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Proviso Probe

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Trib covers Welch legal bills story

Chicago Tribune (Jo Napolitano) published an article about Chris Welch, the president of the Proviso Township High Schools board of ed, having the school district pay his legal bills.

What's new in the Trib story?

Welch--I believe for the first time--publicly acknowledged he is one of the writers for Proviso Insider. He denies writing the allegations that are the basis for Mark Sterk's defamation suit.

Board member Theresa Kelly filed a complaint with the regional superintendent of schools, Charles Flowers. Flowers was formerly a board member with Kelly and Welch. Flowers is a politically enemy of Welch.

There's some discussion of the possibility Welch was acting in the scope of his duties as a member of the board of education.

I don't like the way the article handled this. One, it omits that Welch denied being involved in Proviso Insider. It seems impossible to reconcile the claim Welch's writings on Proviso Insider were part of his duties as a member of the board of education and the fact that he was doing the writing anonymously.

Two, Welch is never required to give a cogent explanation how his writings were in the scope of his duties.

If a claim isn't reasonable, I have a problem will journalists printing it. People who are doing things that are illegal shouldn't be able to offer untrue justifications without a clear explanation the claim is untrue.
Welch called his service as board president "a 24-hour-a-day job." He said that he has been sued three times before and that his legal fees were covered by the district on each occasion.

This is a logical fallacy. Welch has been sued for his actions as a board member. But that doesn't mean that everything he could get sued for is somehow related to his position as a board member.

In fact, Welch has filed a suit of his own against the firm, alleging the attorneys put pressure on his former employer to try to convince Welch that the board shouldn't dismiss Odelson & Sterk.

This is an interesting wrinkle in the story. For more info, see Proviso Insider.

Board members Bob Cox and Dan Adams are quoted defending their votes to pay the legal bills in question.

There's also a discussion on Forest Park Forums.

[UPDATE, June 25, 2008: Forest Park Review (Josh Adams) has more details and there's a tough Forest Park Review editorial.]

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4 Comments:

  • I got a call from someone who was despondent that the bad guys will get away with their bad behavior.

    Keep an eye on this story.

    I don't think it's going away.

    There's a game of chess happening. Welch is playing. Kelly is playing. Flowers is playing. Odelson and Sterk are playing. The Cook County State's Attorney and US Attorney Northern Illinois District are potential players. And others are in the mix.

    While not all the factions want the same thing, there are many of the factions willing to work together to stick it to Chris Welch.

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 10:16 PM, June 25, 2008  

  • see said:
    me thinks chris welch has burned many bridges: professional, political, and personal

    the provisoinsider this past week seems like a hysterical rant from someone whose situation is increasingly desperate

    others may be abandoning ship as we speak

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:12 AM, June 27, 2008  

  • I think you're right Carl. However, I think the only people that will have a real problem following a look-see by the State's Attorney or US attorney are Odelson and Sterk. If they were truly overbilling their clients, they were committing mail and/or wire fraud every time they mailed or faxed their invoices. I would have to imagine SD209 has proof that Odelson and Sterk were overbilling. Carl have you requested this information under the Freedom on Information Act?

    By Anonymous I agree with Carl, at 9:21 AM, July 01, 2008  

  • I've seen Chris Welch at board meetings the last few months, and he does not appear to be someone who has lost anything personally, politically or professionally. The board seems to have come together minus Kelly. Politically Welch has not lost anyone of his key allies in Proviso Township. Is Chris Welch and Ronnie Serpico fighting? What's his relationship with Moore? I heard he gave Gene his insurance contract again at the last board meeting. Carl are you going to write about this story? Welch is getting his ducks in a row and while you guys are paying attention to meaningless fotter from Kelly and Burt Odelson, Welch is going to sneak right in again. Also, when I say meaningless, I do believe Kelly has zero credibility and Burt Odelson has less than her. He built his firm on getting clients in a sleazy way. No one should feel sorry for a character like that. I also tend to think the things I read in Welch's lawsuit are true. That's what sleeze bags do.

    By Anonymous I known sleeze bags when I see them, at 9:26 AM, July 01, 2008  

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