A last minute mailer from candidate Paul Mallo attacking Oak Lawn’s Independent Trustee, Robert Streit, recycled the same language that was used by Streit’s unsuccessful opponent in 2015 raising questions about Mallo’s denial of alliances with Trustee Tom Phelan.
Mallo, against the advice of the Oak Lawn Independent Newspaper’s Endorsement of Streit, decided to go low in the waning hours of the campaign with deceptive and false claims. On Sunday, Streit told the Oak Lawn Leaf that he was disappointed in Mallo.
“Mr. Mallo started this campaign by promising to be positive and claiming that he didn’t have anything against me but he’s ending it by slopping in the mud with his campaign manager Tom Phelan using deception, distortions and dirty tricks”, said Streit. Unfortunately for Mallo, he used the same discredited “no” piece that Phelan’s 2015 candidate used against Streit.
Tax levies determine property taxes but Mallo’s piece falsely claimed that votes against unbalanced budgets by Streit were votes against tax relief. “It’s obvious that Mallo is Phelan’s and Bury’s candidate even though he denied that fact at one time,” said Streit. He added, “Phelan is a virus and now he’s trying to take over the whole village board, the library board and our school districts with his candidates.”
Mallo even claimed that he would be “A REAL Independent” although he has been fully funded by Bury and Phelan’s political operation. “Paul seems confused about whether he wants to be an independent who works for the people or an independent in name only who owes his allegiance to Phelan,” said Streit. Mallo, who now incredibly claims to be more independent the Streit, previously stated that he wants to work with Mayor Bury, the Village Manager, and the board rather than continuing to fight for third district residents as Streit has during his tenure. “I’m on the side of the people and Paul obviously wants to align with the board against our district’s best interests whether its fighting ridiculous developments, preventing crime or speaking out against the gas tax and other taxes,” said Streit.
Mallo used another Phelan falsehood in the literature, deceptively implying that Streit was serving as a Trustee for a larger pension. “The pension for a Trustees was about $10 a month for every year of service and the pension has been terminated”, noted Streit, who provided a letter from the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund to prove his argument that the pension was terminated.
The Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund issued the letter to Streit, after the Village of Oak Lawn stopped making payments into the pension system for Trustees and stopped accepting Streit’s matching payments through payroll deduction. The village’s finance office has confirmed that pension contributions are no longer being made by Streit or the Village on behalf of Streit.
Streit said that the striking similarity between the Mallo literature and that of his last opponent, Scott Hollis, connects the dots for everyone to see. “At least Scott Hollis ran a campaign in which he didn’t pretend he was an independent. He stood up and told everyone that Tom Phelan was running the campaign and Mayor Bury was supplying the campaign funds but Paul Mallo is trying to take the support of Phelan and Bury and somehow believes the people will believe he is a real independent,” said Streit.
Streit said that Mallo’s literature is strikingly similar to that of Hollis but he didn’t notice it until a supporter came into the 3rd District Constituent Office holding both pieces and telling him she was upset that Mallo was lying.
A review of the two pieces of literature side by side does show both Mallo and Hollis using the same printer, the same writing style and most importantly, the same language in the pieces. Hollis claimed Streit opposed fellow board members by voting “no” on a list of items. At the bottom of the page, he claimed that “It doesn’t take a lot of courage or intelligence to say “No” all the time. Streit disagrees noting that most people don’t have the stomach to fight for principles on issues such as Bury’s firing of 100 unionized emergency 9-1-1 dispatchers or the village’s failure to properly fund police and fire pensions.
This past week, Village Manager Larry Deetjen and Mayor Sandra Bury had to grudgingly admit that Streit’s insistence on increasing police patrols with detectives had crushed a burglary ring. The entire board had ridiculed the idea a couple of years earlier. “I fought for that despite the fact the entire board, Mayor and Manager were in opposition because it was the right thing to do,” said Streit.
Mallo cited only five “no” votes although one example was for multiple unbalanced budgets that failed to properly fund the pensions for union employees and another was for a monument in which federal anti-crime funds were being misused to pay for the project.
Streit lamented the fact that Mallo had decided to “go Phelan negative” with half truths, deception and silliness. Streit said he had just last week told another news reporter that he was proud of his campaign and Mallo’s for being civil and honest. “I guess that’s over with the misinformation he just threw out there,” said Streit.
Streit said that he is amazed that candidates, like Mallo, think voters will be stupid enough to believe that they are independent of the Mayor and Phelan. “You can be a Bury or Phelan lackey but you should at least admit it and not try to claim that you are a ‘real independent’, remarked Streit.
The election is tomorrow and polls are open from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. “It’s unfortunate that there isn’t sufficient time to set the record straight but the people of the third district know that my record speaks for itself,” stated Streit.
Neither Mallo or Tom Phelan could be reached for comment due to the fact the literature was mailed at the last minute.