Lately, Mayor Anthony Calderone has walked a very fine line when it comes to veracity.
What’s perplexing, and frankly troubling, is that Calderone’s dubious statements could have been avoided.
Two instances come to mind.
At last week’s village council meeting, Rory Hoskins, commissioner of accounts and finances, presented a Dec. 30 Moody’s Investment Services report that downgraded the village’s bond ratings.
When Hoskins surprised Calderone with this report, one of the things Hoskins asked was whether the mayor had been contacted by Moody’s.
“First time to my knowledge in almost 16 years that Moody’s has ever made any contact with the village of Forest Park to anyone in any capacity,” Calderone told Hoskins.
On Wed., Dec. 29, 2010 – a day before the report was issued – Moody’s analyst Dennis Lam sent Calderone an email that reads “Attached please find a draft of Moody’s rating report for the Village of Forest Park, IL.”
Even though Calderone was unaware of Moody’s trying to make any contact with the village, he admitted to receiving a “panicked call,” make that a “panicked e-mail” – his secretary Sally Cody reminded him she was the one who got the email – from a rep who said Hoskins did not return their calls. And, to the mayor’s credit, Hoskins failed to get in touch with the rep.
“I do take some responsibility,” said Hoskins regarding his blunder.
Then Commissioner Marty Tellalian wanted to know if the mayor was aware of the report.
Calderone said he didn’t have a copy of the report.
“We invite you to review our report prior to publication,” reads the email sent from Moody’s to Calderone.
To be fair, that report was a draft, and it was supposed to be confidential – kept from the public, though, not from other officials. But, since then, a public report has been issued. We asked the mayor, why didn’t he simply say Moody’s contacted him. Why tell the board, and the citizens of Forest Park, on the record, that “Moody’s has [never] made any contact with the village of Forest Park”?
“I don’t know why I simply didn’t say that,” Calderone told us. He said, he’d “want to look at the tape” to check on his remarks. Well, we have an audio recording, if you’d like to take a listen, Mr. Mayor.
One more thing: Calderone has taken out several campaign ads in the Forest Park Review. On page two of the March 2 issue Calderone’s ad features bullet-pointed achievements that read: “Balanced budgets” (the budget is not balanced, there’s a $2 million deficit); NO deficit spending (we’d be surprised if a village official could point to a month in the not-too-distant past where the bills were paid without a deficit); Reduced debt (Moody’s just downgraded the bond rating due to steadily decreasing revenue and $15.3 million in bond debt).
These are tough economic times and the village has certainly tightened its belt, but point to those examples. Don’t stretch the truth. Why not say you were in touch with Moody’s? We are now aware that the report exists. Why take out an ad that incorrectly portrays the current financial situation? It seems like you’re asking for criticism.
Like Lennon said, “All I want is the truth.”
Correspondence between Dennis Lam, a Moody’s analyst, and Mayor Anthony Calderone. The email contradicts Calderone’s claim that Moody’s never contacted anyone in the village in “any capacity,” and that he didn’t have a copy of the bond report.