|COOK COUNTY STATE’S ATTORNEY TO REVIEW FELONY
ALLEGATIONS REGARDING “BRING IT INC” PAYMENTS BY
OAK LAWN THAT VIOLATE NEWLY ADOPTED CONFLICTS
OF INTEREST ORDINANCE
Robert Streit (Dist. 3) at the November 26, 2013 Board of Trustees
meeting when he asked that a payment to the company be removed
from the bills until the contract between the village and the company
could be provided to the Trustees.
Streit had previously requested all contracts entered into by the Village
Manager without board approval. In response to the request, Deetjen
failed to provide any contract with Bring It Inc. State Law requires
contracts to be approved by the Village Board, but Deetjen has claimed
that he has a right to spend up to $20,000 without board approval or
without formal bidding. Thus far, the majority of the board has not
challenged Deetjen’s interpretation of his statutory powers.
On December 13, 2013, the Oak Lawn Leaf, in an exclusive report,
revealed that Radice owned the company Bring It, Inc even though he is
a village employee. The village’s ordinances provide that the manager
may make purchases of materials and supplies up to $20,000 but does
not grant him any power to enter into contract for services, according to
our legal experts.
An invoice dated October 15, 2013 that was approved by Deetjen and
placed in the description for services is listed "Economic Development
Contractual Services 9/16/13 through 10/15/13".
On November 15, 2013, Bring It Inc submitted a second invoice to
Deetjen for $4,706. The second invoice had a description of "Economic
Development/ Outreach contractual services for Village Manager's
Office 10/16/13 thru 11/15/13".
An attorney familiar with Illinois municipal law reviewed the village code
and disagrees with any interpretation of the ordinance that would allow
Deetjen to contract with Bring It Inc for "economic development". "B(7)
means he can buy paper under a previously approved appropriation. It
doesn't mean he can unilaterally contract on behalf of the village up to
$20,000", said the attorney. He added that a review of the invoice
makes it clear that the work is primarily for services.
The payments to Radice’s company were once again in the news this
week when former Oak Lawn Mayor David Heilmann penned a letter to
multiple media outlets, including the Oak Lawn Leaf, claiming that the
contracts to Radice may constitute a class three felony under Illinois
Law. Specifically, Heilmann referenced an Illinois Statute, known as
“Unlawful Participation”, which states:
Whoever, being an officer, director, agent, or employee of, or affiliated
in any capacity with any unit of local government or school district
participates, shares in, or receiving directly or indirectly any money,
profit, property, or benefit through any contract with the unit of local
government or school district, with the intent to defraud the unit of local
government or school district is guilty of a Class 3 felony.
Stevens, on his own website blog, takes credit for the conviction and
arrests of various officials in Deerfield Beach where Deetjen once
served as Village Manager. According to Stevens, arrests and
convictions were the result of his “investigative work”.
The Oak Lawn Leaf’s investigation has revealed that in addition to the
possible felony being reviewed by the State’s Attorney, Deetjen and
Section 1-15-7-8 of the ordinance makes it clear that the “contract
payments” were made in violation of the act. Section 1-15-7-8 states:
“Interest in Village Business (a) no Village official or employee shall
have a financial interest in his or her own name or in the name of any
other person in any contract, work or business of the Village, or in the
sale of any article, whenever the expense, price or consideration of the
contract, work, business or sale is paid with funds belonging to or
administered by the Village, or is authorized by ordinance; …”.
The first payment to Bring It Inc was made only one week after the
board unanimously adopted the Conflicts of Interest ordinance which
was touted as a way to end insider deals and contracts.
The combination of the felony statute and the Conflict of Interest
Ordinance adopted by the village cause a potential major legal problem
for Deetjen and Radice. In addition to the language in the ordinance
prohibiting an interest in village business, the ordinance also provides
that Village Officials and employees owe “a fiduciary duty to the
village”. That language is found in 1-15-7-2 of the ordinance.
The fiduciary language is commonly used to find that public officials and
employees have committed crimes when engaging in legally
questionable acts. According to the Oak Lawn Leaf’s legal sources, it
will be used in the review by the State’s Attorney or the United States
Attorney’s Office. Both Deetjen and Radice are subject to the Conflicts
of Interest Ordinance.
Bring It Inc is not an economic development consulting company.
According to Heilmann, Bring It Inc is a one person company with a
location at Radice’s former home address. It was formed to sell a
sports game where circles are placed on the ground as markers to take
Radice is a part-time village employee who works in the Department of
Community Development and Growth Management's Property
Maintenance, Health and Environmental Services Division. In Oak Lawn
a part-time employee is expected to work less than 1000 hours and is
therefore not part of the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund. Payment
through a contract to an employee appears to be a designed way to
keep the employee from receiving IMRF pension credits.
Deetjen had eliminated the position of Economic Development Director
and terminated Chad Weiler in what critics claimed was in retaliation for
Weiler supporting former Mayor David Heilmann and his Village Clerk
candidate, Missy Moran in the April election.
At the January 14th board meeting, the Village Board approved two
additional payments, in the amounts of $6,573 and $1,848 to Bring It
Inc despite the issues raised by Streit, Heilmann, and Stevens and the
ongoing investigation. The vote was 4-1 with Streit voting "no". Carol
Quinlan was not at the meeting.
To see the Heilmann Letter, Click Here
To See the Complaint to the Cook County State’s Attorney, Click Here
To see the response to the complaint, click Here
To see the Conflict of Interest Ordinance, click here.
To view the Checks to Bring It Inc, click Here
To view the invoices approved by Deetjen, click here
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Comments: Only these morons could pass an ethics ordinance out of
pure political retribution aimed at 1 person then violate it in less than a
month. They are such stupid sick people.
Name: Wish List
Comment: Fat chance of Bury and Phelan going back yet again to 26th
& California to demand Oak Lawn officials be indicted.
Name: J. John Zurek
comment: The very sad commentary is that usually where there is
smoke, there usually is a fire. Apparently they should design some kind
of civics test or something, that candidates need to take and pass to be
eligible for public office. Apparently Mayor Bury might be an excellent in
her profession as far as optical devices are concerned, but apparently
she does not have a clue, and it is obvious just by the way she
responds to questions that are posed to her regarding some type of
collusion and/or corruption in the village of Oak Lawn. Dollars to
Donut's says if the US ATTORNEY or the STATES ATTORNEY OF
COOK COUNTY talk about an indictment she will sing like a canary, on
exactly who is pulling her strings, because I would hate to think anyone
as educated as she supposedly is, can be that irresponsible as she
appears to be.
January 15, 2014
The Cook County State’s Attorney has sent
a letter to Timothy “Chaz” Stevens, a
Deerfield Beech blogger confirming receipt
of and promising to review his felony
complaint against the Village of Oak Lawn,
Oak Lawn employee Steve Radice and his
controversial company, Bring It Inc. for
payments made to the company by Village
Manager Larry Deetjen without a vote by the
Board of Trustees and in violation of the
Village’s Conflict of Interest Ordinance and
Improper Influence Ordinance.