Despite a felony criminal record, one of Mayor Sandra Bury’s appointees has been on the attack through social media, calling one Trustee and a former Mayor names implying and sometimes outwardly accusing the two of criminal actions.
William Vail, an appointee of Mayor Sandra Bury, has a criminal record from an arrest in 1992. Vail has become active as one of Mayor Bury’s staunchest supporters, attacking anyone questioning Bury and even calling longtime Trustee Robert Streit “an extortionist”.
Vail also recently defended the fact that Village Manager Larry Deetjen gave himself raises totaling $25,000 without board approval. Vail argued that the problem was not Deetjen, but instead the fact that Streit is on the board. He also made comments that at least two attorneys called “per se libelous” referring to Streit “shaking down businesses”. Streit said that sometimes people forget that we all live in this community and reckless words like Vail’s should not be acceptable even if politically motivated.
Streit said he had not been aware of the comments and called Vail’s comments “politically dishonest chatter from a disturbed individual”. When told about Vail’s felony record and his guilty plea in criminal court, Streit said he didn’t think that Vail should be representing the village as an appointee. “He is a perfect reflection on the Mayor’s bad judgment”, said Streit.
When asked if he found it ironic that someone with a criminal record was essentially accusing him of being a crook by comparing him to John Gotti while applauding “his corruption”, Streit responded, “considering the source, I doubt many people put any credence in what Mr. Vail thinks, writes, or verbalizes”. Vail also attacked former Mayor Dave Heilmann claiming that there were many federal probes during his tenure. In response to questions from others, Vail turned his attack on them claiming that he wasn’t slandering anyone and that what he was writing were “basic facts”. During his many posts he even managed to misspell “Trustees” as “Trusties” when referring to the village board members.
When pushed to defend his statements, he was only able to point to “no bid contracts”, colorful stop signs posted by Heilmann and the television show “Speeders” that featured the former Mayor. He did not object to any of the no bid contracts awarded by the current administration. At least one other poster on the social media sites noted that Vail’s attacks seemed to mirror Bury’s campaign literature in 2013 when she defeated Heilmann in a vicious campaign.
According to public court records filed by Vail in Court last year, he was charged with burglary, a class 2 felony after an arrest in the Village of Wilmette. Vail was only 19 years old at the time, and was able to enter into a “plea agreement” with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office whereby he admitted his guilt on a lesser charge of theft in exchange for the prosecutor agreeing to drop the felony charge. Vail is now 42 years old.
According to Vail, the Cook County Circuit Court inaccurately recorded the conviction as a felony. He claimed in court filings, that he only discovered the “mistake” when he was denied employment with his employer for a job at Stroger Hospital because “his criminal history included a felony”. Vail admits that he entered a guilty plea for the theft charge.
Vail filed a lawsuit in 2015 demanding that the record be changed to reflect the theft conviction rather than the more serious burglary conviction. According to public records, Vail’s case is still pending with the State’s Attorney representing the Circuit Court Clerk and filing affirmative defenses. If the affirmative defenses are successful, Vail could lose the case. In addition to claiming the Clerk of the Court recorded his conviction for the wrong crime, he is seeking over $75,000 from the taxpayers of Cook County.
Despite the criminal background in which he admitted in a plea deal to committing a theft after being arrested for the burglary, Vail was appointed by Mayor Sandra Bury to the Oak Lawn Arts Commission in 2015. Neither Bury or Vail ever reported the conviction to the Village Board.
Vail is just one of several Mayoral appointees who vigorously defend the Village Manager and Mayor Bury on social media sites.