An account executive at the waste hauling firm used by the village of North Riverside wrote to the village administrator last month to complain he was being “harassed” by the husband of a village trustee.
Mayor Hubert Hermanek Jr. read the letter from Edward McCormick of Roy Strom Refuse Removal Service, printed on company letterhead, aloud during the mayoral report portion of village board’s March 1 meeting.
McCormick in his letter accused David Mandel, the husband of Trustee Marybelle Mandel, of “harassing our team members, stating we are a horrible company and more trouble, a racist company.”
McCormick wrote that David Mandel had called the company “numerous” times and complained the company did not haul away construction material for free, a service not provided by the company.
More troubling, according to McCormick, Mandel threatened that “when his wife becomes mayor, we will be thrown out of town.”
Marybelle Mandel, who won election as trustee in 2019 and is one of three people running for mayor this spring, stated, “That’s a lie,” when Hermanek read that part of the letter.
McCormick did not respond to phone messages left by the Landmark seeking more information on David Mandel’s calls to the company.
Marybelle Mandel faces Hermanek and fellow Trustee Joseph Mengoni in the mayoral race. Election Day is April 6.
McCormick’s letter is the latest flashpoint over the village’s waste hauling contract with Roy Strom. In January, it was announced that Lakeshore Recycling Systems would purchase Roy Strom, which apparently led Mandel to question whether the existing contract would still be valid or open to renegotiation.
North Riverside hired Roy Strom as its waste hauling firm in 2012 after a competitive bidding process. As the initial contract approached its 2017 expiration date, village board voted to extend the contract for another 10 years, with Roy Strom agreeing to freeze its residential waste hauling rates for three years.
Trustees, including H. Bob Demopoulos, who is co-chairman of Mandel’s political party, voted unanimously for the extension.
At the village board’s meeting on Jan. 18, Mandel angrily accused the village’s administration of withholding the waste hauling contract from her, with Hermanek allegedly responding to her request, according to Mandel, by saying it “was none of my business.”
“What is the administration hiding from the public?” Mandel asked.
Hermanek responded that the village was halfway through the contract and that the sale of Strom to Lakeshore Recycling Systems had not been finalized.
“Whatever you’re looking for is premature and I told you that,” Hermanek said. “There’s nothing to discuss and nothing to see.”
The village’s waste hauling contract with Roy Strom, a copy of which the Landmark obtained via a Freedom of Information request, is a pretty straightforward 11-page document that lays out the terms and responsibilities of each party as well as the rate structure.
The contract does not have a specific severability clause, apart from actions each party can take if the other fails to perform their contractual duties. It also states that any modifications to the contract need to be agreed upon in writing by both parties.
Also on March 1, Hermanek read a letter dated Jan. 4 from Roy Strom President George Strom and Lakeshore Recycling Systems CEO Alan Handley announcing the merger and indicating the change would be seamless for residents.