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Proviso Probe

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

FPR coverage of D209 switching law firms

Forest Park Review (Josh Adams) wrote about Proviso Township High Schools (District 209) terminating Odelson & Sterk as the district's law firm and hiring Giglio & Del Galdo.

Odelson & Sterk is a politically connected law firm that is most closely associated with President of Cook County Board Todd Stroger, at this point. Odelson & Sterk also seems to have synergy with James J. Roche & Associates. Roche is (or was) the law firm of Emanuel "Chris" Welch.

Giglio & Del Galdo is a politically connected law frim tha tis most closely associated with Melrose Park Village President Ron Serpico, at this point. When Giglio & Del Galdo tried to get the District 209 business in the past, Burt Odelson made an issue of the firms questionable activities in Cicero.

The vote to hire Giglio & Del Galdo was... out of the ordinary. The vote initially failed three yeahs (Adams, Cox and Welch) to three nos (Flowers, Foreman and Kelly) and one abstention (Henry).
After moving on to other business and without holding any further public discussion on the issue, Welch announced that Henry and another board member had changed their vote, thus awarding the district's business to Giglio and Del Galdo.

I'm not a lawyer (IANAL), but that seems like it just ain't right. If board members can change their votes after the fact, couldn't public meetings go through the whole agenda without taking any votes and then have board members submit paper ballots with "yes" or "no" checked next to each motion?
Robert Cox, a newly elected board member from Forest Park, voted to bring in the new legal firm largely out of fiscal concerns, he said. Based on information provided by the superintendent, Cox said he understood that Odelson and Sterk was attempting to bilk the district out of money.

Bob Cox is a nice guy. I believe he means well, but... Just because Odelson & Sterk were billing more than the district wants to pay hardly proves that Giglio & Del Galdo will reduce the legal bills.

BTW, Cox was the treasurer for the Proviso First Party. I'm curious if Giglio & Del Galdo was a big contributor to Cox's election.

Also, you can read the Forest Park Review editorial.

I guess my comment on the editorial is that Forest Park Review probably should have spent more ink being concerned about the source of the Proviso First Party's campaign contributions before the election. Post-election hand wringing seems like closing the barn door after the cows have left.

In fairness to the Forest Park Review, the Citizens For Better Schools--the slate running against the Proviso First Party--didn't raise this issue very effectively as part of their campaign.
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  • In my opinion, any law firm from Melrose Park and Cicero must be crooked. The Village of Melrose Park is currently under federal investigation because of actions they took while Giglio and Delgaldo were their attorneys. One of the many investigations in Melrose Park is in regards to the water project, in which Giglio and Delgaldo was paid tens of thousands of dollars. That is right. Giglio and Del Galdo's law firm was being paid twice; once by the Village of Melrose Park and once by the water project. This law firm has also billed the town of Cicero millions of dollars. In fact, they have billed the town of Cicero more than their former attorney, recently indicted Ed Vrdolyak, did. Giglio and Delgaldo has spent more time dodging indictments than representing school districts. Why would School District 209 choose such a inexperienced and crooked law firm- politics... Again, Chris Welch is diverting school tax dollars away from our children and into the pockets of his political friends.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:02 PM, June 06, 2007  

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