The former village administrator of North Riverside has filed a federal lawsuit seeking compensation for injuries endured during a beating he allegedly endured outside a Forest Park restaurant last year.
The suit, filed by Wayne Pesek, 55, alleges that he endured “multiple fractures to various facial bones, his rubs and back, along with permanent spinal damage, brain injury, and bruises and contusions so severe blood blotting developed” during the incident outside the Golden Steer Restaurant, 7635 Roosevelt Road.
It also states that the defendants prevented Pesek from getting proper medical attention and stood in the way of an adequate investigation following the incident, which occurred at about 11:30 p.m. on April 5, 2005 according to a Forest Park police report.
The 27-count lawsuit, filed March 20 in U.S. District Court, names the City of Berwyn as well as its former director of public safety, Frank Marzullo; his brother, Russell Marzullo; and his son, Jerry Marzullo, an assistant Cook County state’s attorney and former aldermanic candidate in Berwyn.
Also named are Berwyn police officers Michael Fellows and Michael Vokac, firefighters Brian Marquardt and Russell Marzullo Jr. and Charles Baugh, an alleged supporter of Jerry Marzullo in his run for alderman.
Jerry Marzullo ran for alderman as part the Regular Berwyn Democratic Organization, a slate which was defeated across the board in the April 5, 2005 election. His father, Frank Marzullo, who retired from his job with the City of Berwyn soon after news broke of the alleged beating, was a high-ranking official with that political organization.
The suit accuses Frank Marzullo and other Berwyn officials of using their status to punish and intimidate political opponents on occasions prior to the incident involving Pesek.
“Berwyn’s policy making officials, with power to appoint, supervise, discipline, remove or discharge Frank Marzullo and other Berwyn officials, turned a blind eye to the obvious need to take action to curb their abuses,” states the suit, calling this lack of action a “driving force and proximate cause’ of the beating.
The suit states that Frank Marzullo and Michael Fellows, a Berwyn police officer, were acting as agents of Berwyn at the time of the incident, and that the City of Berwyn is, therefore, liable for their actions.
Frank, Russell and Jerry Marzullo, as well as Fellows and Baugh, were indicted for their role in the incident by the Illinois Attorney General’s Office in late April, 2005, but the case has yet to go to trial.
The suit states that Pesek was first assaulted by one of the defendants, and others joined in the beating. Pesek, it states, pleaded with Frank Marzullo to come to his assistance, but Marzullo instead struck Pesek in the face and instructed the others to take him outside the restaurants, where the beating allegedly continued.
The suit states that throughout the time incident, the defendants prevented Golden Steer employees and customers from coming to Pesek’s aid. When Forest Park police arrived, it states, Frank Marzullo “interfered with and impaired the investigation conducted by the Forest Park police.”
No dollar amount is specified in the suit for an award, but it seeks both compensatory damages and attorney’s fees and well as punitive damages against the defendants.
Bartender also files suit
On March 24, a second federal lawsuit was filed concerning the same incident, this one by Elba Garagher, a bartender at the Golden Steer at the time of the alleged beating. The same defendants, including the City of Berwyn, are named in that suit.
In her suit, Garagher states that after witnessing the start of the beating, she attempted to intervene, but was struck and tossed into a vestibule. It goes on to state that she was later restrained by Russell Marzullo from coming to Pesek’s assistance and struck in the face by both Frank and Russell Marzullo.
The suit alleges that Garagher “suffered permanent physical and emotional injuries, pain and suffering, humiliation, disability, medical expenses, lost earnings and disfigurement” as a result of the plaintiffs’ actions.
Like Pesek’s suit, Garagher’s alleges that the events of April 5, 2005 were representative of “a longstanding and pervasive practice” of the City of Berwyn and Frank Marzullo. The suit seeks both compensatory and punitive damages.
Berwyn officials did not return calls seeking comment about the lawsuits.