Public Watchdog.org

Pay-To-Play and “Mayor Liar”

03.30.09

The final mayoral debate last Thursday night, sponsored by the Park Ridge Journal, provided another opportunity to assess the respective positions and philosophies of incumbent Mayor Howard “Let’s Make A Deal” Frimark and his challenger, First Ward Alderman Dave Schmidt, on city government and the issues it faces. 

For those of you who could not attend, resident Charles Melidosian (communications director of the Dave Schmidt mayoral campaign) has posted the debate on YouTube in segments related to each question asked by the moderator, along with opening and closing statements by the candidates.  We strongly encourage you to view those segments, all of which highlight the many differences between Frimark and Schmidt on matters of public policy, on the issues, and on personal style. 

Some of them also suggest that the current mayor may deserve another nickname besides “Let’s Make A Deal” – like Howard “The Liar” Frimark.  Or if that term offends the sensibilities of some of our more gentle readers, perhaps Howard “The Prevaricator” Frimark.  And the question which we believe best illustrates how truth is a stranger to Frimark is the one about taking campaign contributions from those who do business with the city – what’s commonly known here in Illinois as “pay-to-play.”  

Frimark begins with the blanket denial, “I have not taken any money from any business that does business with the city,” which he nevertheless tries to excuse by stating that he doesn’t have a problem with such contributions “as long as I don’t vote on the issue.”  He then launches into his big finish, first claiming that Schmidt “says that I’ve taken two million dollars from Napleton” before going into full Bill Clinton (“I have not had sexual relations with that woman”) mode by staring straight at the audience while insisting: “I haven’t taken one red cent from Mr. Napleton.”

Well, Mayor Liar, we have checked and checked and checked, and we can’t find any evidence whatsoever that Schmidt ever accused you of taking $2 million from Mr. Napleton – or from anybody else, for that matter.  What he has accused you of doing, as have we, is taking a $1,000 contribution from Napleton Cadillac [pdf], an accusation which the State Board of Elections confirms as true by reporting on its website that you received that exact contribution back on November 5, 2004, early on in your first mayoral campaign.  And as Ald. Schmidt and we have repeatedly pointed out, you paid off on that contribution on January 28, 2008, when you cast the tie-breaking vote [pdf] to give that same Napleton Cadillac $400,000 to clean up the soil contamination on its site, and up to an additional $2 million of city sales tax revenues over 15 years.

So much for not voting on things that benefit your campaign contributors, eh Mayor Liar?

Fortunately for Park Ridge taxpayers, that sweetheart deal fell through before any money could be paid when GM/Cadillac pulled Napleton’s franchise.  As reported in the April 14, 2008, edition of the Park Ridge Journal (“Park Ridge: Car Dealership’s $400,000 Incentive Out The Window”), however, that didn’t stop Frimark from trying to get at least the $400,000 of clean-up funds into Napleton’s hands – until the City Attorney said such a payment would be improper. 

And the Journal article goes on to point out that GM/Cadillac usually takes from 6 to 18 months to negotiate a closure with dealers such as Napleton Cadillac, which suggests that Frimark and the City likely were negotiating Napleton’s sweetheart deal at the same time Napleton was negotiating its closure with GM/Cadillac.  Gee, could Mayor Liar have known that Napleton Cadillac was going to be closing all the while he was negotiating that sweetheart deal?  Might Mayor Liar have been trying to make sure Napleton could get the $400,000 to clean up the site so that it could be sold in a “clean” (i.e., more valuable) condition to Park Ridge Corp., LLC (more commonly known as “PRC”, the developers of the Uptown shops and residences), as the Journal article also reports?   

And since we’re talking about pay-to-play, we think it’s appropriate to point out that Park RidgeTaxi just tossed another $500 [pdf] into Frimark’s war chest to go with the $1,000 it contributed last month [pdf].  Now we can watch how Frimark’s alderpuppets on the City Council further stonewall the application of American Taxi for five of the City’s eight unused taxi licenses in order to preserve Park Ridge Taxi’s monopoly on taxi service in Park Ridge.  

Frimark will tell you this isn’t pay-to-play, however, because the current owner of Park Ridge Taxi (Dean Dinev of Oakbrook Terrace) is “a good friend” of his who he’s known for about five years – which would make that before Mr. Dinev acquired Park Ridge Taxi from Lee Carpenter, whose wife contributed $500 to Frimark’s first mayoral campaign [pdf] back in February, 2005, just two days after Frimark voted to preserve Park Ridge Taxi’s monopoly from competition by…wait for it…American Taxi.

Pay-to-play in Park Ridge city government?  How about it, Mayor Liar?  

14 comments so far

Mayor Liar does indeed take money from businesses that do business with the City.

Park Ridge Taxi does business with the City in the form of providing subsidized rides for Seniors, which are reimbursed by the City. This is one of the points raised as to why Park Ridge Taxi’s monopoly should be maintained.

Mayor Liar has also taken at least one contribution I know of from the City’s refuse vendor…ARC Disposal.

Went to check and make sure…

Sure enough…

ARC Disposal
2101 S. Busse Road
Mt. Prospect, IL 60056

$225.00

8/24/2005 Individual Contribution

Friends for Frimark for Mayor

It is a more modest amount than others, but we know what Howard is…the only question is “how much?”

Interesting timing…4 months AFTER his election as Mayor…and some months before ARC had to re-bid their contract with the City… 

 

I just cannot get past how people can still support Howard knowing all of this. I do not understand it.

I’ve had this exact conversation with many people around town who want to support Howard simply because Howard was “with them” on one singular issue that drew the attention of the town for eight months.

Never mind this kind of stuff that was taking place, or that my basement was (and is) still taking water, or that more planes were flying overheard, or gamblers were massing on our border, on any of the other situations where Howard simply missed the boat (knowlingly or not).

One issue distracted people from the real challenges our town is facing, and apparently Howard is hoping that is enough.

The core problem is that Howard Frimark is not a leader.

And a leader is what this town needs, now more than ever.

KS

KS,

The people who know all of this don’t support Howard.

The people who do support Howard are either disinterested, dis-informed, dishonest, or dysfunctional.

Schmidt talked in that debate about there being a rule in Park Ridge that companies that do business with the City (City of Park Ridge, not Chicago, Mr. Mayor…), cannot make donations to political campaigns. Can anyone direct me to that information? I looked in the Municipal Code and cannot find it. There is someone who is interested in seeing it.

Not sure, but I think this is referring to the State of Illinois’ Gift Ban Act and the City of Park Ridge’s Article 2, Chapter 5, Ethics Provisions (http://www.parkridge.us/assets/art02.pdf).

For entertaining reading, check out minutes of this March 19th, 2007 meeting when this topic was discussed:
https://www.parkridge.us/assets/CouncilMinutesMarch192007final.pdf

Start around the middle of page 8 and enjoy the ride…

In that document, it states that there is to be an “Ethics Officer” in Park Ridge. Anybody know who that is?

Jeez Louise, this is turning into Crook County and Daley-ville.

I remember Marty Butler, Ron Wietecha and Mike Marous, and even though I didn’t always agree with them I never got the sense that they were sleazy. With Frimark, it’s like everything going on is sleazy.

Thanks for the links to the debate. I hope everybody watches all of them before they vote.

Yikes,

According to the minutes:

“Ms. Bach inquired if there was an ethics officer in Park Ridge and Mayor Frimark
responded there was none.”….you couldn’t find a better source than HOward on the topic of ethics (best read with an extreme sarchastic tone).

AG is watching!

Sounds like Mayor Liar is throwing mud at Alderman Dave. How low can he go? Is he getting desperate, or is he just being his sleazy old self?

If this is multiple choice, my answer is “C, all of the above”.

The Best Revenge for Dave Schmidt is V-I-C-T-O-R-Y



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