Who gave what to whom?
The campaigns are over but only now are the campaign disclosure reports being reviewed by the Illinois State Board of Elections after candidates began “complying” with state law.
In Oak Lawn, Trustee Robert Streit filed an 11 page report detailing $101,304.44 in expenditures which primarily consisted of mailings, printing and signs. Over $100,000 of the expenditures were itemized.
So, where did Streit get the money?
Most of it came from the candidate himself in the form of $74,911.50 in loans. Streit, the managing member of Illinois Energy Aggregation LLC and the President of Sealtite Roofing, also raised another $17,480 in contributions from other individuals and companies.
His largest contributors, outside of his own loans to the committee, were two attorneys, John Toscas and Russ Miller. Neither one has a contract with the Village of Oak Lawn.
Streit also received $300 from the political committee of newly elected Township Assessor Shawn Murphy and $500 from Stickney Township Supervisor Lou Viverito’s political account. Neither Murphy or Viverito has a contract with the village.
Adler Roofing, which employs Streit’s brother as a salesman, gave $500. That company has previously done work for various governmental units but does not have a contract with the village. Similarly, Alsterda Construction gave $500 and it formerly did work for the village that was competitively bid.
Other notable donations came from former Mayor Dave Heilmann who gave $250 and current Hickory Hills Alderman Tom McAvoy who donated $450.
Streit’s opponent, Mayor Sandra Bury, is harder to track because she used multiple political committees to fund her successful reelection. One of the committees, Sandra Bury for Mayor of Oak Lawn, filed a ten page report on April 15 and then added a page two days later to include a contribution from herself for $3,300.
Bury’s first committee reported receiving $11,898.93 in contributions and spending $27,046.43 from that committee. Most of those expenditures were for printing, mailing and feeding the campaign staff.
The contributions included $1001 from Vipul Patel, from Burr Ridge who gave his employer as “self employed”. Yemenis Investments LLC from Addison also donated $1000. In fact the only Oak Lawn person listed was failed former Trustee candidate Dan Johnson who gave $250.
Bury’s first committee received $2,500 from Citizens for Mike Hastings, a State Senator from Orland, $500 from Dan Lipinski for Congress, a federal election committee. IUOE Local 399 Political Education Fund also donated $2,500. The most clandestine donation came from an unregistered committee called “Suburban Political Action Committee”, which donated $2,500. That committee, which Bury said is located in Marion Illinois, which is not a suburb, did not file any report because it didn’t raise $3,000.
Bury transferred $5,000 of her political funds to another committee, Keeping Oak Lawn First, which is operated by her allies out of the home of Tom Phelan, who was re-elected to his third term as Trustee. That committee, which featured Bury and her candidates, raised $42,125 and spent $26,053.73.
Some of the notable contributions included $800 from Hamilton Partners, which made millions from the development at 111th and Cicero, $500 from Village Prosecutor Kevin Cunningham, and $500 from Fanning Communication, which has a contract to produce Oak Lawn Matters, the village’s newspaper.
As detailed previously in the Oak Lawn Leaf, two south suburban politicians used their political funds to donate $2,500 each after receiving the same amount from State Senator Michael Hastings, who likewise received donations from Village Attorney Paul O’Grady. None of those transactions are illegal but the movement of the contributions provided secrecy and deniability for all the parties.
Chicago District Laborer’s Council donated $2,500 even though the incumbents had a terrible record of fighting against union interests. The Chicago Building Trades Council added another $500 to the pot despite the poor labor record. Local Teamsters 731 also donated $500.
Video gaming has prospered under Bury and one company that has also prospered is Gold Rush Gaming, which operates many of the terminals in video gaming establishments throughout the State of Illinois. The company donated $500. Cwiklinski Real Estate, operated by Joe Cwiklinski, an appointee of Bury has come under fire for appearing before commissions on behalf of clients seeking zoning changes. The Village Attorney prevented the last representation on the day the Oak Lawn Leaf wrote the story about the alleged ethics violations. Henry Para, the builder in the stories, also gave $200.
Midway Inn and Suites, a motel on Cicero Avenue donated $1000. Oak Lawn Merrimac Partners, the development for the new Buena Beef at 95th and Merrimac gave $1,500 which didn’t show up on the quarterly filing and was filed separately. development of the restaurant on 95th Street that began construction days ago. Metro Motors at 7836 Ogden in Lyons also donated $1,000 in a supplemental filing.
The third committee used by Bury was called “People who Love Oak Lawn PAC”. That political action committee raised $16,855 and spent $18,425 according to the quarterly report, which included controversial donations from one company linked to Chicago mobsters for $1,000.
The largest contribution came from Frank Mancari in the form of $10,000. His advertising team donated another $10,200 to Bury in the Mayor Bury committee. Other contributions included $500 from Montana & Welch, a law firm that represents the village in tax increment finance districts. The company Superior Ambulance gave $1,000. That company is the owned by Norcomm Public Safety Communications, which enjoys another no bid contract for 911 dispatch services in the village.
Jerry Hurckes works for Dan Lipinski and is a federal employee. However, the former Village Trustee donated $500 to the campaign through a company called Hurk Communication that operates out of his home. The State of Illinois does not have any company listed with the Secretary of State called Hurk Communication.
Hurckes was once accused in a story by then Channel 5 reporter Carol Marin of illegally registering voters to a bar called Bohicas. Hurckes was never charged with any crime.