Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Bridgeview officials subpoenaed in probe

Friends of mine: Fred Pascente
Friends of ours: William Hanhardt


The U.S. attorney's office has subpoenaed trustees and employees of the Village of Bridgeview as part of its investigation into whether coercive tactics were used to lure the Chicago Fire soccer team to town.

John LaFlamboy, who was the owner of the World Golf Dome, filed a lawsuit in August against Bridgeview Mayor Steve Landek and other town officials saying they ran a conspiracy to strong-arm him into selling his 50 percent ownership interest in the dome to the city. The village used the dome successfully to lure the Fire to Bridgeview.

Subpoenas went out to village trustees and to "a handful" of employees, said attorney Chris Gair, who is representing them. Landek and other possible targets of the investigation apparently did not get subpoenas. Landek declined to comment.

LaFlamboy charges he refused all pressure from the village to sell his dome, even after he said the village sent inspectors and police out to give him bogus tickets, including one for providing pizza without a proper license, even though the pizza was for disabled children. He also faced nuisance lawsuits, he said.

In September 2003, LaFlamboy said Landek's $3,200-a-month consultant, Steve Reynolds, and former Chicago Police detective Fred Pascente showed up at LaFlamboy's office and used strong-arm tactics to pressure him into selling his ownership stake to Pascente for $175,000. LaFlamboy said it was worth about $1.5 million.

Pascente, a friend of convicted former Chicago Chief of Detectives William Hanhardt, has denied wrongdoing or having mob connections, even though he is banned from Nevada casinos for alleged mob ties. He is a convicted felon.

Trustee Norma J. Pinion said she was informed there was a letter on her desk waiting for her regarding the subpoena.

Thanks to Mark J. Konkol and Abdon M. Pallasch

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