If you haven’t heard, the Forest Park Review is fact-checking every campaign flier this election season, in an effort to inform voters. Keep in touch: ntepper@wjinc.com or jill@oakpark.com


Flier Name: “People we trust say please VOTE NO”

Specs: 8-by-11, glossy, two-sided

Submitted to the Forest Park Review: Nov. 5


This flier simply quotes various groups’ endorsement letters and advertisements about video gaming. The Review is fact-checking whether these statements were indeed made by these groups:

1)    “The revenue generated by video gaming will help us continue to provide Forest Park residents with services they deserve … Forest Park Firefighters Local 2753 is asking for you to allow video gaming to continue when you vote [NO VOTE] on November 6th, 2018.” – Forest Park Firefighters Local 2753 TRUE

These statements were published in an advertisement in the Review on Oct. 17.


2)    “…absolutely no evidence that video gaming has brought an increase in crime…FOP Officers are endorsing video gaming because it brings in essential revenue to the Village…[We] encourage all citizens of Forest Park to vote NO in November.” –Fraternal Order of Police – Forest Park Lodge #24 TRUE

These statements were published in a letter to the Review on Oct. 23.


3)    “Video gaming has had no negative impact on Forest Park in the last two years, but prohibition will have immediate negative impacts on day one…Support working families and support Forest Park by voting NO on prohibition of Video Gaming.” –Forest Park Public Works Teamsters 705 TRUE

These statements were published in a letter to the Review on Oct. 23.


40 “… The revenue to the Village from video gaming has helped prevent the potential loss of services to businesses and residents … the Chamber of Commerce & Development is in FAVOR of maintaining video gaming as it has been implemented in Forest Park.” –Forest Park Chamber of Commerce & Development Board of Directors TRUE

These statements were published in a letter to the Review on Aug. 28.


In an interview with the Review, Laurie Kokenes, executive director of the Forest Park Chamber of Commerce, said the group’s board of directors voted unanimously to support legalized video gaming as-is in Forest Park at a meeting on Aug. 8. The Chamber is a business networking and advocacy organization.

“We worked very carefully to word this and state our reasons for supporting it,” Kokenes said, adding: “After much discussion about our position, we decided to write a Letter to the Editor to state our position.”

Officers of the Chamber board are as follows:

  • President Dorothy Gillian, of Weichert Realtors, Nickel Group
  • First Vice President Rob McAdam, of McAdam Landscaping
  • Second Vice President Fred Bryant, of Accents by Fred
  • Treasurer Erik Fjeldstad, of Forest Park National Bank
  • Past President Joel Foster, of Kingsview Asset Management.

Members of the Chamber board are as follows: Augie Alesky, of Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore; Noel Eberline, of Yearbook Studios; Tom Holmes, of the Forest Park Review; Mark Hosty, of Healy’s Westside/Weichert Realtors, Nickel Group; David King, of David King & Associates; Bridget Lane, of Business Districts Inc.; Stephanie Neubauer, of MacDaddy Salon; Larry Piekarz, of the Park District of Forest Park; Amy Rita, of the Forest Park Post; Jack Vainisi, of Forest Park National Bank; and Martin Sorice, of Angelo O’Leary’s, Blueberry Hill, Carole’s, Circle Inn, Doc Ryan’s, Pioneer Tap and Shortstop Lounge.

It is unclear if the entire Chamber board was present for the vote on video gaming, and if all of the members of the Chamber were polled on their position on video gaming.


SENT BY: Let Forest Park Grow-Vote No, which is a ballot initiative committee established Aug. 22 with the aim of supporting licensed video gaming in Forest Park.

James Watts, owner of O’Sullivan’s Public House and the bar owner who brought the local battle over video gaming to the Illinois Supreme Court, is listed as its chairperson. Let Forest Park Grow’s headquarters is 545 Beloit Ave., a residential property Watts owns, according to property records.

As of its most recent filing to the Illinois State Board of Elections on Nov.5, the group had $66,200 in funds, with the majority of contributions coming from video gaming machine companies.

CONTACT: ntepper@wjinc.com