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Proviso Probe

Friday, July 20, 2007

did a lawyer assist Cervone in obstructing justice?

I usually resist the temptation to debunk each story on Proviso Insider. My brother analyzed Proviso Insider as being “entertainment”, a sort of parallel universe created by the author(s). It is based on “what ifs” and wishful thinking.

But the spin on the Melrose Park PD indictments is interesting. See Proviso Insider.
Sources tell the Insider that one of the current police officers indicted is G. Ric Cervone, a board member in School District 89. Sources say Ric Cervone was probably indicted because he takes advice from Mark Sterk of Odelson & Sterk. Sources say both Mark Sterk and Burt Odelson are also about to be indicted.

Or Proviso Insider:
Sources tell the Insider that Burt Odelson and Mark Sterk of Odelson & Sterk, Ltd law firm will be indicted next by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. Sources tell the Insider that Mark Sterk was the attorney advising SD89 Board member Ric Cervone on how to lie to a grand jury. Sources also say Sterk was passing on fees for helping Cervone to Maywood SD89.

Proviso Insider says one of the Melrose Park police officers was coached to lie to the grand jury. This is not an exceptional insight. I heard this rumor when the cops were testifying and the indictment includes multiple obstruction of justice charges.

Proviso Insider claims that an attorney coached Ric Cervone to lie to the grand jury. The indictment doesn't name any attorneys, but it doesn't seem impossible that the attorneys played a role in helping Cervone and others to create a plausible defense.

Proviso Insider names Mark Sterk as the attorney who coached Cervone to lie. This part makes less sense. Proviso Insider claims Sterk helped Cervone because of their relationship at District 89 (Maywood and Melrose Park elementary schools). Cervone was on the board and Sterk was the board's attorney.

Why would Cervone turn to the school district attorney for help? He had a lawyer paid for by the Village of Melrose Park to work on this case.

If a lawyer coached Cervone to lie, it seems more likely it was either the attorney hired by Melrose Park to work on the case, Anthony Onesti, or, possibly, the village's general counsel Giglio & Del Galdo. Giglio & Del Galdo are large political contributors to Melrose Park village president Ron Serpico.

From the indictment:
COUNT TWO
38.It was further part of the scheme that on or about September 21, 2005, after learning of the existence of the federal criminal investigation, including the Grand Jury Investigation, defendant CERVONE met at the Police Department with Day Shift Officer 1 and Officer A and provided them with false information about their accumulated time due and how they had earned it, well knowing that time due was being investigated by the Grand Jury and with the intent that Day Shift Officer 1 and Officer A would present the false information to the grand jury and federal agents.
39.It was further part of the scheme that on or about September 21, 2005, after the meeting described in paragraph 38 above, and after learning of the existence of the federal criminal investigation, in the Grand Jury Investigation, defendant CERVONE again met with Officer A at CERVONE's home in Melrose Park, during which CERVONE directed Officer A to lie to federal agents and the grand jury about how Officer A earned his time due so as not to implicate CERVONE and defendant SCAVO.

COUNT TEN
2.On or about December 26, 2003, in the Northern District of Illinois, and elsewhere, VITO R. SCAVO and GUY RIC CERVONE, defendants herein, for the purpose of executing and attempting to execute the above-described scheme, knowingly did cause to be transmitted by means of wire communication in interstate commerce a writing, sign, and signal, in that defendants SCAVO and CERVONE caused a wire transfer, of which $2,149.21 represented Officer A's salary for the par period ending December 31, 2003, from Melrose Park's bank account at Banco Popular in Melrose Park to an ADP bank account through the Federal Reserve's facility in New Jersey;
In violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343, 1346, and 2.

COUNT ELEVEN reads like COUNT TEN except the date is August 17, 2005.
COUNT NINETEEN
2.On or about September 21, 2005, at Melrose Park, in the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, GUY RIC CERVONE, defendant herein, corruptly endeavored to influence, obstruct, and imped, and to influence, obstruct, and impede the due administration of justice, namely:
a. CERVONE provided Day Shift Officer 1 and Officer A with false information about their time due and how they accumulated it, well knowing that time due was being investigated by the grand jury and with the intent that Day Shift Officer 1 and Officer A would present the false information to the grand jury and federal agents; and
b. CERVONE directed Officer A to lie to federal agents and the grand jury about how Officer A earned time due so as not to implicate defendant CERVONE and Scavo;
In violationof Title 18, United States Code, Section, 1503.

Let's assume Cervone was going to work with a lawyer to concoct a story to protect himself or the enterprise from federal agents or the grand jury detecting the illegal acts. Which lawyer does it make the most sense for Cervone to engage? Or turn the question around. Which lawyer has a motive to approach Cervone about lying to the feds?
a. Mark Sterk
b. Anthony Onesti
c.Giglio or Del Galdo

Onesti and probably Giglio & Del Galdo already knew the facts of the case. If the feds brought down the enterprise Sterk wouldn't lose anything. He'd still have the same legal accounts. However, if bringing down the enterprise resulted in Ron Serpico losing his position as village president Giglio & Del Galdo would lose many of their most lucrative legal clients. Onesti got tapped for the MPPD contract because of his close relationship with Giglio & Del Galdo.

If Cervone worked with a lawyer on concocting a cover story it seems much more likely it was either Onesti or one of the lawyers at Giglio & Del Galdo.

What did Mike Del Galdo tell me at the special meeting of the District 209 board of education, “If you want to get treated like a professional you have to act like a professional.” Wouldn't it be ironic if unprofessional behavior got Del Galdo convicted? Hey, Mike, there's more to being professional than wearing a suit and sucking up to those in power.

BTW, props to Shamus Toomey for this lead, Sun-Times (Shamus Toomey):
The feds Thursday called it "an illegal racketeering enterprise."

In Melrose Park, it was known as the police department.

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3 Comments:

  • "Ghost payrolling, tax fraud, obstruction of justice, witness tampering -- you might think we were talking about the Chicago Outfit," said Robert Grant, special-agent-in-charge of the FBI's Chicago office. "Sadly, we're talking about the Melrose Park Police Department."
    Grant, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and Cook County State's Attorney Dick Devine held a news conference Friday morning to lay out their case against former Melrose Park Police Chief Vito Scavo and six current and former officers and village employees who "act as predators over the very people they were sworn to protect," Grant said.

    A federal grand jury handed down an indictment Thursday against the men.

    Both county and federal investigators were looking at Scavo's police department and decided to combine their investigations, Fitzgerald said. They found Scavo had been muscling businesses in the near west suburb to hire his private security firm, which used Melrose Park officers on city time, authorities said.

    Investigators don't believe they have yet found all the victims and witnesses to the alleged corruption under Scavo, and Grant encouraged other victims and witnesses to call the FBI.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:41 AM, July 21, 2007  

  • Some people around Proviso are saying that these indicments are no big deal. They say it has nothing to do with politics,since if was restricted to Melrose Park police.So the question I am asking is,do these indictments affect the current political structure in Proviso? In Melrose Park?,if yes ,please explain,if no also please explain!Also,what is going on with Larry Shapiro,Karen Yarbrough,Fox, and Flowers?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:49 PM, July 21, 2007  

  • I believe the indictments of these Police officers is only the begining of the end of the current political structure in Proviso!
    The Mayor of this small town can no way plead insanity of saying he did'nt know what was occuring! Sources close to this investigation state that numerous individuals wore wires and have cooperated with the FEDS!
    All these officers are looking at a minumum of 5-7 years,with Sacavo,Cervone and other ring leaders looking at 10-15 years. Now everyone will talk because why should someone spend time in jail,when only two or three really made any money from the operation??
    The biggest question is,what will the FEDS offer for information on Serpico and Bruno? Also,Bruno has been associated with helping the FEDS with information,trying to get himself off the hook!
    I believe Scavo has no other recourse but to give up his superiors, and as well as to give the FEDS what they want, which is destroy the political machine of Melrose Park and the outfit,along with the political organization run by Melrose Park,with assistance by Rev. Claude Porter,Gene Moore,Chris Welch,Calderone and Pasqaulle!
    Fitzpatrick wants the whole thing,he has cooperating police officers,a local mayor, and others who have brought down the machine!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:29 PM, July 22, 2007  

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