By DAVE HEILMANN
Editor's Note: All local candidates are invited to post opinions, blogs, events and announcements on Oak Lawn Patch. For more information, contact local editor Lorraine Swanson.
Throughout political campaigns residents hear a lot of back and forth and you don't know who to believe.
At the debate the other night I heard multiple references to "transparency." Unfortunately the person making the remarks may not even know that the people she has associated herself with have been the exact opposite of transparent. But don't accept my conclusion. I wanted to give Patch readers one example and the back-up information--including an audio clip and phone records--from which they could make their own judgment.
Dec. 15, 2009 - Executive Session
This was the meeting where in Executive Session there was the first board discussion of hiring of “independent counsel” to investigate the overbilling and legal malpractice issues. Trustee Tom Phelan said that whoever it is we hire, whoever does this investigation, it has to somebody “completely independent” and someone not connected to any board member.
Village Manager Larry Deetjen then announced that he had chosen the law firm of Odelson and Sterk and specifically Burt Odelson to do the investigation.
At that time Burt Odelson was the attorney for Community High School Dist. 218 where Mike Stillman had been Board President. Stillman was the lawyer hired to replace our former attorneys. Stillman is now Odelson's partner. Trustee Phelan had two family members receive jobs at Dist. 218.
I objected to Odelson because I did not believe he was independent at all.
What was not disclosed is that Phelan had been speaking to Odelson multiple times in the days leading up to this meeting. In fact, on that day, the day of the Board meeting, phone records confirm that Phelan spoke three times to Odelson.
On the day of the Board Meeting, December 15th, Phelan and Odelson spoke at 9:39 a.m., at 3:30 p.m., and then a third time at 5:04 p.m., just two hours before the board meeting. None of these calls were disclosed.
Immediately after Phelan hung up with Odelson he called three trustees and then the clerk. (Slcik on the attached phone records)
Listen to the reaction of Trustee Phelan to when I objected to Odelson's hiring. (Listen to attached audio by clicking on the video on the right. Warning graphic langauge)
He wanted someone 'independent of my bias and bullshit", yet never disclosed that he was on the phone with that person three times that very day.
I want to be clear why I would send this in. Because these records and this audio are not my opinions or interpretation. It is evidence, information, verification, call it what you like, of what actually happened. I am very tired of hearing people lie.
The records further revealed Odelson had more than 85 calls with Phelan over the next five months including at 10 p.m. after a board meeting.
Odelson billed the Village for his time through the end of January 2010. Many of Phelan's calls were not included on that bill. He then worked on this for another year and for some reason didn't submit a bill. If he had submitted a bill we then may have seen all of those calls with Tom Phelan.
You can draw your own conclusions from this.