I am a 45-year resident of Oak Lawn and I have attended Village Board meetings for more than half my life, but nothing I ever saw compares to what I saw at the board meeting on Nov. 13.
After listening to the mayor and his board allies make nonsensical, contradictory and hypocritical arguments about a host of issues, like the $600 million Christ Hospital expansion and the alley paving program in the village, Mayor Dave Heilmann finished the meeting off with a bang — by committing a crime.
The mayor made a five-minute speech about political literature being disseminated in Oak Lawn that is critical of him, calling literature lies and the senders of the literature “frauds.” That alone is a clear and obvious violation of our election code, because Village Board meetings are for the village business only, and politicking and electioneering are explicitly forbidden. And no one should know this more than Dave Heilmann, a lawyer with several years of elected office experience.
But the mayor apparently wasn’t satisfied with just violating election codes, because he quickly elevated that violation into a full-blown crime when he told the people in the crowd and Oak Lawn residents who watch the televised meetings that he “directed the Oak Lawn Police Department to investigate the matter.”
In so doing, Mayor Heilmann committed the crime of “election interference,” where the law in Illinois is very, very clear: “No public funds shall be used to urge any elector to vote for or against any candidate or proposition, or be appropriated for political or campaign purposes to any candidate or political organization.”
I do agree with the mayor that there should be an investigation here, but if the Oak Lawn Police Department spent even one minute doing what the mayor directed, Dave Heilmann is the one who should be investigated.