Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Secret Golf Dome Tapes

A businessman, contending he got muscled out of his suburban golf dome and lost millions of dollars, secretly recorded the mayor of Bridgeview once and the mayor's right-hand man several times, and has testified before a federal grand jury as part of an FBI investigation into the allegations.

Fresh details of the FBI investigation into Bridgeview Mayor Steven Landek and the circumstances surrounding businessman John LaFlamboy losing his golf dome are revealed in a recent court filing that's part of a civil lawsuit LaFlamboy brought in federal court.

The filing reveals LaFlamboy secretly recorded Landek once for the FBI in July 2000 and recorded the mayor's assistant, Steven Reynolds, about six times in 2003 or 2004. The hulking Reynolds died in March in Phoenix, Ariz., after mixing alcohol with prescription medication.

LaFlamboy also revealed in a deposition he gave in October that he testified before a federal grand jury investigating his allegations. No one has been charged in the investigation.

LaFlamboy sued Landek, Reynolds and others in federal court in 2005, contending he was harassed and threatened into selling his share of the World Golf Dome. Village officials wanted to use the site to lure a professional soccer team to town.

LaFlamboy contends he lost millions of dollars and says one of the men threatening him was former Chicago Police Officer Fred Pascente, who was banned from Las Vegas casinos in 1999 for alleged connections to the Chicago mob.

Now, the defendants in the lawsuit want the judge to order the FBI to turn over a copy of the secret recordings LaFlamboy made, so they can hear what's on the tapes. The FBI has opposed releasing the recordings.

"We motioned for the tapes held by the government, because we are confident they will help further vindicate our clients in this case," said Ed Burke, an attorney for the Village of Bridgeview. "We are not afraid of the truth."

Landek did not return phone messages requesting comment.

LaFlamboy's lawyer, Michael Ettinger, said he, too, is eager for the tapes to be released and is confident in his client's case. LaFlamboy says in his deposition the mayor acknowledges on tape that he received money characterized as a bribe in the lawsuit, according to a source familiar with his deposition.

"We welcome the release of the tapes," said Ettinger.

Thanks to Steve Warmbir

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