Anyone remember the article about the Mayor of Juctice, Illinois, Melvin VanAllen? He had his fire department contracted out to the Roberts Park Fire Department because the Mayor said he couldn't affort the department anymore...I think I know why now...The orig. article is printed below the newer article...
Funny, he sold the FD out for 500,000 and that's how much he stole!
Funny how Karma works.
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Justice mayor indicted
VanAllen accused of lying about ownership of home, income from business
Friday, December 2, 2005

By Chris Hack and Stephanie Gehring
Staff writers


Justice Mayor Melvin VanAllen Jr. has been indicted on federal charges he filed a bogus bankruptcy petition and made more than $500,000 in illegally structured bank deposits.

"It has nothing to do with the village; it has to do with personal business," VanAllen said Thursday. "I'll keep on serving and put up with the heat."

VanAllen, 58, was elected to his third term as mayor in April and had also served as a village trustee for eight years. He has not been arrested and is scheduled to be arraigned Monday morning.

Part of the 32-count indictment unsealed Thursday focuses on a 2004 Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition filed by VanAllen. According to the indictment, he lied about ownership of his home as well as income from his business, Treyzack Trailers.

Records show VanAllen purchased his home at 8032 W. 85th Place in 1986 and six years later placed it in a land trust. According to prosecutors, VanAllen had equity in that home last year when he claimed on the bankruptcy petition he didn't.

He also swore on the petition he had only one bank account, but allegedly had three at the time. And he failed to disclose income from Treyzack Trailers for 2002 to 2004, according to the indictment.

The other charges focus on a flurry of bank deposits allegedly made by VanAllen between July 2003 and April 2004. Prosecutors contend records showing multiple deposits on the same day prove VanAllen intended to avoid federal bank-reporting requirements triggered by deposits more than $10,000.

According to the indictment, on 25 days VanAllen made multiple deposits — usually four, sometimes at different branches of the same bank — that totaled anywhere from $12,000 to nearly $30,000 for each day.

In all, he allegedly deposited $505,735 on the 25 days, but each individual deposit was less than $10,000. The government is seeking to seize the $505,000.

VanAllen said he had not seen the indictment or contacted a lawyer Thursday afternoon. But what he was hearing about the charges surprised him.

"I have had visits over the past year from people, and most of this never came up," VanAllen said. "There was a lot of other stuff that came up so I was surprised."

He declined to offer more specifics, but said "the people" were looking into other individuals, but not politicians. VanAllen did not expect the indictment to raise a red flag about village operations among residents.

But Trustee Richard Sparr thought otherwise. There has been friction between Sparr, a former village firefighter, and VanAllen since the village contracted out its fire and ambulance service to the Roberts Park Fire Protection District earlier this year.

"I'm sure we're all going to be looked at a little differently and, unfortunately, that's politics," Sparr said.

He added he felt bad for VanAllen's family, which includes his wife, Mary VanAllen, and six grown children. Mary VanAllen is a township trustee and school board member on Argo Community High School District 217.

In light of the indictment, Sparr said residents will closely scrutinize the decisions made by the village board.

"Residents will ask if there is anything else I should know," Sparr said.

In fact, it's already started: Sparr said he's been flooded with phone calls.

"We have close to 13,000 residents, and I feel like I've got 13,000 calls," he said. "Everybody is reaching out, and they want to know more. The worst thing we can do is hide anything from the residents."

But VanAllen apparently kept his personal finances to himself. Trustee Vicki Kelly, an ally on the board, hadn't heard of the indictment or that the longtime mayor filed for bankruptcy in 2004.

"I will have to start asking some questions," Kelly said. "I can't say anything because I have no knowledge of it. He's a very good mayor, but this is the first I've heard of anything."

Neither Trustees Ed Jurgel or James Gabrys, also allies of VanAllen, returned messages seeking comment Thursday.

Old article

Village opts to contract out services; hundreds show up for meeting

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

By Stephanie Gehring
Staff writer

About 25 members of the Justice Fire Department stood shoulder to shoulder Monday night as the village board decided the fate of their jobs.
In a 3-to-3 vote that the mayor had to break, the village board agreed to contract out its fire and ambulance services to the Roberts Park Fire Protection District.

About 400 people turned out for Monday's meeting, forcing the crowd outside.

The 25 firefighters in attendance along with another 29 will lose their jobs effective Aug. 1 when the district is expected to take over service for all of the village. Roberts Park already serves a portion of Justice.

Deputy Fire Chief Rick Symondz said the firefighters are going to look for some kind of legal recourse.

"We will be there," said Symondz who has been with the department for 31 years.

Justice Mayor Mel VanAllen, crafted the plan as a way for the village to save money.

Trustees Vicki Kelly, Ed Jurgel and James Gabrys voted in favor of the agreement. Trustees Richard Sparr, Richard Berkowicz and Mike Maruszak voted against it.

The board also split on approving the appointment of Ernie Spatola as the new fire chief.

Before the vote, Sparr, who resigned as a firefighter last week to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest, asked that the vote be postponed.

"Residents are here because they're concerned," said Sparr who served as a firefighter for 26 years.

Sparr and Maruszak also asked that Kelly's vote not be counted because her husband is a trustee with the Roberts Park Fire Protection District.

But VanAllen insisted that there was no conflict of interest and later Kelly agreed.

"People voted for me. I have my own mind," Kelly said.

She said she cast her vote "to be fiscally responsible."

Roberts Park's board is expected to vote in favor of the move later this month.

The crowd often erupted into shouts — many against VanAllen — including one in which some chanted, "Mel's got to go."

"They did a good job of getting a lot of people out," VanAllen said. "We have 12,193 people in town. I'd guess we had 400 people here tonight —that's not a majority."

Under the proposal Justice will pay the fire protection district $500,000 for two years and lease the village's equipment and station to the district. At the end of the two years a referendum could appear on the ballot.

VanAllen said it's a $400,000 cost saving measure because the village spent about $900,000 last year.

VanAllen quoted an auditor who told the village to trim $1 million from its budget.

But Sparr and Maruszak disagreed.

Sparr said the reasons to get rid of the fire department are not financial, but political.

He said it would only take about $50,000 more for the village to keep its fire department.

Maruszak, who chairs the finance committee, said VanAllen has his own agenda.

"When we went into committee (last week) he presented it as, 'this is what I want,'" Maruszak said. "I'm concerned he's going to put us in the hole."