Part 5 – Looking at Lakewood TIF and SportsPlex Documents

We have now reached the 24th of March, two weeks before the April 7th Lakewood Village Board election in which write-in challenger Paul Serwatka was campaigning on opposition to the SportsPlex and the recently established Tax Increment Financing District.

We pick up with an email from Village Administrator Catherine Peterson:

In an email that afternoon to Village Board members, Peterson asked,

“As we prepare for the mtg this evening, I would respectfully request that no mention be made of the sports complex.

“It is not an Agenda item, and how this message is conveyed publicly is very important in terms of our residents and future developers.

“In addition, I have not yet had the opportunity to speak with the leaders of the sports complex team.

“Ps do not hesitate to contact me with any questions regarding this correspondence.”

Gary Sexson, running for re-election, replied the Thursday after the meeting, March 26th:

Gary Sexson

Gary Sexson

“I spoke with President Smith last night at the MCCOG (McHenry County Council of Governments) dinner about the Sportsplex deal.

“Needless to say, I was surprised you called the vote off without reaching out to Bev [Thomas] and myself.

“I know you and Erin prefer a unified vote on many issues, but I never expected a 6-0 or 5-1 vote on this project.

“I had anticipated a 4-2 or 4-3 vote with Erin possibly casting the deciding vote.

“As you know, I have always beat the drum of economic development, and although the project has no ‘guarantees’, it is still probably a move in the right direction.

“IDOT and the intersection improvements seem to be the rate limiting factor in the equation.

“I know my schedule has been busy, but I would still like to have a discussion because the project may not be dead and/or if it is, we need to focus on what may be next at the intersection.”

Peterson replied,

“Pls know that I did not send that message lightly.

“It had been conveyed to me by several individuals that there was not enough support at the Bd level for the project to move forward. [Emphasis added.]

“Also pls know that I would gladly meet with you and/or Trustee Thomas to discuss the project at a place and time that is convenient for you.”

= = = = =
More tomorrow.


Comments

Part 5 – Looking at Lakewood TIF and SportsPlex Documents — 10 Comments

  1. The Village Administrator asked the Board not to mention the sports complex at the board meeting?

    An attempt by the administration to control the board.

    It’s not an Administration Meeting.

    It’s a Board Meeting.

    It’s not for the administration to tell the board what to mention in a board meeting.

    And the emails indicate more evidence the administration and board is hiding information from the public to suit their agenda by having private conversations instead of an open board meeting.

    This board is not taxpayer friendly.

    Neither is the administration.

  2. Mark, it is clear from the emails that this is standard operating procedure — that decisions are made behind the scenes so that no real debate takes place at the meetings.

    This is the exact opposite of transparency, and it’s clear all of the trustees are in on it or Peterson wouldn’t feel she could send out such an email.

  3. Thanks Cal for publishing the memos/emails showing that in fact, there was much more going on behind the scene than what the board has been willing to admit publicly.

    There were lots of rumors to this effect but now it has been proven that Lakewood’s blessing of the sport plex was pretty close to a vote earlier this year and it was apparently no secret to the trustees that Erin more than likely would have cast the deciding vote.

    Erin is very sneaky and manipulative, and is known to chastise fellow trustees who dare to voice an opposing view.

    She also has Catherine drinking her koolaid so there is absolutely no independent thinking allowed under Erin’s leadership.

    This is Erin’s world and the residents of Lakewood are stuck under her thumb until she can be voted from office (I believe in 2 years although if someone can confirm that would be appreciated).

  4. “it is clear from the emails that this is standard operating procedure — that decisions are made behind the scenes so that no real debate takes place at the meetings. This is the exact opposite of transparency, and it’s clear all of the trustees are in on it or Peterson wouldn’t feel she could send out such an email.”

    Well, maybe not quite “ALL” trustees are in on it…

  5. Patrick, it was encouraging to see that some of the trustees had questions and some of them had doubts (especially as Paul Serwatka mounted a strong campaign based on opposition to the TIF and the SportsPlex — remember how close this was to the election), but ALL of them kept their mouths shut, as requested, and went along with working things out behind the scenes.

    Democracy is messy.

    That’s one of its best qualities.

    Things get hashed out in public, warts and all.

    Arguments for.

    Arguments against.

    Evidence for evidence against.

    When boards conspire to keep the public from seeing the debate and to insure that they show a unified face to the public with no dissension, they do the public a grave disservice.

  6. Serwatka, is who I was referring to.

    He is proving to be everything residents had hoped for and then some.

  7. Patrick:

    Ah, now I understand.

    We are in agreement.

    I was referring to the members of the board at the time these emails were going around.

    Paul was not on the board then.

    He is indeed a breath of fresh air and completely honorable.

  8. Catherine Petersen and Erin Smith orchestrate a “rubber stamp” board of trustees to suit their agenda whenever possible.

    Catherine Petersen has cost the taxpayers quite a bit of money this year with her mistakes, and her speculations.

    Yet, Erin Smith advocated for Catherine Petersen to receive a $4,000.00 bonus this year.

    Her performance would result in termination in the private sector, but in government, not so much.

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