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Mayoral Foe Sues Tinley Park

Steve Eberhardt claims village blocked him from participating in Discover Tinley expo.

A local attorney who challenged Ed Zabrocki in the last mayoral election has filed a lawsuit claiming he and his supporters were blocked from participating in the "Discover Tinley" expo.

Steve Eberhardt, who lost his spring 2013 bid for the mayor's seat, filed a claim in federal court on Feb. 6 listing the village, Zabrocki, various elected officials and staff as defendants. He claims his First Amendment rights were violated.

"The mayor uses his official position to try and thwart the free speech of everybody that's not one of his supporters," Eberhardt told the Chicago Tribune. "Part and parcel of that is to use the assets and the benefits of being the mayor for his own personal and political advantage."

Eberhardt, who blogs as Tinley Sparks, said he was told he could not have a booth at the convention center where the expo his held because political groups aren't allowed space at the expo. But Eberhardt counters that the mayor and village trustees touted their "Team Tinley" group at the expo and campaigned at the event.

Zabrocki told the Tribune this is a "vindictive" lawsuit.
TP Resident February 13, 2014 at 07:24 AM
He is a nut job.
TP Karen February 13, 2014 at 09:10 AM
Sounds like he has a point...if the mayor's "team" has a similar booth, why should Eberhardt be denied? Rights are rights...we are all entitled (the last time I heard!)
Grew up in TP February 13, 2014 at 09:29 AM
This guy needs a life! All the time/ money spent on all his craziness .... is well, just crazy! Move along sir, and find someone else to bully!
Paulie Gualtieri February 13, 2014 at 11:10 AM
I spent some time reading a good portion of the Eberhardt complaint and I must say that "Z"'s cronies took a couple of pages out of the playbook that we precinct captains used to use in the 11th ward in the early 80's. Chasing opponents away from public events and properties. Calling the cops on opponents standing on the public sidewalk in front of your business. Pretty funny though that Maher ends up unknowingly ringing Stever's doorbell while door to door campaigning. Overall, Neihaus and the TPPD did a good job of keeping the Zabrocki cronies from getting to far out of line, so I don't know if there is anything really actionable in the lawsuit besides Stever not getting his own booth at the Discover Tinley Expo. Officially "Team Z" didn't have a booth either, but was there representing the village. Stever's seventy plus pages ultimately left me with an ugly view on both parties in the lawsuit. Bickering about how many "likes" they receive on Facebook pages that I didn't even know that existed until I read the lawsuit and Team Z giving village money to buddies to create Facebook pages that 98% of Tinley doesn't know about.
TVSteve February 13, 2014 at 02:21 PM
Exactly, you ready Eberhardts complaint, which is complete BS and lies! He is a bully that makes things up and this is no different. Eberwhatever was given the exact same rules as the Mayor. NOBODY is allowed to campaign at DT and it has been that way before Eberwhatever entered into the picture. The difference is that Eberwhatever is a sore loser that got absolutely destroyed in the election. You couldn't get that few of votes if you TRIED! He was allowed to have a booth for his ambulance chasing business, but that wasn't good enough for him. He is no more than a sore loser that is bullying people like a kid on the school yard. He wants you to believe him so you will join his pathetic lonely life, But as the election proved nobody cares or believes him! This waste of the public money defending this stupidity will have the same results... Everywhatever on the losing side AGAIN!
TP Resident February 13, 2014 at 02:56 PM
Eberhardt is good at wasting the tax payers $ on goofy things.
Jack Smith February 13, 2014 at 03:51 PM
Talk about a lose cannon! He's costing all of us taxpayers money with his frivolous lawsuits and freedom of information requests from our village. If he has that much time, why doesn't he do some good for the village instead of trying to tear it down. Discover Tinley has always eliminated politics from its venue. Discover Tinley is about local business and the chance to discover what's available in our neighborhood. Why are the trustees there? Simple, they represent the Village of Tinley Park. Everyone had the chance to vote them out and didn't. If you don't like it - MOVE! We won't miss you!
Kevin Dirks February 13, 2014 at 04:04 PM
I agree with everyone, except TPKaren. But then again, I'm betting good odds that you are Eberhardt cronie Karen Martens-Weigand. Just sayin....
Paulie Gualtieri February 13, 2014 at 04:21 PM
Yup, Ebby definitely isn't Tinley Park's savior, but his 175 pages of lawsuit and supporting documents does illustrate what my friend of a friend, Betty Loren-Maltese, said recently regarding local Chicago politics: “I believe the system of expanded services, perks and employment rewards isn't a government function but a government-funded voter bribery system designed to keep 10 percent of the population under control" “Cicero has about 90,000 residents, but with low voter turnout it only takes about 6,000 votes to win, which is generally 3,000 families." You figure Tinley is only around 60,000 residents, so even less votes to win, but like somebody said, Ebby failed miserably in the last election. His whole hope is that he can get the mandatory term limits referendum passed, so that he can be like Rea and get elected by default.
Master of Reality February 13, 2014 at 04:34 PM
The main thrust of his complaint really doesn't seem to be that strong. For the 100th time Team Tinley had no booth. Tinley Park did and yes village officials were there. Unless they are supposed to wear Groucho Marx glasses they have every right to be there representing the office they hold. A pamphlet listing contacts for the village would be meaningless if all the information about the people was redacted.
jammecrazy February 13, 2014 at 05:58 PM
My biggest concern is Ebby suing volunteers that give their time to make special events happen for the Village of Tinley. These volunteers give so much time and effort to make Tinley Park a great place to live and work. In my opinion, he is abusing his power as an attorney to bully both employees and volunteers of Tinley Park. It is apparent that he is trying his hardest to put Tinley Park in the red. I don't think many people want someone of his caliber running the city.
concerned February 13, 2014 at 06:46 PM
Which one of them has the fatter double chin?
Jessica February 13, 2014 at 11:31 PM
I just don't understand he did have a booth for his attorneys office and the village had their booth. Regardless what's the big deal both parties were told the rules were no campaigning inside outside was fine. However the stupid rabbit walked around handing out stuff wearing his sign. What I don't understand he lost by so much obviously people see right through the lies. I as a tax payer am really tired of looking at the village website seeing Karen and Steve foia all these documents, for what reason? They have spent over $60,000 that to me is more insane than anything else! If you don't like how tinley is ran nobody is keeping you here, infect there's probably a ton that would help pack your stuff!!
TP Mom February 14, 2014 at 07:08 AM
More sour grapes from the sorest loser around. Face it, you lost and you lost HARD. Move on. This right here illustrates why I am NOT for term limits and would not sign their petition every time one of their campaign crew bothered me at the library, 4th of July, Music in the Park, or other events. If Zabrocki was termed out, and all we were left with was Eberhardt, or Willette, or some other poorly qualified candidate, it would be disastrous.
TP Karen February 14, 2014 at 10:43 AM
Kevin Dirks, sorry to disappoint. Hope you're not a betting man. I didn't even vote for SE, nor did I vote for the Big Z. However, I do feel that the Tinley Machine has to be broken up. As to the waste of money, yes frivolous lawsuits are wasteful in most cases, but TP has wasted so much taxpayer money over the years that this is a drop in the bucket IMHO.
Master of Reality February 14, 2014 at 11:07 AM
I don't see how this suit even comes close to breaking up whatever machine there is or isn't. Read the whole lawsuit, as droll as it is. All the FOIA's that have been done and the biggest smoking gun is a secretary who made an honest mistake and tickets to shows that people pay full boat for. Would I like access to the best seats too? Sure, but for what these people make and the hours they put in I don't think a few tickets that they pay for are a big deal. In fact with all the investigation that has been done TP looks squeaky clean when compared to other towns. Term limits? Maybe for mayor, and I repeat maybe because I am a believer in the ballot box as a term limit, but for Trustees? C'mon we would run out of people wanting to serve in no time.
Local Citizen February 14, 2014 at 11:27 AM
Wow, what a way to unite your village and the citizens who you wanted to elect you, by suing volunteers??? Eberjerk keeps harping about how much money the village wastes. Thousands in FOIA's and now having to incur the legal costs of defending the about 3 dozen people you're suing.....that's your solution to stop the waste?? As far as I'm concerned, it was a waste of our tax dollars to send you to school, while you were a paid village employee. Didn't mind that little perk did you? You must not have many clients if you have so much time to rant on your sparks page and facebook and file foia's and lawsuits. Dude, take your bitter attitude and your girlfriend Karen and move to someplace like Harvey or Robbins where they have real problems. Jeez, one day you're gonna die a bitter, lonely old man, and deservedly so!!
Master of Reality February 14, 2014 at 12:03 PM
I might understand this a little if the last election was close. Keep your name in front of people, bide your time and then run again. If the last election was close it would maybe somehow validate all the FOIA's and his MO. But he got trounced, which means one of 2 things. One people are fine with Z or the people don't think Eberhardt is the answer. Either way this lawsuit does nothing but cut into whatever possible support he thought he would have come election time.
Grew up in TP February 14, 2014 at 12:06 PM
If I was the Mayor (or any of his staff being sued) I would certainly have long filed a cease & desist order on him LONG AGO! The guy is a nut job!
Pat C. February 17, 2014 at 10:42 AM
Oh come on Tinley people, do we really have to resort to name-calling? How old are we anyway? Steve Eberhardt did not rack up $60,000 in FOIA requests, that's just what the Zabrocky administration wanted you to believe. In case you didn’t know FIOA requests are EVERYBODY's right, he was just exercising his, something more of us should do in order to keep our governments honest. But instead, we are apathetic and blasé and as long as it does not affect us directly or personally, we could care less about it. We should be thankful to Steve Eberhardt for he is doing all of us a big favor. He is trying to shed some light on what is really going on with our Tinley Park officials and all we do is call him names. Yes, he lost big in the last election, but if the 74% of the Tinley Park residents that voted in favor of Term Limits had actually gone out and voted for the man trying to institute them, then he would have won. But I guess it was just too much of a hassle to go out on a chilly night and vote. It’s so much easier to just complain, criticize and name call. Oh, and all those so called “volunteers” that are getting sued, they are business people getting tax breaks and other “considerations” from the village. THAT, my dear TP residents is what is costing us more tax dollars than a few FOIA requests. In my opinion, too many people, both business owners and private citizens, have become financially dependent on Zabrocky remaining mayor and this has to stop. It’s good that someone is finally standing up to the established administration and shedding light on their actions. We should ALL do the same, unless of course we’re part of said administration. A Tinley Park Resident
Master of Reality February 17, 2014 at 11:21 AM
A couple things. Equating a vote for Eberhardt with a vote for term limits is misguided. I may agree with a certain aspect of a candidate's platform, but that doesn't mean I support the candidate overall. People may be for term limits but didn't support Eberhardt. The numbers are correct on the FOIA's. They aren't a few as you say, and if they aren't why would the village have had to hire an employee to deal with just the FOIA's from Tinley Sparks? Tax breaks? Name one town that doesn't do it. At this point it really is the only way to attract business development. After being one of the highest taxed states and watching businesses leave in droves, New York is now trying to attract them back. Start ups can operate tax free for ten years.
TP Resident February 17, 2014 at 11:36 AM
Please look for yourself. http://www.tinleypark.org/Archive/40 I'm sure it's well over $80,000 by now in FOIA requests by this man. One request cost over $8,000. Why? Because he is noisy. The man has nothing else to do with his time. Most of the requests are just dumb. Simply a waste of tax dollars. He is only pushing for term limits because he knows he doesn't have a chance in hell otherwise. The day this jerk is elected to a village board position is the day I move out of Tinley. If he can waste our money on FOIA imagine what he would waste our money on then.

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