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Oak Lawn Village Board Goes to the Brink

New board majority overrules on discussion of legal investigation and Fall on the Green in political brinksmanship.

The political brinksmanship continued Tuesday as Oak Lawn Village Board members battled to a tie, with the mayor providing the walk-off homer.

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Dr. Sandra Bury, a local business owner, resident and community volunteer, expressed about the recent completion of the Godfrey and Kahn legal investigation.

“Several recent topics under discussion by this board have raised concerns that elected officials may be putting their own interests ahead of the voters they represent,” Bury said during public comments.

Bury said she filed a freedom of information act request for documents and email related to the former village attorney Tressler LLP. She also asked for the Godfrey and Kahn investigative report, only to have a substantive portion of her FOIA request denied because of a

Part of the reason she was given for the denial was to “prevent dissemination of false or misleading information.”

“I waited patiently for the attorney report which has been estimated to cost the taxpayer hundreds of thousands or dollars to prepare,” Bury said. “Where I come from, the best way to prevent false and misleading information is to tell the truth in a public fashion. Not hide it from the voters through legal maneuverings in closed session.”

Vowing to fight the denial of her FOIA request, Bury told Mayor Dave Heilmann that, “adding more lawyers to the mix is not going to do anyone any good.”

Trustee Carol Quinlan’s (Dist. 5) motion to table discussion of the legal investigation on the board’s agenda later in the evening superseded Trustee Alex Olejniczak (Dist. 2), who was interrupted while reading a statement.

 “I was discussing it,” Olejniczak said.

“We’re not able to discuss it at this time,” Quinlan said.

The mayor deferred to the village attorney, Paul O’Grady, who said that the chairman of the board–Heilmann--controlled the board’s discussion.

Village board members voted 4 to 3 to table the discussion, with Olejniczak and Trustees Tom Duhig (Dist. 4) and Tom Phelan (Dist. 6) providing the dissenting votes.

The village board also battled over discussion of during his tenure the special events committee liaison that oversaw the fest.

For a second time, the village board voted 4 to 3 to table discussion of the fall festival, with Duhig, Phelan and Olejniczak as the dissenting votes.

After the meeting, Olejniczak read the remarks he intended to make during the board meeting to news media, stating that the mayor had asked for a month to review the Godfrey and Kahn investigative report so that he could provide a written response to whatever was in it.

“The mayor told the village manager he had majority support of the board,” Olejniczak said, “but I received no other information and have no idea what the status of the report is.”

Olejniczak continued that he had intended to motion to have special counsel submit the final entire report so that the village board could review it and schedule a special meeting.

“As you can see, Dave Heilmann has a double standard in how he handles people and what he does,” Olejniczak said, contending that the mayor had earlier violated Robert’s Rules of Order.

Referring to the mayor’s public accusations that he had twice tampered with police reports favoring his friends, Olejniczak said he had documentation proving the accusations false.

Olejniczak added he would have liked to have had a month to "prove false the BS allegations made against me."

“Obviously,” the trustee said philosophically, “they had the majority of the board so these are things that I and the rest of Oak Lawn will have to get used to.”

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Dan June 14, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Can someone please help me find out how i can get my slob neighbors to finish painting the house.
Oak Lawn Gal June 15, 2012 at 02:06 AM
Good points Dave W. The What and the Why are of course what would be so interesting to know. My guess is that Cindy is the weak link at this point. Her votes are tentative at best and when it's a 4-3 scenario she hesitates every time. One interesting thing is that the "3" are all up for re election next year along with the Mayor. I think Tom is a fellow traveler but not a target. Raising questions about Alex's and Bob's ethics at this point will stay visible until the audit is done. How long will the audit take? What if they do find questionable practices? What impact will that have on voters? Maybe that's the answer to "Why now?" Maybe it's a well-planned house cleaning.
QC June 15, 2012 at 03:24 AM
Dan Contact your trustee. Good Luck with that!
Legally curious June 15, 2012 at 04:12 PM
I don't think there is a law against doing business with a friend. The Mayor's friend was in the first law firm and then Phelan's friend's law firm took over. The illegal part that you refer to with Governor Blagojevich was whether the public official receives bribes. Most of the employees and contracts in previous years were friends of the Coalition and that didn't change much. Who do you think the unity party hired or contracted with? Friends
scouter June 18, 2012 at 07:10 AM
Suggestion - Have you asked them if they need help? Sometimes someone becomes ill, works too many hours, has physical or mental issues that interfere with basic health, little children that claim all of their attention or are elderly and need assistance... or just need help to get things done because of family problems (sick member or child)... Or they have lost their job or run out of money or can't afford it due to medical bills or other bills... Sometimes it's because the person has become injured and just has no one else able or willing to help. Maybe you can be a good neighbor and ask them why it isn't done and maybe offer to help... Good neighbors are hard to find and are a rarity... IF they are rude in response to your genuine caring concern, then, by all means, complain and make their life hell... and hope that it doesn't come back to bite you on the b***...

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