The union representing Brookfield public works employees is throwing its financial weight behind the Common Sense Party candidates in their bid to wrest control of the village board from the PEP Party.
According to a campaign contribution filing dated March 28, Teamsters Local 705 Political Action Committee B contributed $5,000 to the Common Sense Party’s political committee on March 27.
The party’s candidate for village president, Roberto “Bobby” Garcia made a splash in February, when he made his first public appearance at a village board meeting where Teamsters members gathered village hall outside to protest the treatment of public works employees by village management.
Garcia questioned Village President Kit Ketchmark – who is his opponent in the election that will culminate on April 4 – about the apparent labor strife and held up a flier stating “take out management” with gunsights targeting the names of Village Manager Keith Sbiral and Public Works Director Kenneth Blaauw.
At the meeting, Garcia suggested Sbiral had planted the fliers inside village hall and implied there was video to prove it. A couple of weeks later, Garcia posted a video on Facebook bringing up the same claims and calling on Sbiral to resign if the claims were proven true.
No one claimed responsibility for the flier. Sbiral dismissed the idea he planted the fliers, and both the union and Garcia denied responsibility. Garcia later admitted no video existed of Sbiral planting the fliers, and he dropped the issue in subsequent public forums.
The Teamsters PAC that contributed to the Common Sense Party’s political committee is an active contributor to political causes.
Since 2008, the PAC has contributed $8,000 to Berwyn Mayor Robert Lovero. The Common Sense Party’s candidate for village clerk, Leilani “Lani” Cappetta, is a retired Berwyn police officer who rose to the rank of commander before retiring in 2011.
Since 2015, Cappetta has donated $1,000 to Lovero’s political committee and another $1,245 to Lovero’s political party, Democratic Citizens of Berwyn.
Cappetta presently is employed as a safety training officer at Morton College, whose campus safety director is Frank Marzullo, the one-time Berwyn public safety director.
The Teamsters PAC since 2015 has also donated $6,000 to political committees associated with Lyons Village President Christopher Getty.
On March 28, the Common Sense Party got a $1,000 donation from Gold Rush Amusement, a video gambling machine vendor who supplies machines used in Garcia’s Berwyn fast-food business on Ogden Avenue.
At public forums, Garcia has said he is open to the idea of allowing video gambling parlors in Brookfield, suggesting that perhaps the matter should go to voters in the form of a referendum.
Garcia has acknowledged that a couple of years ago he approached Ketchmark with the idea of allowing him to obtain a liquor license for his Brookfield laundromat business in order to put gambling machines there.
Ketchmark turned him down. In recent years, the village board has held firm against stand-alone gambling parlors and has passed laws making it difficult to do so.
The Common Sense Party on March 27 also received a $1,000 contribution from Las Delicias De Michoacan #1, a Cicero ice cream parlor.
To date, the PEP Party’s political committee created for the 2017 election has received $12,000 in two equal contributions in March from the party’s primary political committee, Peoples Economy Party, which had about $11,000 its coffers at the end of 2016.
Since the beginning of 2016, the biggest contributors to Peoples Economy Party, outside of party members, were firms who do business with the village of Brookfield.
In 2016, Edwin Hancock Engineering contributed $1,500. Groot, the village’s waste hauler, contributed $1,000. Lyons Pinner Electric Company and Storino, Ramello and Durkin, the village’s legal counsel, each contributed $500. Also contributing $500 in 2016 was Tony’s Breakfast Cafe amd Friends of Jeffrey Tobolski, the political committee of the Cook County commissioner and mayor of McCook.