North Riverside Village Commons, 2401 Desplaines Ave. | File 2021

Precinct-level election results released by the Cook County Clerk’s Office in the weeks since election day on April 4 indicate that North Riverside United winning three trustee seats on the village board was a nearly clean sweep.

In three out of the village’s four precincts, North Riverside United’s candidates – Antonio Santucci, Deborah Czajka and Nicholas Tricoci – triumphed by large margins over the Municipal Integrity Party’s trio of incumbent Marybelle Mandel and Sandra Greicius and Joseph Maruska as well as independent Jose Del Angel.

Only in Riverside Township Precinct 13, which is bounded by Cermak Road, 24th Street, Burr Oak Avenue and 9th Avenue, did North Riverside United not take all three of the spots.

In the 13th Precinct, where both Mandel and Czajka live, Mandel placed third, edging out Tricoci and finishing just two votes behind Santucci and nine votes behind Czajka.

In the remaining two Riverside Township precincts and in the lone Proviso Township Precinct in the village, the numbers were not close. Final voter turnout was right at 26%, according to the Cook County Clerk, with 1,328 ballots cast.

Two years ago, when Mandel placed second in a three-way race for North Riverside mayor, there were 1,834 ballots cast.

In 2019, when Mandel won election as North Riverside trustee, voters cast 1,824 ballots and she was the vote leader in three of the four precincts. She also outcampaigned her opponents from the VIP Party, which folded a year later.

North Riverside United was born from that dissolution, and in 2021 mounted a strong campaign, something the party did again in 2023, backed by an infusion of cash from outside contributors to their political committee.

North Riverside United raised $26,250 during the first quarter of 2023, according to the committee’s D2 campaign disclosure form filed with the Illinois Board of Elections, and spent almost $19,000, primarily on the design, printing and mailing of campaign materials.

The party’s biggest single contribution, of $2,000, came from Friends of Paul O’Grady, the political committee for Orland Township Supervisor Paul O’Grady. 

North Riverside United received $1,500 contributions from 7222 Cermak Holdings LLC, which owns the “skyscraper” building at that address; the Local 3 PAC Fund, which supports candidates who back organized labor; Nobs Towing, the company the village uses for police towing; and Joe Rizza, who formerly ran a car dealership for many years in North Riverside.

Contributions of $1,000 came from COA PAC, whose chairman is Christopher Nybo, who is North Riverside’s paid lobbyist; Frank A. Novotny & Associates Inc., the village’s engineering firm; Ironworkers Local 1; and North Riverside Park Mall.

By contrast, the Municipal Integrity Party raised $6,850 in the first quarter of 2023, which included an $800 loan from Mandel. Minus the loan repayment, which is listed as an expenditure on the party’s D2, the Municipal Integrity Party spent just under $6,000 during the campaign.

Mandel, Greicius and Maruska each contributed $1,500 to the political committee, accounting for the majority of non-loan contributions.