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Proviso Probe

Monday, April 02, 2007

ETHICS, is Bill Dwyer's column defamatory to Mayor Anthony Calderone? [FP]

Last Thursday, Forest Park Mayor Anthony Calderone told me he has contacted a lawyer about suing the Forest Park Review and Bill Dwyer for defamation based on Dwyer's column last week.

I read Dwyer's column and made a list of the assertions it makes.

1.FBI is investigating FPPD cop for brutality.
2.Calderone protected said cop from investigation requested by a commissioner (presumably Patrick Doolin).
3.FPPD has pressured cops who raised questions about brutality.
4.“Village officials” have pressured people to “keep quiet”.
5.There were more cops working for the Melrose Park security company under investigation than previously revealed.
6.Calderone (or the village administrator) ordered Chief Jim Ryan to “work with” Vito Scavo, the head of the security company under federal investigation.
7.Calderone raises money from bars and liquor stores.
8.Anthony Bruno made $100,000 on Forest Park water project.
9.The Forest Park water project was discontinued after it became known the FBI was investigating the Melrose Park water project. Money was spent to begin the project but it wasn't completed.
10.Theresa Steinbach blocked Forest Park from paying $3,600 to Bruno by asking for details of what services Bruno rendered.
11.Illinois Alarm, Calderone's company is paid by the Village of Melrose Park.

Which of these claims are false?

Points 1 & 5 don't directly connect to Calderone that strongly. Dwyer could be factually wrong, but it's not clear that it harms Calderone.

Much of this is just restating allegations made during the hearing to fire Sgt. Dan Harder.

Harder based much of his defense on the claim that Chief Jim Ryan singled out Harder for discipline for minor infractions while protecting other officers from more serious allegations, especially police brutality. Points 2-4 seem to be restating allegations Harder already made.

Point 7 is obviously true.

Point 8-11 are presumably public record.

Point 6 is probably the strongest hook for claiming defamation. Here's what Dwyer wrote:
And did Police Chief Jim Ryan really tell others, who tried to warn him off dealing with [Vito] Scavo, that he was ordered to work with Scavo?

Scavo is the target of a FBI investigation of his security company.

If Dwyer has a source who claims to have had this conversation with Ryan then he would seem to be on firm ground. If this source is unwilling to testify then Dwyer might be in trouble.

If I were to speculate, I would guess the source was Lt. Steve Johnsen. He would have been in a position to have this discussion with Ryan. If the source is Johnsen, Dwyer will have no problem getting a deposition. Calderone and Ryan have already fired Johnsen; it's not like they can do anything more to mess with him.

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  • Interesting analysis, Carl. Tony Calderone has publicly criticized Steinbach for filing a lawsuit in connection with the e-mail situation. It would be interesting if he then sues a columnist at a community newspaper. He'll argue that he isn't suing the village he loves, but by threatening a viable news source (who, for all we know, might actually endorse him for mayor), he wouldn't be doing Forest Park any service.

    As for #6, it is somewhat tenuous, and I'd be curious as to what his attorney told him about the likelihood of success in a lawsuit. "Work with" is fairly harmless, and it is possible to "work with" someone without acting illegally. Dwyer didn't say that Ryan claimed he was ordered to do something illegal, and while the column certainly wasn't complimentary, I've seen far worse in the Sun-Times and Tribune about local politicians.

    By Anonymous KPO'M, at 8:28 PM, April 02, 2007  

  • FYI, Steve Johnsen was not fired, he quit rather than go through a year of hearings to get fired.

    And why is it that no one ever mentions the fact that Patrick Doolin made money off of Anthony Bruno? Doolin talks all the time about Bruno being a consultant for the village but never mentions that he rented office space to Bruno while he was consulting for FP.

    By Anonymous Reality Check, at 7:36 AM, April 03, 2007  

  • Why doesn't anyone talk about it? Because it isn't relevant thats why. Doolin was not an elected official when he rented office space to Bruno. Doolin was his landlord so big deal. Where is the drama there? Besides, Doolin is a real estate broker. That is what he does, rents and sells property to people. You may want to ask Doolin if Calderone asked him for a kickback on the rent Bruno paid. Why? Because Calderone was the Mayor at the time and introduced Bruno to Doolin thinking Doolin would play along with their little game of corruption. Doolin didn't and Calderone never forgave him for it. That is why they are mortal enemies now. Calderone is a crook. Doolin isn't.

    By Anonymous Why?, at 12:20 PM, April 03, 2007  

  • Doolin accepted money from Bruno while he (Doolin) was a Fire and Police Commissioner. He took this money knowing quite well that it was lining his pockets.

    Calderone got wise to Double standard Doolin and that is why Calderone did not back Doolin for Commissioner.

    Seems like Calderone was not the only one who caught on to Doolins tricks. The results of the recent election proved this right

    By Anonymous Former FBI, at 1:05 AM, April 09, 2007  

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