Like 'Speeders' Village Board Needs to 'Fight Back' Conflicts of Interest

An open letter calling for transparency in light of information which reveals that Mayor Heilmann signed agreements which would have allowed him to gain up to $33,000 using taxpayer funded resources.

The Oak Lawn Village Board must immediately adopt a formal policy of 100% transparency of government. Conflicts of interest must be disclosed before items are voted on at Village Board meetings.  Elected officials must NEVER use their office or public resources for personal enrichment.

I have recently received information from Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests that reveal yet another blatant and astounding misuse of public funds for the personal and financial gain of our Village President, Mayor Dave Heilmann.   The details are well researched and outlined in the pdf documents which accompany this article.  A summary appears immediately below.

Mayor Heilmann and “Speeders Fight Back”

In 2009 Mayor Heilmann secretly signed Contracts, Releases and Agreements to allow the “Speeders Fight Back” TV program to be filmed at Oak Lawn Village Hall.  The deal that Mayor Heilmann struck would pay him personally as much as $33,000 if the show produced the full 33 episodes, the first time a Village of Oak Lawn employee or elected official ever got paid by the Speeders program.

Mayor Heilmann never consulted with nor sought approval from the Village Manager and Trustees, and it appears he never sought the advice or counsel of the Village attorneys, either, despite the significant legal risks detailed in the contracts and agreements.

Then for a period of almost two months the “Speeders Fight Back” producers used Village resources to film their show, with Mayor Heilmann acting as the point person and even given a “Consultant” designation in the show’s credits. When Trustees learned about the production they were told the Mayor was asked to "fill in for the judge role because the real actor had to cancel at the last minute." 

Unfortunately for Village taxpayers Mayor Heilmann forgot to cut them in on his deal.  The Village received nothing from the show, except for multiple complaints about the production by people doing business at Village Hall, and bad reviews over how negatively Oak Lawn was portrayed when the show aired.

But my FOIAs revealed something even more inappropriate; Mayor Heilmann personally directed the use of Village employees to be used in the filming, and they often had to work on weekends to accommodate what one producer referred to as “Judge Dave’s very busy schedule.”

This weekend work alone cost the Village taxpayers more than $4,000 in documented overtime costs. This overtime was supposed to be reimbursed to the Village, but records show it never was.

And these weren't the only employees to do work on the show on tax-payer funded time. The evidence shows that a dozen-plus village employees may have done some type of work on the show during their regular work hours, effectively using tax-payer funds to put thousands of dollars into the Mayor Heilmann’s pockets.

And if all this wasn’t bad enough for the Oak Lawn taxpayers, Mayor Heilmann actually directed the police chief and finance director to pay for a traffic ticket that one of the employees of the show received while they were filming in Oak Lawn!

All of this is detailed in the pdf attachments to this document.  There is a time-line that makes the events easy to understand, as well as a pdf of emails and copies of all agreements and contracts.  It is important information for every resident of Oak Lawn to become familiar with.  The attachments illustrate:

  • How Mayor Heilmann signed multiple contracts and agreements on behalf of the Village despite having NO AUTHORITY to do so
  • How Mayor Heilmann recklessly agreed to have Oak Lawn assume all risks associated with the Program, risks that “may include injury, disability, and death” per the terms of the Agreement the mayor signed.
  • How Mayor Heilmann purposely excluded the Village Manager and Trustees from the Production and mislead them about his own involvement.
  • How he directed the show’s producers to fax his $1,000 per-episode contract to his downtown law office, instead of to Village Hall.
  • How he signed documents as “Mayor” but listed his home address and home phone number instead of the Village.
  • How he wanted to blow-off an important meeting with Congressman Lipinski so he could “tape his Speeders show instead”
  • How his secretary did so much work on the show that she once lamented how many emails and phone calls she had to make on just one scheduled taping.
  • How he directed his secretary to mislead the Village Manager and Trustees about the production.

I publicly call upon the Village of Oak Lawn Board of Trustees to do the right thing and immediately censure Mayor Dave Heilmann for these actions, urge that they prosecute any wrongdoing to the fullest extent of the law, hold Mayor Heilmann accountable for any and all costs associated with the filming of the “Speeders Fight Back” program, and demand immediate reimbursement for those costs as well as a return to taxpayers any monies paid to Mayor Heilmann through the use of these public resources. 

In addition, Mayor Heilmann and all other Village Officials must immediately disclose any other instances, past or present, where their efforts are personally benefitting themselves, family or business interests at taxpayer expense.


Sandra Bury, OD

Dr. Sandra Bury is running for mayor of the Village of Oak Lawn in April 2013.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author. Oak Lawn Patch invites ALL candidates running for local offices in the April 2013 election to blog or submit letters to the editor or op-eds anytime. Please contact local editor at Lorraine Swanson at lorraine.swanson@patch.com.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

prophet12155 December 10, 2012 at 06:30 PM
2nd.....I agree with you completely. I guess my point is that Sandra Bury has really not said what she is going to DO.....just all the ways the current leadership (Heilmann) is bad. As the "leader in name" of Oak Lawn, I personally believe that the Mayor/President whatever should have a vested interest in all the business coming (and mostly goings) in Oak Lawn.
Who said that? December 10, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Has anyone else noticed that Sandra Burys initials in reverse are BS, OD???
OakLawnGuy December 10, 2012 at 07:27 PM
I'm not blaming anyone for anything. I didn't even comment on the Speeders thing. All I am asking is for Dr Bury's proposals to make government transparent. I know it won't and can't happen with the current Board and Manager, but if a candidate is running for an office, that candidate needs to come up with substantive ideas for improving whatever that candidate is going to run. And Dr Bury has come up with nothing. ZERO. Hating Dave Heilmann and is governing is one thing, saying how you're going to improve on it is another, and should be the crux of her candidacy. Right now, if there's a debate, all we'll hear is what's wrong with the Village government. We hear enough of that from 2nd, 4th and 6th District trustees on a bi-weekly basis.
andy skoundrianos December 10, 2012 at 08:49 PM
I don't agree with OLG on much but at least he comes up with comments and ideas. These slams on Dr. Bury do nothing to advance the discussion. I comment on acts that are reported on these blogs. The Dave fans out there never can defend his actions only blame everyone else. I wasn't on speeders,Phelan,Deetjeen and Bury didn't allegedly negotiate deals with the series producers without village knowledge, Received money by using public buildings and employees for personal gain.. Sorry but that was Dave. Stop committing these shady acts and we won't have anything to say against your guy.. OLG we have 4 months more of this... By the way what are Dave's plans??
2nd December 10, 2012 at 09:03 PM
Can anyone really say what they will do as mayor BEFORE they're elected? Dr. Bury won't know the real story of the politics or finances until or unless she's elected. Then she'll be able to make some decisions and plan. As for Dave, he's been in office too long (as usual in IL politics) and he's learned how to manipulate the system to suit him. Its time for a change in ALL of the faces on the board in OL.
Quiet Neighbor December 10, 2012 at 09:08 PM
I find that I agree with OakLawnGuy more often than not and this is another case where I couldn't agree more. First of all, this is silly stuff and sure the $4k should be recouped if it is owed. However I think that everyone should be mindful of the fact that while all these FOIA requests produce nice floods of information in order for people to assume there is meat to the story, fulfilling the requests costs the village money. One FOIA request cost $5k in redaction fees recently. So, Dr. Bury, please get a new shtick. If this is the type of stuff that you like to spend your time on instead of articulating your views, your goals, your ideas as a mayoral candidate please do so in a way that doesn't cost the village money fulfilling fruitless FOIA requests over trivial things. Your actions since your announcement have given everyone a clear view of your character, so you don't have to communicate that to us, that is crystal clear this being the icing on the cake. Just when I think you are done with the blame game you surprised me with a bigger joke and waste of everyone's time. This is right out of the Romney Ryan playbook, blame everyone, promise great things to come with 0 detail of exactly how or what, then sit back until you're gob-smacked that you lost. I'm fine with that outcome so maybe you shouldn't stop.
SmallManBigWoman December 10, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Go get em Sandy! Let's get some ethics and hold those who used their office for gain accountable!
OakLawnGuy December 10, 2012 at 11:50 PM
I don't know. That's a problem. Again, I'm not sticking up for the guy, just am getting tired of the Dr's slams for which she has no rebuttal in the form of a plan. Didn't we just get a year's worth of this shoved down our throats on a national basis?
Trojansales December 11, 2012 at 06:29 AM
Andy claims it is a "bad story about Dave"! Imagine that, the opponent of the Mayor wrote a bad "story" in the Patch. Cleanup in Aisle One. Oh, sorry!
Phil December 11, 2012 at 05:28 PM
This could be a very serious issue If the Mayor did get paid, then he has some explaining to do, and some proof needs to be shown If the mayor got paid for using village owned properities, then what he did is illegal and unethical as well as possibly criminal If he signed contracts on behalf of the Village (and hid them from others) then the issue just got bigger and probably uglier. He has no authority to do so Obviously alot of questions need to be answered, and I bet tonights meeting will be a huge screaming match what a Village we have Phil
Smallbrainbigrear December 12, 2012 at 04:34 AM
What we need is Andy running. That guy has it all together.
andy skoundrianos December 12, 2012 at 05:34 AM
You must come up with better fake names Den/Bob There is no originality with your current batch. How bout some Old obscure Cubs players?? Bulls or Hawks?? I would run but couldn't take the pay cut, besides the meetings are too long now!!!
SnakeCharmer December 13, 2012 at 04:13 PM
You guys are way too funny, you guys are absolutely ridiculous. Here let me help explain how all you bloggers sound, especially Andy who cant even stay on one side. "Are you some kind of idiot keeping a Cobra as a pet, don't you know how dangerous it is. Oh no, your the moron, your pet Viper is much more dangerous then my Cobra. Hey, Stupid everyone knows the Viper is the only snake you can trust. Once again your wrong, the Cobra is completely trustworthy." In unison "My snake would never bite ME".
2nd December 13, 2012 at 04:23 PM
go back in your basket, snake charmer. YOU'RE ridiculous.
SnakeCharmer December 13, 2012 at 04:41 PM
truth hurts, huh 2nd
Rich December 13, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Same answer you put in another story. Get some new material.
Rich December 13, 2012 at 07:08 PM
No wonder the mayor is hand picking his trustees. This guy is something else. He obviously has bigger plans than just being Mayor of Oak Lawn. How about a Judge Dave sitcom. Oh wait, we alraedy have a Mayor Dave sitcom.
2nd December 13, 2012 at 07:16 PM
What 'truth'? I have no idea what you're talking about in your post. Stay on topic or go find some other place to post your nonsense.
Rich December 14, 2012 at 05:17 AM
I for one am glad Dr. Bury has brought this to our attention. It may be old news, but it sure shows what kind of egomaniac we are dealing with in the mayors office. It's hard to believe these kinds of shenanigans can go on without anyone knowing it. If this is not an example of misusing his public office for personal gain, I can't imagine what is. He should resign.
Rich December 14, 2012 at 05:20 AM
I agree with you Phil. This whole issue should be investigated by an outside entity.
anthony December 18, 2012 at 05:32 PM
Dr Bury needs to distance herself from any current board members ....Otherwise she involves herself in the past 10 years
Moving Target December 18, 2012 at 11:40 PM
From what I hear Phelan, Streit and Deetjen negotiated deals downstate without the villages knowledge. You were OK with that. You were OK with Tom negotiating $10,000.00 contracts with bands without village knowledge. You were OK with the Stony Creek Secret meetings without 2 board members knowledge. You are/were OK with ALL of the BS and sleaze in this group. YOU had the knowledge, but not the Kahunas to stand up!! So SHUT UP NOW! Times up, ding.
Moving Target December 18, 2012 at 11:45 PM
WOW!!! Jane is a really good source of information for ya isn't she? That's what you get from a gossip man. I wonder how reliable it is....just sayin
andy skoundrianos December 18, 2012 at 11:59 PM
Hey Moving you were at those meetings with your attorney/business partner. I was not Sorry keep trying to deflect off yourselves though nice try.
Moving Target December 19, 2012 at 12:50 AM
Hey Andy not only was I NOT at those meetings, nor do I have an attorney/business partner btw, I am a resident and also had no knowledge of ANY meetings. YOU DID, and kept it secret from the others.You put your name on complaint! You're just as dirty as the rest of them!! DEFLECT & BLAME
andy skoundrianos December 19, 2012 at 02:53 AM
I was not involved in the Heilmann/Jurcev illegal petition challenge,nor was I at the stony creek get together. Nice try
Bob December 20, 2012 at 12:24 AM
What a joke , I just read a line in Sandra Burys web page that we need a mayor that does not make personal attacks. That is all she does. Maybe just the mayor can"t but mayor wannabes can. I wish there was someone running who would just talk about what they can do for Oaklawn not rip the other canidate just to get elected.
Dist. 2 Curious December 20, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Oh brother! We have to keep listening to this same old same old until April? Andy too?
andy skoundrianos December 20, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Hey dist. worry about getting a defense lawyer. The FBI is after you
OakLawnGuy December 20, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Are you guys, as taxpayers, willing to pay for that investigation 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 »