Oak Lawn Trustee Tom Phelan (Dist. 6) has responded to allegations of unaccounted for food vouchers, questionable beer and Mai Tai sales, and abuse of VIP tent passes related to Fall On the Green with a “full response package.”
The package—consisting of seven pdfs—answer points raised iof the annual fall festival while under Phelan’s watch as chair of the special events committee.
Once a money-losing event for village taxpayers, Phelan brought Fall On the Green into the black, turning a $50,000 profit, which to date, no one on the village board has disputed. Phelan assumed the role of village board liaison to the special events committee after he was elected in 2005.
Read the pdfs.
Phelan was ousted as special events liaison at the May 22 village board meeting and reassigned to the quality control committee that hasn’t met in six years. Mayor Dave Heilmann said that Phelan was also relieved of his duties as village board liaison to the Oak Lawn Fire Department, a relationship described by some firefighters as “acrimonious.”
In his June 1 press release, Streit said he was “shocked by the number of issues raised and questionable practices alleged and I believe the board has a duty to act to determine the validity of these actions.”
Streit, who replaced Phelan as special events committee liaison, alleged that Phelan allowed some liquor sales to take place that deviated from the normal practice of purchasing drink tickers “without a clear record of the destiny of the proceeds.”
He also accused Phelan of hiring family members to work at the event, personally negotiating vendor contracts and of missing food vouchers that had to be “reimbursed by public funds.”
Streit said he was “troubled” that the village reimbursed vendors $5,274 and at least “1,263 food vouchers distributed by Trustee Phelan are unaccounted for at the village.” Streit added village records indicated that Phelan gave 780 beer vouchers to Trustee Alex Olejniczak during last year’s Fall On the Green.
Asked to see proof of the accusations against Phelan, Streit told several news media outlets to file freedom of information act requests with the village. A request for an audit of Fall On the Green is on Tuesday’s village board agenda.
Following the May 22 board meeting, the mayor told Southtown-Star that he had also received complaints that Olejniczak had “overstepped his bounds as trustee by twice interfering with police reports to protect friends.”
Both Phelan and Olejniczak are said to be seeking an attorney to possibly file a defamation lawsuit.
In his seven pdfs, Phelan responds to and explains the “knowingly false and slanderous statements” made against him by Streit and Heilmann.
Oak Lawn Patch includes Phelan’s “full response package” in its entirety:
- PDF 1 – 1200 unaccounted for complimentary meal passes given out by Trustee Phelan to his friends and political supporters.
- PDF 2 –Trustee Phelan used VIP sponsor tent tickets for political purposes and that VIP tent became Phelan’s “personal party.”
- PDF 3 –Trustee Olejniczak benefitted complimentary meal and drink tickets.
- PDF 4 - Special Events Liaison Trustee Tom Phelan directed use of questionable contracting practices, accounting practices and anagement practices.
- PDF 5 - Phelan directed liquor sales to deviate from the normal purchase, sale and accounting procedures.
- PDF 6 – Phelan hired relatives to sell items at fest without adhering to normal solicitation procedures.
- PDF 7 - Special Events Liaison Trustee Tom Phelan personally negotiated contracts for Fall On the Green festival and micro-managed special events.