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Streit Lays Out 'Evidence' for Forensic Audit, Claims Phelan's Records are Fake

Trustee Bob Streit says that fellow village board colleague Tom Phelan's "seven pdfs" disputing claims that he rewarded friends with free Fall On the Green vouchers while punishing enemies do not match village records.

In his first public remarks since sending out a press release of Fall On the Green, Oak Lawn Trustee Bob Streit, whose been accused of being cagey with the press, laid out his evidence at Tuesday’s village board meeting.

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“Last week I called for a forensic audit … after being made aware of some very serious issues,” Streit said, Oak Lawn’s longest serving trustee and president pro temp.

“I was told that one trustee personally negotiated contracts with the bands. I was told that a trustee gave another trustee 130 free food vouchers and 780 beer tickets worth over $2,500,” Streit added.

Appointed the new chair of special events by the mayor, whom he lauded for taking the “first step toward cleaning up the special events committee by appointing Independent Village Trustee Robert Streit as chairman” and replacing “Trustee Thomas Phelan amid allegations of favoritism and wrong doing.”

At the May 22 village board meeting, Mayor Dave Heilmann said he had for Fall On the Green and excluding other elected officials because of a political vendetta. The annual community fall festival is funded by donations and sponsorships made to the village.

Phelan has since released Phelan said his “vender negotiations” were limited to soliciting bands, and that his name never appeared on any vendor contract connected with Fall On the Green.

“His seven pdf files actually raise more questions that answers,” Streit said.

Citing an email by Phelan to another village staff member dated Dec. 7, 2011 included among Phelan’s in-depth documentation, Streit said the correspondence actually proved that his village board colleague was involved in negotiating contracts "worth thousands of dollars."

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“He writes and I quote, ‘I also want to stay involved with you on entertainment choices and negotiations because I think we are good at that and we can play good cop, bad cop when negotiating,’” Streit said.

Streit also repeated allegations he made in his press release that Phelan gave Trustee Alex Olejniczak (Dist. 2) food and beer vouchers worth $2,455. The vouchers were distributed to 65 neighbors living adjacent to the village green as a token of thanks.

Streit said Phelan and Olejniczak made the decision without village board approval and that there was no record of residents receiving the vouchers.

In a letter from [Phelan’s] attorney threatening Streit with litigation for defamation and slander, Streit said that no village records matched the documentation provided by Phelan.

“I have requested those records from staff members in the village who have those records,” Streit said. If those records existed, they’re not in village files.”

Phelan disputed Streit’s remarks as “garbage.”

“In the seven years that I’ve sat here I’ve seen a lot of stunts and this is by far the ugliest, most slanderous and blatantly false,” Phelan said. “I do support forensic auditors looking at special events not just Fall On the Green because we’ve been in the practice for at least of a couple of years of comingling money … that’s a concern for me.”

The village board voted 5 to 1 to seek an independent forensic auditor, with Trustee Cindy Trautsch being the dissenting vote. She later expressed concern over the costs of paying for such an audit.

After the meeting, Streit said the Phelan, by issuing his documentation, was trying to interfere with process.

“He’s trying to control it up front,” he said.

Asked if were angry that he wasn’t given VIP tent tickets last year because he wasn’t a volunteer at the fest, Streit said he wasn’t invited to participate.

“We heard [Phelan] say tonight he’s been calling for an audit,” Streit said. “He’s been the special events and financial committee chair for years, he could have called it. You guys have to see through that.

Do you think a forensic audit is actually necessary and should be expanded to include other village special events? Tell us in the comments.

fred wiese June 14, 2012 at 09:38 PM
Thanks Ms Swanson for putting up with us Who does The Audit? Definition A forensic audit is an examination of economic affairs, resulting in a report designed for use in a court of law. A forensic audit is similar to the tax audit both strive to establish a picture of an entity's finances. A forensic audit can have several goals, including mapping cash flow/cash transactions,identifying accounting errors and enumerating total assets.Forensic audits are performed by special class of financial experts know as forensic accountants.This class includes certified fraud examiners (people with bachelor's degrees or equal professional experience who have a background in accounting, prosecuting fraud, loss prevention or criminology/sociology who pass the CFE test);CPAs;or Chartered Accountants. What Happens After The Audit Is Complete? Once completed, the report is sent to the appropriate authorities and recorded as evidence.Finance is a highly technical disciple to accommodate this complexity, accountancy has adopted an precise lexicon. As such, an unscrupulous defense attorney could exploit the average juror's ignorance of such terminology to discount audit results that are actually compelling. Cost a guess don't take it to the bank-depends on how many transactions there were, how much detail there was to support the financial statements.Probably $10K.
Sandra Bury June 14, 2012 at 09:40 PM
Northfield, Illinois: (1) If a member of the corporate authorities develops a conflict of interest, that member shall be permitted to issue written statements with respect to or participate in public meeting discussions of the issue involved in the conflict, however the member shall also abide by the following: (a) Make full written or other public disclosure of the conflict. (b) Refrain from voting on the issue involved in the conflict. (c) Refrain from private discussions with other members of the corporate authorities, village staff members or village consultants with respect to the issue involved in the conflict.
Sandra Bury June 14, 2012 at 09:43 PM
Antioch, Illinois: Whenever the performance of an official act or action of a public official or public employee shall include deliberation, voting or the rendering of a decision on his part on any matter in which he has or knows he may acquire an interest, he shall publicly disclose the nature and extent of such interest and disqualify himself from participating in the deliberation and the decision making process, as well as in the voting. In order to avoid the appearance of impropriety, the public official or public employee who has disqualified himself from participation under this subsection shall not be present in the same room during which the decision
DebSpeaks June 14, 2012 at 10:02 PM
I'll say it again ~~ it's time to replace them all.
fred wiese June 14, 2012 at 11:33 PM
Sounds like someone would be happier up north.
Sandra Bury June 15, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Ahh Fred, if you knew me you'd know that I break out in hives when I go north of the river. I'm not the Lincoln Park type like others you might know.
fred wiese June 15, 2012 at 12:21 AM
Back of the yards myself . North enders didn't/don't take very well to me Chi Cardinals and White Sox were fun in the 40's and 50's I think most OLer's want the elected ones to work it out themselves. Watta u tink?
Oak Lawn Gal June 15, 2012 at 01:23 AM
They have to do the audit now. I'd rather see them focus on FOTG first. Phelan said several times there had been co-mingling of funds which bothered him. There are a number of serious allegations on the table for this one event. Better to have an independent audit now and resolve all of these allegations.
Lorraine Swanson (Editor) June 15, 2012 at 02:43 AM
Hey, I'm a North Sider living on the South Side, but I'm one of the good North Siders.
andy skoundrianos June 15, 2012 at 02:46 AM
I'm running for Mayor so I will have my sign up
QC June 15, 2012 at 03:21 AM
AMEN Lorraine!
Available Auditor June 15, 2012 at 11:54 AM
Where does candidate Doc Bury stand on the issue of conducting an audit on FOG? I see that she wants a conflict policy even though a state law prohibits voting on conflicts, but I don't see her assailing her running mate, the trustee in six. Your public needs to know. You're on the stage now
OakLawnGuy June 15, 2012 at 12:15 PM
I was born on the SS but lived North for several years. Different attitudes, same games.
Phallic Fury June 15, 2012 at 12:23 PM
A better headline: streit claims phelan's package is fake.
Phallic Fury June 15, 2012 at 12:29 PM
Or Phelan's package lacking substance or phelan's package exaggerated
Sandra Bury June 15, 2012 at 01:39 PM
AA: I'm going to politely ignore a few of your assumptions but do want to let you know that I am all in favor of transparency at any level. I think if Mayor Heilmann set standards of ethics, conflict of interest declarations and transparency for his Board that all of these issues would not even be there. As President of the Board, I do hold him accountable. All the drama - which everyone agrees is bad for Oak Lawn - stems from good people standing their ground against perceived unethical behavior. In the meantime, while the bickering continues, real opportunity to move Oak Lawn forward is lost. Mayor Heilmann seems to not only have little interest in transparency, but actually seems to actively be at work hiding truth from taxpayers. This must stop and will stop. I firmly feel that conflicts of interest with agenda items should be declared at each meeting. If Mayor Heilmann wants to hide things from voters with confidentiality agreements at the back end, let’s declare these things at the front end so the voters can properly assess if their elected officials are working for them or for other interests. What is he afriad of?
Sandra Bury June 15, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Lorraine -We won't hold it against you. :)
QC June 15, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Or just plain, Phelan is a package. Short and .....
childish humorist June 15, 2012 at 02:21 PM
Or Phelan's Package Fails its function
Available Auditor June 15, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Sandra, If you want to clamor for transparency the least you can do is be honest and admit your are running for Mayor. If you aren't running for Mayor with Tommy Boy, then come out and call for transparency by agreeing that an audit is proper when the facts raise real questions about who got what and who approved it. Do you only believe in transparency for the Mayor or will you stand behind your high ethical standards and change your position on the need for an audit. If you won't than I suggest you should stop talking about transparency and conflicts. You have a major conflict as a candidate and you won't even admit it but you want the Mayor to declare "conflicts" before every vote.
Dave W. June 15, 2012 at 09:53 PM
Linda Gough, The things you propose cannot happen without the forensic audit...Trustee Streit called for that because there is suspicion and apparently some weak form of proof, but not enough on Trustee Phelan to "replace his position with a new official and move on". That isn't how it works. YOU scream "you are INNOCENT until proven GUILTY", yet you want to shortcut the process. Both sides of the issue want to do this because they each think they are right. NOT doing it because of money is a terrible reason to not do so. Joe Skibinski is worried about the money involved in bigger projects, but there should be no minimium required for corruption to qualify as such. If politicians KNOW the 'line' they will always tread just under it. That is where I also differ with Available Auditor; if the same person is involved in running one special event as all the rest, best to turn over all the rocks now, not pay for another investigation if another allegation surfaces. (Sorry AA, agree otherwise.) I will ask, AGAIN, why are people defending secrecy? Who is against transparency? WHY? You are either a fool or a person of interest hiding out here with your fake name, no matter which side you are on. Don't you get it? The people see through that, the people that really just want the best for Oak Lawn don't want lies and obfuscation. They want truth and honesty from those that represent them, are supposed to work FOR them, not themselves.
Dave W. June 15, 2012 at 10:18 PM
Here is the problem on this specific issue, Dr. Bury: They ALL voted for it, before this new little set of 'teams' was drawn up. When it was well-considered that more than a majority of the board were at the very least 'unhappy' with the mayor. I post fairly often, and have, in fact, been assailed with infantile, personal attacks by cowards hiding behind one-time names BECAUSE I have beat the drum for transparency in all village dealings. I think far more goes on in 'executive sessions' that should be public. I think it casts a dark shadow across the whole board, clerk and manager included. HOWEVER...THEY VOTED ON THIS. NOBODY leaked it. (Which is kind of amazing, given how these people usually cannot wait to undercut one another.) SO, either there is something so heinous in that report to which they are ALL party, OR, it is rather benign, more so than a conspiracy theorist like myself would like to think. Meaning it isn't worth breaking confidentiality. None of them, not a single person spoke out, not even to try for bonus points with a "I would LOVE to tell the public, BUT, I can't, because of the agreement." They're all mum. I do NOT like it. YOU seem to not like it, though I have a cynical eye on your postings because you seem biased toward one side more than the other, and not just for the town, and not just out of pure altruism. It really does not matter. It is done. It sucks, but it is done. Audit everything we need to, clean this town up...but move on.
anthony June 15, 2012 at 10:19 PM
Get the man to the Greek no the Skound and Crossbones party no Skouddrinomics :]
anthony June 15, 2012 at 10:46 PM
Mr Deetjen i must admit comes up with some creative financing ,intresting proposals and a type of old guard OL plays ball feeling ... for years... He does seem very hands on.. However any trustee can sit down with business and bring them to the table just like he does...
Lorraine Swanson (Editor) June 16, 2012 at 03:48 AM
Please stay on topic and don't make fun of each other. Here is a refresher course on Patch's terms of use. http://oaklawn.patch.com/terms
danr June 18, 2012 at 12:03 PM
so much for transparency when the mayor silences his foes: http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/13197726-522/oak-lawn-trustees-left-wanting-to-speak-up.html
Dave W. June 19, 2012 at 12:27 AM
This is why people are so upset...well, this and five or ten other things...good catch, danr...you should run for mayor.
anthony June 19, 2012 at 07:18 PM
Waiting 4 the new mayoral canidate campaign contributions link on the wepay donation site.....Andy 2013
anthony June 19, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Oly was stunned! Voice cracked.. The better part is with all the personal profits... All the years of special deals.. Open a can of worms to prove a point..#hotheads
anthony June 25, 2012 at 05:42 PM
No they cannot the Mayor will not allow it.....

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