In his December 21st letter to the editor of the SouthtownStar (http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/opinions/letters/17165549-474/letters-roofing-contract-a-political-setup.html) Oak Lawn Mayor Dave Heilmann wrote about a roofing contract that he and his allies on the Village board approved at the November 27th Board meeting. In this letter he accuses his adversaries of a “political setup.”
Heilmann cast the deciding “Yes” vote to award a $166,000 contract to a company affiliated with Trustee Bob Streit, despite that fact that there were 3 lower and legitimate bids that could have saved the taxpayers nearly $20,000. In the days following the vote allegations of bid-rigging and bid-tampering surfaced, and the FBI has initiated an investigation.
Incredibly, Mayor Dave Heilmann would have you believe that he knew nothing about the matter. And that he didn't know the company who won the contract employed Trustee Streit’s brother. Or that Streit’s brother is said to have been the person who created the bid specs for the job. Or that Trustee Streit himself was involved in the review of the bids and the awarding of the contract.
Instead, Mayor Heilmann wants you to believe that Trustee Streit, a former 20-year political enemy who curiously and just recently became the mayor’s strongest and most vocal ally on the board, did absolutely nothing wrong, according to an “investigation” the mayor said he conducted into the matter.
Mayor Heilmann wants you to believe the Village Manager and the Village Attorney are at fault despite them saying very clearly at the Board meeting that they were misled and given false information. The Mayor also wants you to believe the three Trustees who voted “No” to the contract are at fault, accusing them of some kind of "political set-up," and saying that while they had no obligation to explain their “No” votes, it would have been “nice” if they did.
I attended the November 27th meeting where the Mayor and his allies approved the contract. And contrary to the mayor’s many denials, the fact is immediately after he cast the deciding “Yes” vote he turned and whispered to the Village Manager, and then turned to the Village Attorney and said “Don't we need a super-majority on this?”
Does this sound like a question from someone who “knew nothing about the matter” as Mayor Heilmann now contends? He stated in his letter, “It would have been nice to know before we voted.”
Mayor Heilmann, wouldn't it also have been “nice” if Bob Streit disclosed his involvement in the bidding process? Or that Streit’s brother worked at the company that received the contract and created the bid specs for the job? Or that this company donated thousands of dollars to Streit’s campaign? Or that Streit sold the assets of his now shuttered roofing business to this same company?
Of course if Streit did all that it would pose a lot of problems for Heilmann’s "political set-up" conspiracy theory. But it would have been nice.
It’s time to end all of the back-room meetings and secret deals in Oak Lawn and DEMAND honesty and transparency from our Village Board. In 2013 the voters can make it happen.
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