Healy's Westside manager FOIA'd residents' emails

Mark Hosty submitted request to county clerk's on Feb. 7

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By Nona Tepper

The bar manager responsible for filing three nuisance questions that clogged an upcoming election ballot also filed a Freedom of Information Act request to the Cook County Clerk's Office, asking for the emails and job qualifications of a husband and wife in town, according to information obtained by the Forest Park Review through a FOIA request.

Mark Hosty, a River Forest resident, former Forest Park village commissioner and manager of Healy's Westside, FOIA'd the Cook County Clerk's Office on Feb. 7 for all emails between resident Nick Ardinger and his wife, Jessica Rinks, who works in the elections division at the County Clerk.

He also asked for the job posting and qualifications related to her position. In an email, Rinks said that having officials at work go through her emails as part of a FOIA request has been "truly unfortunate and stressful."

"I take public service very seriously," she wrote in an email to the Review. "I abide by all professional standards and ethics at the Cook County Clerk's office. I'm a consummate professional and I don't like the accusation that I am using my position inappropriately. Nothing could be further from the truth."

In response to his FOIA, Hosty received four emails between the couple, all discussing a forwarded invitation from Clerk David Orr to participate in the 2017 Chicago Pride Parade. Half of the email excerpt between the couple reads:

"Want to march in David Orr's contingent in the Pride Parade?" Rinks wrote on June 14, 2017.

"Sure," Ardinger responded.

Hosty did not respond to an interview request about why he FOIA'd Rinks' emails to her husband or what he thought of the documents he received. He is the friend and business partner of Commissioner Thomas Mannix, who alleged in an Aug. 9 post on the "Build Forest Park" Facebook page that he had seen emails implying Ardinger and Rinks engaged in political activity related to video gaming during work hours at their publicly funded institutions.

In a subsequent interview with the Forest Park Review on Aug. 13, Mannix called his tone "slightly harsh" but stood by his comments.

"Nick Ardinger your wife works for the county clerk. In the elections division. What involvement did she have in the signature review? Did she recuse herself from such? What emails texts and phone calls occurred between you and her as the statutorily mandated process? Did she not circulate referendum petitions knowing she could influence the inevitable challenge? These are important questions that need to be answered," Mannix posted on Facebook on Aug. 9. "Also, why was she emailing you asking you to engage in political activity from a government email while on government time? I appreciate you two organizing political activity using my property tax dollars, but come on."

In an email to the Forest Park Review on Aug. 13, Ardinger denied that his wife had anything to do with the effort to a put a binding referendum question related to video gaming on the Nov. 8 ballot. 

"Obviously, attacking my wife is totally out of bounds. He wants people to believe that she has behaved in an unethical or illegal way, and believes that simply by putting out the allegation that it will stick," Ardinger wrote. "She hasn't had anything to do with [video gaming]. He knows that, but he wants to spread the innuendo to try to sew doubt in the minds of others."

Ardinger saw Mannix's comments after work while he was walking to the train. At first, he said he felt defensive.

"His comments came across as a clear attempt at intimidation—trying to silence me, trying to smear me and my family. I knew it was baseless, and I knew how he was trying to distort the truth," Ardinger wrote.

But he said now he feels glad Mannix posted the comments. "He showed his true colors," he wrote.

In an interview with the Forest Park Review, Mannix said he made no effort to seek out the couple's emails. He said he posted the comments as a way to defend himself from residents alleging he has engaged in corruption and that his presence on the village electoral board presented a conflict of interest.

Mannix and Hosty operate Mite Limited Corporation, an entity that renovates buildings for sale and rent.

The University of Illinois at Chicago, where Ardinger works, has not yet responded to a FOIA request by the Forest Park Review, asking for a list of everyone who has FOIA'd him over the last two years and the documents received. Ardinger did not respond to interview requests for this story.

CONTACT: ntepper@wjinc.com 

Reader Comments

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John Gorny  

Posted: August 17th, 2018 9:18 PM

Once again, when the bar owners needed to do something to win the residents of Forest Park over to their side of this issue, they did something to alienate them.

Jerry Webster  

Posted: August 17th, 2018 9:08 PM

Barb, Hosty and Mannix may deserve each other, the village does not. On another note, I doubt Hosty thought the e mail idea up himself, he's a follower not a leader.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: August 17th, 2018 11:29 AM

No one is trying to "show Hosty they are the boss," Pam. They're simply showing him that he's not the boss.

Gina Garrison  

Posted: August 17th, 2018 10:33 AM

Pam you are a piece of work. Nothing whatsoever about trying to get folks fired and the horrible public attacks including accusations of federal crimes and killing puppies...for you it's just all PLEASE DON'T TAKE AWAY MY MACHINES!

Pam Fontana  

Posted: August 17th, 2018 10:03 AM

Too many of these arguments center around trying to punish Hosty and his stance on gaming. If the village pulls the games, you are not just punishing him (so you will still go to his bar even thought you don't like him????), you are punishing the other reputable bar owners/restaurant operators that have NOTHING at all to do with Hosty/Mannix and their antics. Unless our whole village is of the mentality that one child messes up so we punish the whole class?!? It just appears everyone is hell bent on showing Hosty they are the boss, not thinking about the other business owners that are not him and have nothing to do with his tactics (you know like pulling a private citizen's emails to try and get dirt).

Linda Fairbanks  

Posted: August 17th, 2018 8:47 AM

Isn't Hosty the 'gentleman' who tried to interfere with signature-gathering for the binding referendum and then charged the woman with 'assault' for pushing his cell phone away from her face? If so, it is one more strike against VG. Money is power, and I certainly don't want to put more power in the hands of such creatures as this.

Mischa DeHart from Oak Park  

Posted: August 17th, 2018 1:00 AM

Can someone please donate a new background for Ebert's photos? They are so 1992. I refused mine when I joined Gloor Realty which no longer exists. These photos are so ugly and the people are not even nice at the studio.

Barbara J Plona  

Posted: August 16th, 2018 9:10 PM

Mannix and Hosty deserve each other, Their company must not be doing very well if they have time to read emails exchanged between a husband and his wife.

Michelle Andres Fitz-Henry  

Posted: August 16th, 2018 5:47 PM

From the mayor running on a platform that was anti-video gambling in Forest Park and then allowing the vote to be ushered in by the Village Commissioners, gambling proponents actively clogging the ballot to prevent a vote on gambling by the residents, a bar owner challenging a petition to allow the residents of Forest Park the ability to vote all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court, threats to residents from a current Village Commissioner and resident's e-mails being FOIA'd by a bar (that has gambling) manager and former Village Commissioner (who is in business with the aforementioned Commissioner) - it is clear that this vote on gambling that will be on the ballot in November has a lot more at stake than gambling. Democracy is on the ballot.

Geoff Binns-Calvey  

Posted: August 16th, 2018 5:19 PM

Commissioner Mannix threatened me with a libel suit, when I calmly stated some facts about his ties to video gambling. If you want to support truth in this issue, look at www.letfpvote.com . The election is coming up, but we expect more dirty tricks before we all finally vote on it.

Jon Pirc  

Posted: August 16th, 2018 4:54 PM

Wow, I never realized that Forest Park could be so swampy. The tactics being used by Mr. Hosty and Mr. Mannix are very unfortunate and appear to fly in the face of democracy. I understand that Mr. Hosty is in a position where a 'No' vote on gaming is going to cost him money, but I feel as though he's not doing himself any favors by giving off the perception that he is trying to stifle and intimidate his opponents. I mean, this latest FOIA buffoonery just reeks of a witch hunt, and his apparent willingness to provide a comment doesn't help his case either. Personally, I really don't care if gaming is allowed in Forest Park. I've used the machines in the past and don't find them to be a nuisance. But because of the way that the pro-gaming side is going about their efforts, which I perceive as trying to silence their opposition instead of selling the idea on its merits, I'm going to have to vote No on gaming in November.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: August 16th, 2018 4:48 PM

Imagine Mark Hosty's manic screeching if someone delved into the real estate firm where he works, and his wife's real estate work. Yet, hypocrite that he is, Hosty has no problem delving into the personal lives of people who oppose a position he's taken.

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