Bar owner uses donation to blast commissioner

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By Michelle Keefe

Business owner Jim Shaw apologized publicly for his behavior on the night of his arrest back in July of 2005 following a confrontation with Commissioner Patrick Doolin, and followed up his words with a check for the Forest Park Centennial Committee.

Shaw, a River Forest resident who owns Doc Ryan's on Madison Street, read his statement to the village council during its Jan. 8 meeting, and donated more than $9,000 to the ad hoc committee. That sum, Shaw said, is his portion of a settlement stemming from a lawsuit he filed after the charges were dropped.

Doolin, however, said the apology and the donation were less than sincere. He called the event a "political stunt orchestrated by Shaw and the mayor" in an effort to sabotage his run for the corner office.

Mayor Anthony Calderone and Doolin are set to square off in a Feb. 27 primary for the mayor's seat, along with Commissioner Terry Steinbach.

"We all know that you're closely aligned to Shaw," Doolin said to Calderone during the meeting. "This is the kind of thing that turns people off politics. Why is it on the agenda? The donation isn't even mentioned until the fifth paragraph. The rest of it is a personal attack on me."

A copy of Shaw's written apology was included in the council's agenda packet, and Shaw was invited by the mayor to read the statement during the public comment portion of the meeting. The six paragraph letter makes no mention of any remorse on Shaw's part until almost two-thirds of the way through. Meanwhile, several criticisms of Doolin and the officer in charge of the investigation, Lt. Steve Johnsen, are made.

"Patrick Doolin, what you did that night was a grievous case of abuse of power," Shaw said in his apology.

Shaw explicitly stated that his apology does not extend to Doolin or Johnsen, though he emphasized that he would accept their apologies.

Shaw was charged with assault and disorderly conduct following a verbal confrontation with Doolin after a village council meeting on July 25, 2005. The charges against Shaw were later dropped, and an internal investigation ultimately led to allegations against Johnsen, who is being considered for termination by the Fire and Police Commission at the request of Chief Jim Ryan.

"Yes, I should have controlled my temper," Shaw read from his apology letter. "But Mr. Candidate for mayor was totally wrong in his actions that night."

In reading his letter, Shaw said he hopes to put the ordeal behind him.

According to Calderone, Shaw requested that a member of the village staff read the letter into the record. Calderone said he told the bar owner that would not be appropriate and that he could read the statement himself.

Shaw though, did not attempt to address the council when other members of the public did so, and spoke only after Calderone called on him to do so. The council's agenda listed Shaw's donation and accompanying letter under a separate heading than the public comment portion of the meeting.

"I understand Doolin's need to be theatrical over the issue," Calderone said. "But I have no desire to engage in any differences between Shaw and Doolin. Elected officials should exercise diplomacy."

Shaw concluded his statement by acknowledging the expense of the original investigation, and offered to pay half of the costs on the condition that Doolin and Johnsen pay the other half.

"Mr. Mayor, if and when you get a payment from Doolin and Johnsen, let me know and I will be over with mine," Shaw said.

Doolin said he will make no such payment, and that the responsibility lies squarely on the shoulders of Shaw, Chief Ryan, and Calderone.

"If Shaw had told the truth from day one, the investigation would not have been necessary," Doolin said.

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