There’s a cloud of questions buzzing about Anthony Calderone’s mayoral campaign. Questions that haven’t been raised at political forums. Questions that are begging for answers. Questions that should be posed to Calderone personally and to all the trustee candidates, both the independents and those pretending to not be on Calderone’s slate.
Questions like: Is it true the FBI has, for the past several months, been delving into the on- and off-duty behavior of a Forest Park cop as regards his propensity for violence?
Questions like: Did Calderone, who takes such pride in being the Police Commissioner, ever see fit to order a formal investigation into the numerous allegations against that cop, in light of the fact that he was prodded to do so by some trustees? Questions about whether the police department has, in fact, seen fit to question and even pressure other cops who raised questions about that cop’s behavior. Questions as to whether there are village officials pressuring people to keep quiet about it all.
Questions like: Were there more than just two Forest Park cops who worked for IFPC Worldwide Security, the company owned by former Melrose Park police chief Vito Scavo? Scavo is also known as “Individual A” in an indictment that just saw Melrose Park Streets and Sans employee Mario Dal Cerro convicted for his admitted obstruction of justice into a federal investigation of Scavo’s company with regard to possible mail fraud, honest services fraud, and extortion.
Questions like: Was that Scavo himself who was seen pulling up to Forest Park Village Hall a couple years ago in a pimped-out new Cadillac, wearing an $800 suit? And did Police Chief Jim Ryan really tell others, who tried to warn him off dealing with Scavo, that he was ordered to work with Scavo?
Questions like: What has Calderone-who is so comfortable with collecting thousands of dollars from businesses which he formally regulates and disciplines when necessary as the village’s Liquor Commissioner-done in the wake of a reported investigation into the purchasing of liquor by juveniles in Forest Park, launched in 2005 after a 17-year-old River Forest youth purchased a half-barrel of beer on Madison Street at a Forest Park liquor store? Whatever became of that investigation? I didn’t see anything printed in Calderone’s favorite journal of record, the Forest Park Post.
Questions like: Why was Anthony Bruno-who was paid well over $400,000 for “public relations” for a $42 million water project in Melrose Park-invited into Forest Park by Melrose Park Mayor Ron Serpico’s good buddy, Anthony Calderone, and allowed to dip his beak into a poorly planned water project here to the tune of a reported $100,000 in fees? And why haven’t we heard a peep about that water project in over three years since it was suspended (cancelled? postponed?) without ever completing its first phase three years ago? You know, about the time the feds started sniffing around the stench of the Melrose Park deal.
Questions like: Whatever happened to the additional $3,600 payment Bruno had billed the village for but which was blocked by current mayoral challenger Theresa Steinbach because he wouldn’t provide an itemized bill detailing what he’d done for the money?
And other questions like: What connections does Calderone’s Illinois Alarm business have in Melrose Park, in light of reports that a payment to Illinois Alarm has shown up on at least one Melrose Park treasurer’s report?
The mayor becomes rather unconvincingly indignant when his motives are questioned. He complains that the media makes mountains out of mole hills. Funny, though, how some of those mole hills seem to grow significantly under closer scrutiny. To be as fair as possible, it’s possible Calderone is guilty of nothing more than admiring Serpico’s oily political operation and wanting to copy it here in Forest Park-to be a part of the club, as one person put it.
Calderone paints himself as a good, hardworking public servant who loves the village and has only the public’s best interests in mind. And I believe he truly does-sometimes. But when I think of all the questions Calderone’s behavior raises, I’m reminded of the scene in “Rocky Balboa” where Rocky has just appeared before the boxing commission and has been told they’re going to deny his request for a license to box.
“We’re just looking out for your best interests,” one of the commissioners tells a crestfallen Rocky.
“I appreciate that,” he replies, “but maybe you’re looking out for your own interests just a little bit more.”