continue. Guessing that will go in the Mayor's favor too due to the wording he used. But we'll see,
District 666 Resident July 05, 2012 at 03:19 AM
That's right the Mayor seems to be working well with Quinlan, Trautsch and STreit. He also seems to be winning a lot lately. Perhaps he's smarter than Tom and Alex. Maybe Tom and Alex have gone for the long touchdown when a steady easy running game may have been better. Maybe the constant "got ya" mentality they exhibit just doesn't work. In any case, the election is shaping up with Streit and Heilmann working together. That can't be good for Phelan
QC?? July 05, 2012 at 04:42 AM
Hey Satan, Do you think Dave actually likes Bob and Vice versa?? It's a team of mutual hatred against Alex and Tom period. Dave campaigned against Bob in 2011. His Lawyer in this case Ms. Krafthefer, was the same attorney for Bob's opponent Daniel Sodaro in the election board hearing!! Dave gave Sodaro a thousand dollars for his campaign and wrote a letter to residents on his behalf.This alliance will not last very long and don't underestimate Tom and Alex
Oak Lawn Gal July 05, 2012 at 08:13 PM
I think it was 2 months ago, maybe 3, that the mayor's demeanor changed and at times he seemed tougher. I believe he knew then about the complaints against Phelan and Alex. That was also likely when he made an alliance with Bob, Cindy & Carol. I think with Phelan all the mayor has to do is produce the complaints. And I'm guessing the audit will show that he gave tickets away and maybe more. But if you remember that meeting it was Phelan who pressed the mayor for the reasons for the committee changes. Alex may have a stronger case - I haven't looked at the allegations there.
District 666 Resident July 05, 2012 at 10:03 PM
I think Bob and Dave like working with each other more than they liked working with Tom and Alex. It is easy to underestimate Tom and Alex because they haven't accomplished much. Tom is the boy who cried wolf and Alex is like a sheep afraid of the big bad wolf that Tom creates.

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