Wednesday, July 04, 2012
Bridgeview Mayor Steven Landek - Just another one of Michael Madigan's protected crooks?
Chances are, you haven't heard of Steven Landek, the mayor of southwest suburban Bridgeview. Or you hadn't heard of him until the Tribune recently wrote about him.
Landek has built quite a political empire without much scrutiny. He has been a village trustee, Democratic township committeeman, highway commissioner and supervisor. He was appointed to the state Senate last year by his buddy, House Speaker Michael Madigan. Yes, Landek is both mayor of Bridgeview and a state senator.
But his political resume doesn't tell the half of it.
Tribune reporters Joseph Ryan and Joe Mahr recently revealed how Landek's long career in politics has personally benefited him and his friends.
The Lyons Township Democratic Organization, which Landek has overseen since 1998, rents office space in a building Landek owns, so contributions to the party organization go right into Landek's pocket through rent. Landek's organization has even paid Landek at least $50,000 in back rent he claimed he was owed. Get that? Landek demanded that Landek pay up. Landek complied.
Landek also collects rent from an accounting firm that occupies an office in one of Landek's buildings. Since 2005, the firm has made more than $1.2 million off of Bridgeview taxpayers and Toyota Park, the money-losing stadium built by the village. The accounting firm's president is treasurer of two of Landek's political funds.
The big story is Toyota Park, which Bridgeview taxpayers are stuck supporting through skyrocketing property taxes. The Tribune found more than $170,000 flowed to Landek's political funds from companies and people that have profited from the stadium since 2004.
Companies tied to the mayor's family sold $120,000 in janitorial and vending supplies to the village and the stadium.
This might be the richest example of unabashed political cronyism: The wives of the retired and current fire chiefs in Bridgeview created the company that provides medical staff for stadium events. The firm has been paid at least $788,000.
Meanwhile, the 20,000-seat stadium is sucking taxpayers dry.
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