County clerk says Let Forest Park Vote signatures valid

Local electoral board to decide whether to include question on ballot

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By Nona Tepper

A signature review by the Cook County Clerk's office has found the names on Let Forest Park Vote on Video Gaming's petitions for a binding referendum valid, shifting the debate to the local electoral board over whether the political action committee's question will be including on the March primary ballot.

The Forest Park electoral board consists of Mayor Anthony Calderone, Village Clerk Vanessa Moritz and Village Commissioner Tom Mannix. The three will decide whether to include Let Forest Park Vote's question, "Shall video gaming be prohibited in the village of Forest Park?" on the next ballot.

It is a binding referendum, which means that if residents vote against the practice, electronic gambling will be prohibited in Forest Park.

A spokesman for the clerk's office said Let Forest Park Vote's petitions exceeded the number of signatures required. Jordan Kuehn, president of the political action committee, said the group collected 3,500 signatures from residents who desire to vote on the practice.

Now lawyers from both pro- and anti-gaming forces will debate whether there's room on the March ballot for Let Forest Park Vote's question.

Only three questions are allowed on any ballot, and three advisory referendum questions were submitted prior to Let Forest Park Vote's submission.

But, Let Forest Park Vote is questioning the timeliness of the advisory questions submitted by Mark Hosty, a River Forest resident, former Forest Park commissioner and general manager of Healy's Westside on Madison Street in Forest Park.

Hosty submitted the questions for the 2018 ballot in November 2016.

The next hearing on the matter is scheduled Tuesday, Jan. 23 at 10 a.m. at Forest Park Village Hall, 517 Desplaines Ave.

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Reader Comments

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Bill Dwyer  

Posted: January 19th, 2018 10:42 PM

MITE LIMITED CORPORATION: 350 CIRCLE AVE SUITE 200. Incorporated Sept. 25, 2013. President MARK HOSTY 7419 WARREN FOREST PARK, IL 60130; Secretary THOMAS MANNIK (sic) 149 ROCKFORD FOREST PK IL 60130

Geoff Binns-Calvey  

Posted: January 19th, 2018 6:51 PM

If this really is a good deal for all of Forest Park, the bar owners wouldn't be spending thousands of dollars on lawyers, and paying crews from out of town to fill nuisance petitions. The bar owners would trust in the people of Forest Park to make a decision that benefits us all. Instead, they've gone to great lengths to silence us on a hot issue. The only reason is that it's a good deal for them, but a bad deal for Forest Park. Remember the percentages- Village Hall gets 5% of the payouts. The bar owners get 35%. The licenses and taxes bar owners pay are a drop in the bucket, compared to that sweet 35%. Just let us vote on it, and we'll decide what's best for all of us.

Michelle Andres Fitz-Henry  

Posted: January 19th, 2018 6:12 PM

Commissioner Mannix is on the non-elected electoral board that voted, in effect, against letting Forest Park vote on this issue by voting to allow "inactive" voters to count in the total number of signatures needed to get the issue on the ballot. There were enough signatures to get the question on the ballot before that unusual vote. Now he is on the same electoral board that will be making decisions that either side with the bar owners/managers or not in just a few days. The problem with this is that Mannix appears to either be in business with or was in business with another (former) village commissioner, Mr. Hosty, And this former fellow commissioner and business partner has fought against getting this issue on the ballot in the form of nuisance questions blocking another question on the ballot. And he is a bar owner or manager. Can't make this stuff up. Conflict of interest!

Geoff Binns-Calvey  

Posted: January 19th, 2018 1:17 PM

Martin, you are correct, and I apologize. But it wasn't a deliberate lie- rather an error of omission. Thank you gor bringing it up. Of course, you and the other bar owners pay licensing fees to the Village. So, adding that in, the Village could run for 14 hours on its 5% cut of the take. Not 9 hours. Sorry about that. (And, of course, the bar owners' percentage is 7 times the Village percentage. That's what blocking this vote is all about- not selflessly "building Forest Park".)

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: January 19th, 2018 7:20 AM

Excuse me- "he." We all make mistakes, don't we?

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: January 19th, 2018 6:20 AM

C'mon, Marty. You're better than this. "Lies"? Please. She misstated the facts. But it's accurate that the village's take is 5 percent. You'd do far better to button hole the petulant Mr. Hosty and tell him his peevish deceptions are giving your cause a black eye. Deceptions, by the way, that Tom Mannix helped him perpetrate in 2016. The same Mannix who will now be one of three deciding votes on the village's electoral board. If you're "bewildered" about people's edginess about a lack of bias in this issue, look no further than that troubling fact.

Martin M. Sorice Senior from Forest Park  

Posted: January 19th, 2018 2:33 AM

It bewilders me why Mr. Bins-Calvey seeks to perpetuate his 5% lie. While it is true that the village gets 5% of all gaming revenues, they also receive money from two additional sources. A $5,000 license fee per establishment is paid yearly to the village. In addition a $25 per machine license fee is also paid. In the article "They made how much?!" it is stated that "Forest Park area establishments have raked in more than $357,000 in combined revenue." (I believe Ms. Tepper meant to say establishment revenue and not combined revenue). She goes on to say "These bars and restaurants have returned $149,152 in taxes, plus licensing and machine fees from video gaming to the village since January 2017." Finally she states "These local machines have paid out more than $11 million; players have put in $12.1 million." A simple calculation yields that the village return exceeds 13.5%. Mr. Calvey, please stick with the truth!

Geoff Binns-Calvey  

Posted: January 18th, 2018 10:27 PM

Mary Richie, you asked what the Village's cut is, and Steve answered correctly- 5%. Here's another way to look at it. Let's say we, the residents of Forest Park and surrounding areas lose a million dollars into the machines. The Village's cut is $50,000. That's enough to run the Village for about 9 hours. And $600,000 (60%) of that million leaves our Village (25% to the State, and 35% to the corporation that leases the machines.) If we're looking at this as a way to get money into the Village, it's the least efficient fund raiser I can imagine. But mostly, I just want us all to vote on it. And I'll go along with what my neighbors vote for. But voter suppression, and the dirty tricks we've seen, really push my buttons.

Gina Garrison  

Posted: January 18th, 2018 4:59 PM

@Steven I can totally see how that can happen because there were two VG articles, both mention Hosty saying the signatures are not legit with numbers to back him up but only one mentioned that the guy Watts (think that's his name?) was the objector. So many of these articles its hard to keep them straight! I only commented because everybody has been saying such bad stuff about this reporter and at least this time she wasn't wrong haha.

Steven Woltman  

Posted: January 18th, 2018 4:42 PM

@Gina. I misunderstood her comment - I thought she was referring to the current objection on the petitions. My bad.

Gina Garrison  

Posted: January 18th, 2018 3:38 PM

@Steven where does the article say that Hosty was the objector? It says that he's the one that submitted the 3 nonsense petitions back in 2016 for the 2018 election. For the sole purpose of crowding this very important one off the ballot.

Steven Woltman  

Posted: January 18th, 2018 11:59 AM

5% / you can see that from the Illinois Gaming Board that FP has 16 locations and the Village has garnered $58K in new revenue as a result. That's aside from what is generated from licensing fees, which should amount to over $80K next year. Some of the businesses didn't get in the game until summer and fall so next year's numbers should be much more. But, if it's voted out, then we'll never know. BTW - I thought the objector was Watts, not Hosty. I could be wrong but I thought I read that somewhere.

Mary Richie from Forest Park  

Posted: January 18th, 2018 9:52 AM

Now we need facts before an intelligent decision can be made by we residents. Our local govenment can always use extra funds if it is actually receiving some reasonable amounts from the video gambling now installed in various establishments in the village. I know the owners get a share which is only fair. How much (what percentage) actually lands in our village coffers?

Martha Irvine from Forest Park  

Posted: January 18th, 2018 9:08 AM

It's about time we get to vote on this issue. The mayor and other committee members need to do the right thing. Let the people have their say! Mr. Hosty's tactics are nothing short of dishonest and self-serving.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: January 17th, 2018 5:45 PM

I don't have a problem with Hosty filing papers to place a, as in a single, question on the ballot. He runs a business here and has that right. What galls me is his transparent dishonesty in contending that he had any sort of genuine purpose in filing THREE referenda last year and now another three this year. His sole purpose is to block a binding referendum on video gambling.

Mary Fitz Howorth  

Posted: January 17th, 2018 5:36 PM

Just curious, why should someone who isn't a Forest Park resident , be allowed to include items on a Forest Park ballot. Except in such instances where the state, township or county (for instance) have ballot items to include, shouldn't items on the local ballot be proposed by residents of the town?

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