Trustee Tim Desmond (District 1) appears to be the common link in two conspiracies brought independently to the Leaf by Oak Lawn residents.
In the days following the April 7th election, rumors swirled that residents of the 9301, 9317, and 9333 Harlem Avenue apartment buildings had been approached with an enticing offer. The offer entailed a free month of rent if they voted for Tim Desmond. The residents were unwilling to go on the record in this matter; the rumors were largely ignored.
On April 28th, three weeks after Desmond secured a narrow 165-vote victory in an election with very low turnout (less than 15%), the Board of Trustees voted on a variance for those properties, allowing the buildings to be rebuilt “as-is” in the event that they are more than 50% damaged. The petition was brought to the Village by a group interested in purchasing the properties. Desmond made the motion to approve this variance.
Now some cynical residents wonder what should happen if a catastrophe was soon to strike these buildings. Perhaps a catastrophe like the fire that struck a Chicago Ridge apartment complex in January, displacing 15 people from their homes.
The properties, as they currently exist, do not conform to Village code. Among the violations is a lack of firefighting sprinklers. Under normal circumstances, should the properties be significantly damaged by fire, the Village would not allow the buildings to be repaired without bringing them up to code. With this variance, the properties could be rebuilt to the same unsafe plans as they were.
These properties have had a notorious past. Some have called the former owner of the property a “slumlord.”
Once burned, twice shy? Maybe not, in Oak Lawn.
On May 12th, Desmond was sworn in for his 2nd term as Trustee of District 1. At that same meeting, he used his “New Business” speech to pimp the job opportunities available through Superior Ambulance.
Superior is the parent company of Norcomm, the company that the Village outsourced its Emergency Communication Center operations to. Desmond has been a vocal supporter of Norcomm, going so far as to deny that dispatching services were outsourced at all.
Now some property owners in Oak Lawn have been approached by Superior Ambulance. It appears that the company is looking for a sizable property. Property owners have been left with the impression that Superior wishes to setup a base of operations for their ambulance service in Oak Lawn.
Rumors have surrounded Superior ever since the Norcomm deal. The main crux of the rumors is that this Village administration and Superior have a long-term plan to outsource more Village services. After 911 Dispatching, next would be ambulance billing, then eventually all Emergency Medical Services (ambulance).
Will Tim Desmond find himself at the front of this battle, too?