Two-Fer Tuesday: Fireworks and Pickwick


Got A “Taste” For Fireworks?   A recent article in the Park Ridge Herald-Advocate reported that Park Ridge-based, the sponsor of Park Ridge’s Fourth of July fireworks show the past two years, is balking at re-upping this year (“Park Ridge Recreation and Park District: Sponsor’s support for July 3 fireworks display fizzles out,” April 12).  

The reason, according to Americaneagle’s owner and Park Ridge resident Tony Svanascini: while his company has been donating $18,000/year for the fireworks, the City continues to give away approx. $20,000/year in City services (police, fire & public works) to Taste of Park Ridge NFP (“Taste Inc.”), the private corporation that was organized in June 2005 to glom onto the City’s signature even, Taste of Park Ridge event (“TOPR”) – which former mayor Howard Frimark and a compliant City Council handed over on a no-bid, no contract, no accountability basis back in May 2005, and has kept on handing over ever since. 

For those who missed our previous posts on this topic, Taste Inc. has claimed to be a not-for-profit corporation since its creation, although that claim has become increasingly questionable in light of Taste Inc. apparently never having filed the IRS Form 990 tax returns (required of not-for-profits with gross revenues over $25,000) for 2005, 2006, 2007 or 2008 before it mysteriously dissolved in February 2009, only to be just as mysteriously re-incorporated as a 501(c)(6) corporation that, unlike its purported 501(c)(3) predecessor, can use its assets for lobbying and political contributions. 

The new Taste Inc. did file an IRS Form 990-EZ (for 2009) on March 12, 2010, however, which showed it ending its first official year of operations with $65,221 of net assets.  So far, however, shows no 2010 return on file for Taste Inc.

Svanascini, who was first solicited for the fireworks contribution back in 2009 by then-mayor Howard Frimark and then-Park Board commissioner Dick Barton when the event was going to be cancelled for lack of funding by the Park District, says that Americaneagle would be willing to re-up its donation if Taste Inc. were to reimburse the City for its Taste of Park Ridge expenses.

Not surprisingly, Taste Inc. has remained silent on that point.  Meanwhile, TOPR committee member (and newly-elected Park Board commissioner) Mel Thillens reports that the Park Ridge Indian Scouts (whose Federation Chief, Jim Bruno, formerly was Taste Inc.’s treasurer) plan to sell $20 raffle tickets for prizes solicited by the Chamber of Commerce in order to raise funds for the fireworks.  And the Park District reportedly is “in talks” with two potential fireworks sponsors.

Good for them.

But that sure seems like a lot of effort just to enable Taste Inc. to remain in control of TOPR and on the taxpayers’ dole, especially when paying for City services and opening its books to confirm its non-profit status all these years would seem to be the far easier and honest thing to do.  

Pickwick A “Dinosaur”?  Both local newspapers recently reported on the Pickwick Theater’s plans for $1.5 million in renovations/improvements to both the exterior and interior of that historic building, which will be funded in part by tax breaks and state grants related to its historical designation.

While we question the wisdom of the State of Illinois funding anything but the most essential services, given the woeful condition of Illinois finances, we nevertheless applaud the Pickwick’s owners for putting up what we understand will be the lion’s share of the costs of this project.  The Pickwick building is perhaps Park Ridge’s most iconic structure, and its owners deserve credit for their vision and tenacity in making it a success during a period when the theater industry’s business declined.

They also deserve credit for resisting an ill-advised attempt back in 2004 by certain members of the City Council – led by then-Alds. Don Crampton (1st), Mark Anderson (5th) and Rex Parker (6th) – to have the City acquire that structure and turn its management over to a group known as the Pickwick Theater Council, which would have taken it off the property tax rolls and made the City responsible for its operating costs. 

At that time, Pickwick Theater Council president Catherine Kenney, in arguing for the City’s takeover, claimed: “A theater offering discount priced movies is a dinosaur.”

Seven years later, this particular “dinosaur” appears far from extinct…which is more than can be said for its Council critics and the now-defunct Pickwick Theater Council.

To read or post comments, click on title.

35 comments so far

You’re not being fair. The Pickwick Theater was very poorly maintained and those who were among the first to recognize the irreplaceable value of the architecture were afraid the movie house operator-owner would allow further deterioration. Today, concern for Park Ridge’s artistic heritage has reached critical mass, so the Pickwick’s owner feels it’s now good business to take care of his property. But the awareness of Park Ridge as an historically significant artists’ colony was largely jump-started years ago by Ald. Rex Parker, himself an exceptional artist who has donated much to Park Ridge’s non-profits and civic events. The whole Kalo/Ianelli/etc. thang owes Parker for bringing this part of our heritage to light in the face of nonstop scoffing. The aldermen you revile are not extinct. They’re just letting the rest of the City carry the ball for awhile.

EDITOR’S NOTE: “The aldermen [we] revile”? No, just the aldermen who tried to do a really stupid thing and, thankfully, failed. And just the aldermen who walked away from City Hall after four relatively undistinguished years in office, other than comprising 4/7 of the majority of aldermen that voted us out of SOC; chasing former mayor Ron Wietecha off to Barrington; and providing the fodder for former-mayor Howard Frimark’s successful cut-the-Council referendum.

And if what you say about Parker is true, then he has built a legacy separate and apart from his undistinguished aldermanic term; and good for him!

Mr Svanascini:

I have never met you and we are always out of town on the 4th so I have not seen the fireworks show. I have heard from neighbors that they last two years have been very good shows! My general opinion has been that your donation(s) are fantastic. For a man who is doing well to give back to the community is a great thing!! I have to say that your recent decision has me scratching my head. Years ago you said the following bout your donation.

“We also believe in the importance of the 4th of July as a holiday that should be celebrated and enjoyed by all Park Ridge residents. To the extent we can contribute to that celebration by donating the fireworks, we are happy to do so”. I guess we need to add…..”as long as my conditions are met!!!!!”

While I remain greatful for your “gift” the last two years, I am left with a question. What has changed??? It is your money and you can do with it as you see fit, but these issues that you now find worthy of pulling your donation have existed for years. I am not saying that that makes it right, but PW and police/fire etc, where provided for TOPR on both years you provided the fireworks without any money paid by TOPR. You had no problem with providing (and taking deserved credit for) the fireworks show both of these years – now it is an issue??? You have the money and you would be happy to provide the fireworks if…….hmmmm is this a gift or a bribe?? Is there a ransom note??

This issue was discussed way back in 2008 (8/29/2008) and a poster named Milton said the following….”It goes without saying that I’m appreciative of the generous offer from Americaneagle, Inc. But, I can’t help wondering what their hidden agenda is. Nobody provides a service to the community without expecting something in return”. Well Milton, you have your answer!!

Anon @ 11:02, thank you for your e-mail. The situation is simple: when the city and park district first came to me, it was because they said they didn’t have the budget for the fireworks. I believed them, and I helped them. Since then, I have learned that the Taste of Park Ridge is a private organization (I always thought it was a city-run event) that doesn’t even pay for the city’s police, fire and public works expenses.

Coincindentally, the amount that they get in free services is around the same as the fireworks donation my company makes. I cannot honestly look at myself in the mirror and not see “chump” written across my forehead if I allow something like that to continue. So I told the city in very simple terms that if TOPR simply reimburses the city for the approximately $20,000 in services, I will be happy to donate the fireworks.

I wouldn’t call that a ‘hidden agenda,’ I prefer to call that common sense. At the very least, if you still believe I have an agenda, I can assure you it isn’t ‘hidden’. This is simply about doing the right thing. I will not donate any less money than I did last year to the causes of my choice, I will simply find ones that are more deserving.

I think it is fair to say that you are politically active and are in certain circles here in PR. I am guessing that when the Mayor or the person who runs this blog see you the walk up and shake your hand and ask how are ya doing?? They would not know me from Adam!! So when you say “Since then, I have learned that the Taste of Park Ridge is a private organization (I always thought it was a city-run event) that doesn’t even pay for the city’s police, fire and public works expenses”, you will forgive me if I am skeptical. I mean you obviously read this blog and they have been hitting this one hard for the last two years. So last year when you decided to donate you had no idea about this issue????

Ah hell, ya know what? It is none of my damn business. I should not even be harping on it. Thanks again for your donation and I will not comment further.

“I would be willing to guess that the vast majority of residents assume that the Taste is run by the city. I was surprised to learn a few years ago that it was done by a private group of people. While I do not see anything wrong with that, there should definitely be transparency with all revenues and expenses as it seems completely ridiculous for the city to be leaving a lot of potential dollars on the table, let alone the expenses that this event creates for the city ($23,000).

“The problem with most of the posts is that they are driven by people’s obvious jealousy of seeing other people make money on something. I have no problems with Taste making money on this event, but to do so at the expense of the taxpayers is simply bad business as well as unethical.

“As far as getting someone else to run the event, I have absolutely no doubt that several charities would be happy to do so, such as Misericordia, Lions Club, local churches, or any other well-known and respected charities. They are all hurting for money and would jump at the chance… They run events on a regular basis that are much bigger than Taste of Park Ridge… and they’d be happy to pay $25k to make $100k…”

By Tony Svanascini on 11.30.09 12:15 pm

You blogged that here a year and a half ago even before you decided to donate the fireworks. You say you learned about the private group and the city costs a few years ago. You knew the situation years ahead and made your donations despite knowing. What changed?

why is everyone busting the eagle’s hump and no one is questioning, as PubDog has for ages, why Taste isn’t required to pay back its use of City resources? Since TOPR is avidly Republican I’d think they’d feel obliged not to bilk their fellow taxpayers. After all, we either have to cut needed expenses (or at least desirable expenses) to cover TOPR’s costs. I’ll bet Center of Concern or Meals on Wheels could do a lot of good with $20,000. And if you don’t care about them because you’re relatively young, healthy and affluent, how about using the $20,000 to get a few trees trimmed around town?

Taste is a wonderful, fun event. But it’s making enough money on the beer tent to cover repaying the taxpayers. Repeat after me: “The City” is not some evil gub-mint entity; since this is America, “The City” is your neighbors who pay taxes.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We don’t understand the “TOPR is avidly Republican” comment, as we’ve seen public officials of both political stripes mismanage City government and “bilk their fellow taxpayers.”

If Taste Inc was a not-for-profit, it should have filed the Form 990 since 2005. If it didn’t file those Form 990s, then either it is a tax scofflaw or it filed some other form of return and wasn’t really a not-for-profit. So which is it, tax cheats or liars?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Good questions.

6:31 and 6:17am:

The issues you have brought up have been discussed here ad nauseum. As is often the case in lovely PR, many fingers have been pointed (by both sides) but few minds have been changed. The good news for you is that we all know that the relationship between PR and TOPR is about to change. The votes are there (including the Mayor) and chnages will take place. Will TOPR give more information?? Will they agree to pay? Will someone else take over and pay?? Will all these claims on both sides be true of fales?? Who the hell knows but it will all come out.

But all of the above does not detract from the very polite question asked of Mr. Svanascini by me and another blogger. When this whole thing broke I seemed odd to me and it became “odder” when he replied on this site yesterday. Another blogger posted his words from 2009. This claim that he became aware of this and felt like a chump seems to be contradicted by his own words. He was clearly aware of TOPR as a private company prior to his first generous donation. He is under no obligation to answer but asking the question (no accusations were made) does not qualify as “busting his hump.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you find the ongoing discussion of this matter “ad nauseum,” why do you continue to participate?

“The good news for you is that we all know that the relationship between PR and TOPR is about to change. The votes are there (including the Mayor) and chnages will take place.”

Elaborate, please…

Elaborate???? Have you been watching?? This is clearly one of “the issues” for his base. He is on the record as saying the following…..”and I will continue to insist that the Taste organizers should be required to utilize some of their profits to pay the City for services rendered in support of the Taste”.
(PD 7-13-10 8:40AM). The last council did not want to do that. Based on the recent election and change in council the the votes are now there. It will be brought up and some change will be made. The Mayor will not veto it. The timing will be interesting in that TOPR is only 2 monthys away. The new council has a great deal on its plate. How far will the “chest bumping” go? Will there be a cancelation or will the issue be shelved for this year??

EDITOR’S NOTE: What “votes are now there”? What 4 aldermen who will be sitting on the new Council have publicly committed to demanding Taste Inc. pay the City for all the City services it receives; or to demanding that Taste Inc. open its books – including its books from those 1st four years when it did not file IRS Form 990s – to prove that the operators of Taste Inc. didn’t make (and pocket) a bundle; or to demanding that Taste Inc. sign a contract like any other vendor of revenue-generating services?

I cannot provide you with a list of guaranteed yes votes related to this issue. If your point is that I am prejudging when some have not made public comments on this specific issue you are correct, but don’t mistake that for a concession. I believe that the general make up of the council has moved to make a change in TOPR to be very likely. Why don’t we circle this date on the calander and revisit it as this issue comes up as it surely will!! I will have no problem eating a little crow if I am wrong. It will not be the first time.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We didn’t ask for a “list of guaranteed yes votes” but, instead, for an identification of who among Sweeney, DiPietro, Smith, Raspanti, Knight, Bernick and Maloney has made a public statement committing to demanding that Taste Inc.: (a) pays for City services; (b) opens its books; and/or (c) sign a contract. Your non-answer, therefore, is a “concession” that, once again, you can add nothing of value to this discussion.

You asserted in your 4/26 @ 3:25 comment that you “will not comment further,” yet you just keep coming back. From your factually groundless, substantially uninformed comments – incl. yesterday’s 3:25 and today’s 8:10 – however, we must conclude that crow is a staple of your diet.

10:20am …
Ain’t gonna happen for this year’s event. The TOPR folks have already been granted their annual go ahead by the sitting council. The new council won’t step in to throw a wrench in the works.

Now… next year is an entirely different matter. If I were a Tastee I’d start thinking ahead about what lies in store.

Fact 1 – He claims…”The situation is simple: when the city and park district first came to me, it was because they said they didn’t have the budget for the fireworks. I believed them, and I helped them. Since then, I have learned that the Taste of Park Ridge is a private organization (I always thought it was a city-run event) that doesn’t even pay for the city’s police, fire and public works expenses”.

Fact 2 – he posted on your blog in 2009 that he was aware that TOPR is private and does not pay for city services years before his first (let alone his second) donation.

Those are the assertions made in those two posts. How is that factually groundless?? If I am in fact uninformed, then I am uninformed by Mr. Svanascini as it is only his statements on which I am relying.

EDITOR’S NOTE: You really can’t stay away, can you?

The simple answer as to what Mr. Svanascini knew and when he knew it is to take it up with him. But what’s the significance of whether and when he knew or didn’t know that Taste Inc. might be ripping off the taxpayers – and might not even have been a not-for-profit during the first four years it ran TOPR?

And while you’re at it, you still haven’t identified any public statements by future aldermen about setting Taste Inc. right – not that we expect you to provide any.

I’ll take the second part first – asked and answered. “I believe that the general make up of the council has moved to make a change in TOPR to be very likely”. If lack of specific statments makes you discount my opinion that is fine. We can revisit the issue when it comes before the council as I am sure it will.

As for Part One, I did address it with Mr. Svanascini. He was kind of enough to reply and I responded to his reply as did another poster. He has not yet posted a response. I make a statement thay you feel does not have enough back up and you drill me. He makes a statement that completely contradicts something he is on record as saying any you appear “miffed” that I would ask a question.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Asked twice, not answered.

Mr. Svanascini can defend himself. But, once again, what’s the point of all of your comments – other than they’re being a half-baked slap at Mr. Svanascini’s motives in giving the community $36,000 worth of fireworks but being unwilling to give another $18,000 because Taste Inc. continues to suck $20,000/year out of the City treasury and might have pocketed a whole lot more than that during the first four years it ran TOPR and might have actually been a for-profit corporation?

I really don’t understand why people are criticizing Mr. Svanascini who gave $36,000 of his own money to the city for fireworks.

If you gave an organization a certain amount of money for the past two years and then chose to give it to other organizations this year, do you think that people should be able to criticize your rationale and motives? Or do you think that the organizations to which you donate is your business, and everyone else should stay out of it?

Even if you don’t understand his reason for withdrawing this year, just thank him for his past donations and move on.

For the record: Thank You Mr. Svanascini.

Should the Taste make the City whole on expenses? Yep. But didn’t Mgr Hock total the entire net expenditure for the city at about $5-6000 last year?

What is more interesting here is how this illustrates one reason why these community events should be run by private entities instead of government bodies. A sponsor, no matter how generous, should not try to dictate the allocation of city resources on tangental issues. Having city officials soliciting sponsorships is fraught with peril.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Oh, you mean a “private” entity like Taste Inc.? The private entity that claims to have been a not-for-profit corporation from 2005 through 2008 but didn’t file any Form 990 not-for-profit tax returns and never accounted to the City for any of the money – hundreds of thousands of dollars – it took in during that time? The private entity that has lifted between $30,000 and $120,000 of “free” City services, depending on whose numbers are accurate? That kind of “private” entity?

And as we see it, is not trying to “dictate the allocation of city resources” but, instead, the allocation of “private” entity Taste Inc.’s resources.

Mr. Savanacini hasn’t explained what changed but I agree with the comment he is trying to dictate city actions by withdrawing his sponsorship. He made the statement in the news article that he withdrew because of the city actions he didn’t lilke for another event. He is the one who is linking the two different things. He also said last summer he wanted to do the fireworks again for this year even though he knew about the circumstances on the other event. I posted his blog on that here but it looks like it got lost. If his company is hurting because of the economy and that is what changed, everyone can understand that. If he just changed his mind about making the donation, everyone should understand that too. What is odd is his linking his actions to city actions on something else which strikes me as very wrong. There’s something very wrong about it.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Let’s see now…Mr. Svanascini is conditioning his giving another $18,000 of fireworks on the City demanding (or Taste Inc. offering) payment for the free City services Taste Inc. gets every year. Exactly what is “very wrong” about that?


What is “very wrong?” A society that thinks that it is acceptable to question the decision of the person who freely gave the city $36,000 over the past two years and now decides not to give again. His decision should be his business.

A couple of old sayings occur to me:

1. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.
2. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

These sayings have been around for a long time because they have some wisdom. You might want to learn from them.

Folks, Mr. S. is just at the front end of a movement that is just getting started. If we want private-sector donors to pony up so that we don’t use tax dollars for certain things, we can’t be surprised when such donors want to know what other loopholes We The Peeps should have closed but didn’t. The elected officials (speaking through Hock) can decide that Taste is such a wonderful community event (and with the South Park Carnival long gone, pretty much the only event outside of concerts in the park) that it’s worth taxpayers’ donating $20,000 to Taste. Many residents might agree, in fact; it is hugely popular and for good reason. But that’s a value decision. Not collecting $20K from Taste for its use of City services is the same as dunning the taxpayers for $20,000 more. Now, that’s just a bit over 50 cents per resident (assuming we have 37,000 residents), but let’s remember for about $1.50 a head we can support Meals on Wheels and Center of Concern, and some are freaking out that our City deficit doesn’t allow that expense. We can afford what matters to us as a people. And we say what matters with every budget. But Mr. S. is a private business owner who did a generous thing (or a self-serving public relations thing, depending on your view). He’s a taxpayer here, so donation or not, he has a right to question why the City is not collecting from Taste. You have the same right, too.

EDITOR’S NOTE: You raise some interesting points, although we take issue with two:

Why do the Mayor and City Council have to resort to “speaking through Hock”? We prefer that they speak for themselves.

To your point about the City determining that “donating $20,000 to Taste” is a good deal for the City, we oppose that kind of “donation” for the same reason we oppose “donations” to all those other private community groups. It these are essential City services, then the City should contract for them like it does with any other vendor.

What I think is wrong about it is Mr. Savanacini linking his donation to city action on something he doesn’t agree with. To get something he wants from the city he is saying he will donate money but if he does not get a city action he wants he will not donate money. That is a bribe. What else will Mr. Savanacini try to bribe the city to do once he gets what he wants on this? I think it is wrong for a person to try to bribe the city to do what he wants. The fireworks have been very nice but they are not worth letting a single individual bribe the city to take an action because it is what he wants.

1:50pm… that’s a little over the top, no?

Sit down and relax. Think happy thoughts.


EDITOR’S NOTE: “A little over the top?” How so? Doesn’t every person who tries to “bribe” a public official announce exactly what he’s doing in the newspapers before he does it?

Bribe may be over the top but “Gift” or “giving” no longer apply either.

One definition of give is “to present voluntarily and without expecting compensation.”

This seems more like a business transaction to me. “If you do this I will give you this”. As a citizen of PR he has every right to do this – nothing illegal or immoral about it. Whether it is a good thing or a bad things depends on what side you are on but the transaction had definitely changed.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Once again, why is this about Mr. Svanascini and not about Taste Inc.? Mr. Svanascini’s company gave the community two year’s worth ($36,000?) of fireworks without asking for anything in return. Now he is conditioning his donation of fireworks for 2011 on Taste Inc.’s reimbursing the City for the services it uses to make its annual profit and he’s the one being accused of something akin to bribery? Brilliant!

Let Taste Inc. prove that it really was a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation from 2005 – 2008, and produce its Form 990s. Or let it admit that it lied to the City and the residents of this community, really wasn’t a not-for-profit during those years it claimed to be, and produce it’s corporate tax returns to show what profits it made during those years it was living that lie, and what it did with those profits.

Let’s not forget something here…the cost of the fireworks (roughly 18k – 20k) is being paid for by the Park District, not the City, since Mr. S. is not going to provide his donation this year. Thus, your specious argument that Mr. S. is holding the City hostage or engaging in some type of bribe completely falls apart. The City only provides for the police/fire support and the PR Civic Orchestra at the fireworks show…and this money is primarily made up from donations obtained from the vehicle sticker mailing

And since we are talking about the PR Civic Orchestra, if I decide this year not to put an ad in the summer concert series program because I don’t like how the City is blocking off the street and supplying police presence for free, am I too holding the City hostage?

This whole thing about Mr. S’s donation is a red herring to deflect the focus away from the real issue…what is the Taste doing with all of its proceeds and why aren’t they reimbursing the City for services.

EDITOR’S NOTE: And deflecting attention away from the increasingly distinct possibility that Taste Inc. misrepresented itself as a not-for-profit corporation from 2005-2008 when it wasn’t. Of course, then-mayor Frimark and his Purple-Ribbon neutered Council never demanded any proof of that not-for-profit status, didn’t demand an accounting, didn’t demand a contract, and didn’t demand reimbursement of expenses. And Frimark’s hand-picked Council hasn’t done any better since then.

Will Mayor Schmidt and the new Council finally blow the whistle on Taste Inc.? Will the Taste Inc.-sters get petty, take their “ball” and go home rather than provide transparency of operations? Guess we’ll all have to wait and see.

I think saying this is a bribe attempt is not over the top. The dictionary says a bribe is something, such as money or a favor, offered or given to a person in a position of trust to influence that person’s views or conduct. It does not say it has to be in secret. Mr. Savanacini is offering money to try to influence the city actions. I think what is going on here is wrong. I said before the fireworks have been very nice but they are not worth letting a single individual person try to bribe the city to take an action.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We’ve done a little bit of quick research and we could not find any references to bribing a City or other governmental entity – which is the “bribe” you are talking about – because the City isn’t a “person” and Mr. S. has not offered his “bribe” to any individual “person” but to the City as a public body. But if somebody has to publicly “bribe” the City to do the “right thing” re those maybe-not-so-not-for-profit guys and gals at Taste Inc., that seems like more of an indictment of the City and Taste Inc. than of Mr. S.

Excellent points Editor.

The new council should require asap that the 2011 TOPR contract be contingent upon the posting of their 2010 990 tax return (and past years 2004-08 if that’s possible)

Isn’t there some kind of law that prevents a private corporation from receiving “free” services from the city?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Article VIII, Section 1 (a) of the Illinois Constitution states that: “Public funds, property or credit shall be used only for public purposes.” But there are exceptions where public bodies purchase goods or services from private organizations.

The public body is the city aldermen and mayor who are the persons Mr. Savanacini is attempting to influence by a promise of money on condition of the action they take. I see Mr. Savanacini attempting to get them to take an action he wants and offering money if they do it. That is a bribe according to the definition. I stand by the definition. What is going on here is wrong. The aldermen and the mayor should not take actions because of Mr. Savanacini’s bribe attempt. His right to donate money or take back his donation for fireworks is his right. He does not have any right to influence city actions by offering money with conditions on city actions that have nothing to do with fireworks. Where does it end? What other city actions will Mr. Savanacini demand in exchange for giving money to the city for fireworks? I have said my opinion and I stand by it. What is going on here is very wrong.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Nope, those individuals are not “the City.” Moreover, our review of public corruption law in Illinois and federally indicates that a “government” cannot be bribed. Only individuals – “persons” – can be bribed, and generally only by something of value conferred upon the individual public official in return for the official’s taking of a specific official act. Since Mr. S is not offering anything of value to the individual aldermen or the mayor but to the City itself, there is no “bribe” in the public corruption sense – which in matters such as this is the only sense that matters.

So what is “very wrong” – besides what Taste Inc. has been getting away with all these years – is your opinion. Again.

the only individuals who can pass any ordinance meeting with mr scavageobscenee’s demands are the mayor and alderman. thus, the “city” in the legal sense is that collection of individuals. Thus a bribe has occurred. The states’s attornorys office should be contacted and mr savageobscenee should be reported.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Nope, wrong again. Those individuals are not “the City”; and they personally have to receive the bribe.

But do us all a favor and go down to the State’s Attorney’s office and register your complaint. Don’t bother reporting back on Ms. Alvarez’s response – we should be able to hear the laughter emanating from the 32nd Floor of 69 West Washington.

Tony Svanascini’ own words that can be found on the internet on this very blog.

From previous postings he said.

“Being that my father-in-law manufactures fireworks and puts on fireworks shows all over the country, I figured that we could step up to the plate and offer to donate the fireworks show under the banner. I can assure you that, had I not had the family connection to the fireworks business, there is no way I would have even thought of doing something like that.”

So his donation was conditional upon his father in law receiving the funds to produce the fireworks.

“As for my support of Dave Schmidt’s campaign for mayor, …I made a personal contribution of $4,646 for a fundraiser at Zia’s Trattoria in February 2009.”

Bribe received in advance, perhaps?

“’s relationship with the City of Park Ridge [is] as a vendor of website services… has received close to $50,000 from the city,”

And lo and behold those contracts magically are valued just beneath any need for council action.

Tony S. You got some splaining ta do..otherwise you aint so transparent.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Let’s try it another way, and maybe moving your lips while reading will help you understand it:

You can’t “bribe” a government, only individuals. Hence, both fireworks donations made to the City – not to individual public officials – cannot be “bribes.”

Was Mr. S’s $4,646 campaign contribution to then-Ald. Schmidt’s mayoral campaign a “[b]ribe received in advance”? Bribe for what – so that Schmidt wouldn’t vote to prevent the City from accepting $36,000 of fireworks from Mr. S? Nice try, but the Council didn’t have to vote on accepting the fireworks.

And if your complaint is about $50,000 worth of City contracts over several years, that is all a matter of public record and publicly admitted to by Mr. S. That’s a model of “transparency” the Taste Inc. boys – raking in the hundreds of thousands of dollars at Taste Inc. while sucking another hundred thousand or so out of the City in free services – could learn from, assuming they actually cared about transparency or accountability to the people who have been putting all that money in Taste Inc.’s pockets for the past six years and will do so again this year.

Ironically, it is the same laughter you would get if you went to her with all the “criminal” activity that you seem to think has taken place at TOPR over the years.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We never claimed that the Taste Inc. boys engaged in “criminal” activity, just a lot of secret dealing at the taxpayers’ expense without filing the kind of tax returns that a not-for-profit is supposed to file. But lying to the public about being a not-for-profit isn’t a crime.

I am waiting for the Hitler reference…you idiot.

Hey, you are the lawyer so I will have to take your word for it, but since when is filing imporper tax returns not a crime. If I take huge deductions for operating a business at home and it comes out the there is no such business I have broken the law. I have to assume it is the same with paper pork related to NFP. In all of the allegations you have made against TOPR there is not crime??!?!

EDITOR’S NOTE: You don’t have to be a lawyer to know this stuff – any competent tax accountant or business person should know that if Taste Inc. was a conventional for-profit corporation from 2005 through 2008 and filed the standard corporate tax return, then there was no crime – just an ongoing we’re-a-not-for-profit lie by the guys who run Taste Inc.

To the editor’s note at 3:03, the only one getting petty, taking their “ball” and going home here is Mr. Svanacini. For which, after the backlash last year, I don’t blame him. Who wants to donate time or money and feel unappreciated, much less suspected for illicit activity?

We should all feel very proud of ourselves, myself included. Perhaps if we continue the bickering, groundless suspicion, innuendo, we can motivate more people to stop volunteering for and contributing to the things that make this town such a great place to live.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Stop your insipid simpering. Mr. S is a big boy and can take the sniping from the Taste Inc. boys and their sympathizers, like yourself.

As for your reference to “groundless suspicion [and] innuendo,” we direct you to the relevant and documented facts in our 07/09/10 post “Why Did City Walk Away From Original ‘Taste’ Deal?” – which shows how what was supposed to have been a City committee subject to the Illinois Open Meetings Act and required to account for and return all profits from the event to the City, almost immediately turned into a private corporation answerable to nobody and running TOPR for what appears to be solely Taste Inc.’s benefit.

Although if you want documentation of Taste Inc.’s $1,000 contribution to the campaign fund of former Taste Inc.-ster Bob “the Dude” Dudycz, in September 2007 (which a 501(c)(3) organization – which Taste Inc. claimed it was at that time – is prohibited from making), you’ll need to go to our 08/24/09 post “Time For Taste Inc. To Put Up Or Shut Up.”

Side note: If and when TOPR produces records showing it as a NFP. READ THE DOCUMENTS CAREFULLY. Anyone can make any P & L look like a loss or break even. Of course when you’re paying $30,000 to someone (a close friend perhaps) who is performing a service worth $10,000, who’s to know right?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Taste Inc. already has produced “records showing it as a NFP”: its 2009 IRS Form 990-EZ tax return, which doesn’t show what it paid to any individual vendors. While what you suggest has been known to happen with other NFPs (Google “not-for-profit fraud” – you might start with: ; and .), at this point there is no evidence that Taste Inc. has committed any fraud – although we note once again that it hasn’t produced any tax returns for 2005-2008, and it refuses to identify its vendors and open its books and records to public scrutiny.

when americaneagle (a private entity) opens its books to public scrutiny then TOPR (a private entity) could open its books to public scrutiny.

I think Tony S. would be showing how much of a civic minded, selfless guy he is if he did that. That way he can claim: not as I say but as I do.

EDITOR’S NOTE: has never claimed to be an NFP or received free City services, the two principal beefs we have with Taste Inc.

On the other hand, Taste Inc. as operated by Messrs. Iglow, Galus, Bruno, Patras and Warnimont, and Mses. Svizzero and Tyksinski, has consistently claimed to be an NFP without any evidence of that fact until 2009, has failed to file IRS Form 990s for years 2005-2008, has received as much as $120,000 in free City services, and has never had a written contract with the City.

Is Taste Inc. merely a tax scofflaw for failing to file the required Form 990s for 2005-2008, or has it been perpetrating a fraud on everybody who believed its claim to be an NFP for the first 4 years it ran TOPR?

Why havent Tony S. and the mayor produced an octoberfest yet… There is a campaign promise the mayor has not delivered.


Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


(optional and not displayed)