'No Evidence Suggesting Village Email System Was Breached To Distribute Political Literature'

Trustee Tom Phelan (Dist. 6) denies being behind recent anonymous email blasts circulating campaign mailer from mayoral challenger in upcoming April 2013 election.

Oak Lawn’s top cop said there is no evidence that the village email system has been corrupted or invaded to cull email addresses to distribute political literature critical of the mayor.

Sign up for the Oak Lawn Patch newsletter and breaking news alerts.

Mayor Dave Heilmann dropped the bombshell at the end of the Nov. 13 Oak Lawn Village Board meeting that village email systems might have been used to compile addresses for two anonymous email blasts circulating political literature by his opponent in the upcoming April 2013 election, Sandra Bury.

The attachment was similar to the 11-page political piece that Bury's campaign mailed to thousands of area residents over the summer, claiming the mayor had undermined a 3-year investigation into the village’s skyrocketing legal fees beginning in 2009, and that his ties to the former village attorneys may have cost Oak Lawn taxpayers $10 million.

The email blasts originated from gmail accounts registered to “P Franek” and “David Zabricki,” which were sent to residents' and village employees’ personal and workplace email accounts in October and November, the mayor said.

Both email blasts contained such subject lines as  “did you see this stuff about dave Heilman????” and “Political Corruption in Oak Lawn."

The mayor said the village started receiving complaints from residents who had received the second emailing around Nov. 7. Many expressed concerns that personal identifying information they had disclosed to the village to pay bills and sign up for the emergency notification system may have been breached.

“Multiple people have contacted me regarding this email,” Heilmann said. “As the complaints started coming in they were reported to the Oak Lawn police chief. Most troubling was [the employees and residents] never gave out their email addresses to Oak Lawn government to then be taken and used for a political mailing.”

Follow Oak Lawn Patch on Facebook.

The mayor said that people tried to respond to the senders but did not get a response.

“It became clear these are phony email accounts. This a fraud, a deceptive act of whomever is doing this to protect their identity,” Heilmann continued. “The police chief has been told of this and is investigating.”

Heilmann proceeded to read excerpts from some of the complaints he had received:

“I’m a resident of Oak Lawn. I received this email today at my work place. This is not acceptable. I do follow the board meetings on TV and I know there are some tensions between board members …. Was this a security breach of my information registered with the emergency notification system? If so this should be reported. This is only place in the city of Oak Lawn that has my information.”

Another resident who had received the emails said that she had "reasonable concerns as to what other personal identifying information [the senders] were privy too.”

Heilmann said the attached political piece also had “identifying properties” indicating that the document wasn't scanned off of political materials that had been mailed this summer, because the original document was attached.

Document properties identify the creator of Bury’s political piece as “Tphelan,” presumably Dist. 6 Trustee Tom Phelan, one of the mayor's most vocal critics.

“The police are investigating this further,” the mayor said. “If you have received of these emails, I would imagine most people would delete these, if you have received them please forward them to the Oak Lawn Police Department. It’s going to be investigated by [the police chief] as well as other legal authorities.”

Asked if he was behind the anonymous emails and fake gmail accounts, Phelan said he had emailed Bury's campaign piece to various people who emailed it to other people.

The trustee's term is also up next spring, but Phelan hasn't announced whether he will seek reelection as the Dist. 6 trustee.

Bury said the writing of her campaign piece was a “group effort” and that neither she nor Phelan could take complete credit.

“A lot of it is from ” Bury said, referring to the first of two legal audits conducted on the former Oak Lawn village attorneys. “I reach out to people who I think can help me with what’s important. You need someone there to give you insight.”

The mayor responded to some of the claims Bury raises which he passed out to voters during the Nov. 3 presidential election.

Oak Lawn Police Chief Bill Villanova said in an email to Patch that his department could find no indication that the village email system had been breached.

“We have not found any evidence that any village email (Everbridge, water or village vehicle tag system, etc.) has been entered to obtain email addresses that were used in that political email,” the police chief wrote.

Villanova said he could not comment any further “as this is still an active investigation.”

Oak Lawn Village Board members are sceduled to meet for their regular monthly board meeting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday (Nov. 27), and again for a special budget hearing on Wednesday (Nov. 28).


  • Advocate May Swap Service Fee for Senior Wellness Center
Oak Lawn Gal November 28, 2012 at 09:09 PM
Andy I respect your commitment to Oak Lawn. But you hate the mayor and support Phelan. So of course you support Dr Bury who seems to be joined at the hip with Phelan. I wish she had run as a true independent. I would have taken her more seriously.
Bob November 28, 2012 at 09:46 PM
Andy anything the mayor does you would blast. so what you say on the patch is taken for what it is.
andy skoundrianos November 28, 2012 at 10:51 PM
Just as what you say sir
Jim Vertucci November 29, 2012 at 12:12 AM
Doesn't matter. Bury isn't winning. Nobody likes her political attacks.
Barry O'Barry November 29, 2012 at 01:22 AM
smbw You and your "mini me" appear to be the Toxic Force behind this village. Why don't you and your Big Mouth take the Big Woman out of this town and into the sunset.. And don't let the door hit you, as they say! Bury's judgement is reprehensible!!
O.L. Taxpayer November 29, 2012 at 05:17 AM
I wonder why the mayor had the police chief look into an office issue when he could have easily pulled his puppet to the side and had the distinguished representative of district 3 request an immediate forensic audit of the email system and for another $25,000 maybe we could find out that maybe the mayor sent out that e-mail. (but like all other audits, we'll never know what we paid for)
Homegrown in OL November 29, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Excuse me, but this is a little more serious than everyone is thinking about. There is a huge potential that the Village of Oak Lawn’s data was compromised, which includes information that could lead to identity theft. In the State of Illinois, it is unlawful not to make a notification to everyone that their personal information may have been compromised even if there is only a possibility that it occurred. I would like to know what process was used to verify that the Village’s systems were not compromised. Did they hire an IT security specialist to investigate, or does the Chief know enough about IT to make such a comment?
Homegrown in OL November 29, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Tom Phelan, I’m curious on how it feels to be wrongly accused of breaching security for the Village of Oak Lawn? I imagine you feel like you have worked so hard and been loyal and dedicated only to be accused of something you didn’t do. Do you feel like people are trying to ruin your life after all you have done to try to help them? I certainly hope that you don’t suffer with depression for years because of this. I hope you don’t lose your faith in people and can’t trust anyone. Let me give you some advice Tom, be strong and never give up. Keep fighting for vindication, no matter if it takes years. On the other hand, maybe it has been you all along that breached security. If that is the case Tom, you should run over to St. Catherine’s and pray for forgiveness. Oh, that’s right; I do know the truth…better get the Men’s Club to start praying for you.
Homegrown in OL November 29, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Mayor Heilmann, Since you believe that the Village’s computer system has been breached, I certainly hope that you will do the right thing, follow Illinois State Law and make notification to every person contained within all of the Village’s databases that there is a potential that their identity has been compromised. Perhaps you should spend many tens of thousands of dollars performing a bogus IT audit, hold the accused against their will under false arrest, not allow them to defend themselves and try to ruin their lives. This is after all the process you utilize, is it not? Or, do you do that only for people who worked to support you, were loyal and dedicated and were being sexually harassed?
oaklawnconcerned November 29, 2012 at 07:11 PM
Andy if you r working for Sandra Bury she will not succeed. U have a big mouth and have no respect for authority.
andy skoundrianos November 29, 2012 at 08:51 PM
I worked for Dave last time and he won I don't have the biggest mouth, well not anymore at least..
Jack Walker November 29, 2012 at 09:34 PM
Isn't that the clerks job? She did it for the referendum petition. Although through all of the slander and salacious accusations she NEVER made a report or even notified the police. Isn't she overly concerned about OL residents this time around? I wonder if shes come to realize what very bad choices shes made in recent years. Unfortunately her BFF Bury is following her greasy trail.
Jack Walker November 29, 2012 at 09:43 PM
Says Small/Big. Thats the beauty of Bury. She's NOT a politician. Any beauty she MAY HAVE HAD sailed right out the window when she grabbed on to Phelans coat tails.
James Manning November 30, 2012 at 03:24 AM
Hey I love your scotch Jack or is that your brother Johnnie?? I thought your buddy the Mayor ran everything in the village.. he sure acts like it
oaklawnconcerned November 30, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Oak Lawn Gal... U r 100 percent correct. Dr Bury will not be taken seriously when she is dependent upon Phelan. Maybe a lesson learned for her! She can't be respected if she needs to lean on others for guidance. Dr Bury needs to lead on her own, before our village could take her serious as our Mayor! She has proven she has no true leadership qualities.
oaklawnconcerned November 30, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Agreed, Dr Bury your drama will cause your loss.
Jack Walker December 01, 2012 at 08:08 PM
What a zinger. Never heard that one before. Hey I really respect your upstanding step brothers Peyton and Eli. Not surprising that they never mention you though.
Jack Walker December 01, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Me thinks this has Clerk Quinlans name all over it. Shes a party privy to this information, if I'm not mistaken.
Bob December 02, 2012 at 07:41 PM
why does the patch still have this on the front page. Oh wait i forgot this is sandy burys campaingn paper.
James Manning December 02, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Here's a quarter Bob call someone who gives a S#*t
randy manchild December 03, 2012 at 05:25 AM
Andy didn't get the e-mail because he is a fifty year old kid. He doesn't own a house. He lives with daddy and sucks off the government with a monthly check. Yes, he admits that he is "disabled". OMG tell us the disability Andy.....
andy skoundrianos December 03, 2012 at 05:55 AM
Hey Dennis stop being the ghost writer and use your real name and picture refute my facts don't just throw bombs like you usually do. I do like the fake names they are pretty funny. How many lawsuits against you have there been now?? 3 or 4 I lost count
olanon60453 December 03, 2012 at 07:17 AM
Where is Patch's coverage of this story? http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/neighborhoodstar/oaklawn/16707776-418/audit-oak-lawn-should-adopt-fest-policies.html
Lorraine Swanson (Editor) December 03, 2012 at 07:50 AM
AlexOmustGO December 03, 2012 at 12:29 PM
Lorraine your allegiance is showing.
Joe not Moe... December 04, 2012 at 07:34 PM
Joe not Moe... December 04, 2012 at 07:36 PM
I agree. words like Minor, and angry photos of the Mayor. This is amateur political stuff..
Neighborhood Guy December 05, 2012 at 12:30 AM
I agree. The way the audit story is written you would have thought that the audit exonerated Phelan. Then when you read the you realize he was wrong on every point raised. Nobody at Patch headquarters has the courage to stand up to the Bully and say "you lied to us". Instead, it's soft pedal everything so he doesn't turn into the incredible hulk and have a tantrum.
JustTheFacts December 08, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Fact #1....Andy can do whatever he pleases on "The Patch". Fact #2.....Andy thinks his options are messages from above and he likes to think everyone should follow his word as gospel. He does not have the ability to have a discussion as he throws a hissyfit whenever anyone expresses a different point of view Fact #3: With that mentality and the vehicle of "The Patch" is an unchecked destructive force. Final Fact. Thus given this scenerio the best way to neutralize "Andy" is to ignore him. Yes this will make him stomp his feet harder and throw a tantrum...but eventually he will take his toys and leave and the adults can have a real discussion. That's just the facts.....as I see them.
law abiding citize April 07, 2013 at 07:25 PM
When did oak lawn put a Greek Andy on the payroll? So your w bury I can see you met at the buffet. She is out of breath talking let alone being mayor. Think feds should look at bury and phelan breaking all kinds of laws. Andy too.


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
See more »