An article exposing Karen Yarbrough and Ed Smith using governmental property for state purposes was recently published in the West Suburban Journal. Here's the article written by L. Nicole Trottie and Kevin Williams:
Broadview residents demanded answers to the cozy arrangement
between the village and two elected officials at the Tuesday, January
22, village board meeting.
The Journal-News first reported January 17, on office space
accommodations provided to Congressman Danny K. Davis (7th
District) and State Rep. Karen Yarbrough (7th District) by the Village
of Broadview located at 2301-2305 Roosevelt Road.
The large vacant building, once owned by a print manufacturer, was
offered to Davis and Yarbrough about three years ago, rent free
minus utilities, by Broadview mayor Henry Vicenik and the village
board, according to Vicenik.
Sue Henry, of Broadview, spoke Tuesday at the village board
meeting about the “corruption” and fleecing of taxpayers.
“You and the board agreed to give office space to Congressman
Davis and Karen Yarbrough at no charge?” Henry said to Vicenik.
“As a Broadview taxpayer, I don’t agree to that.”
Documentation received by the Journal-News under the Freedom of
Information Act confirms that no lease or lease payments by Davis
and Yarbrough are on record with the village. Vicenik said the board’
s decision to offer the space rent free was never a board agenda
The agreement between the village and state officials, solidified by a
gentlemen’s handshake, is in violation of the Open Meetings Act,
according to Henry who is also a District 209 School Board member.
Vicenik counters, the decision by the board is justified as providing a
service to Broadview residents.
“I thought it would be good for the village and residents to have a
state representative and congressman here as a resource for the
people of Broadview,” Vicenik said Tuesday.
Henry, fired back, “who gave you the right to do that? Who gave you
the right to use our tax dollars to do that?”
Vicenik refused comment.
Vicenik and the board were also taken to task by residents about a
political campaign office run out of the same building occupied by
Davis and Yarbrough.
Vicenik plead temporary memory loss when it came time for
explanation. “I was not aware of a political office,” he said. But
residents and Henry didn’t buy it.
“Come on mayor, how could you not know a political office was
running out of there when campaign workers from the West side are
coming in and out of Broadview, day and night, parking illegally on
the sidewalk to load up Ed Smith political signs into trucks,” Henry
Yarbrough, also the Proviso Township Democratic committeeman,
operates the Democratic Party Organization from the rent free space
at 2301 Roosevelt Road in Broadview, according to Yarbrough ally
and Maywood trustee Gary Woll. A “separate office”, once used to
house Ceasefire, a state funded program disband last year, is
allegedly used for the committeeman office. However, the separate
office does not have a separate address, or separate outside
entrance or exit.
Ed Smith, a 28th Ward Alderman from Chicago’s West side, is
challenging incumbent and Democratic Party candidate Eugene
“Gene” Moore of Maywood for the Cook County Recorder of Deeds
Yarbrough, a long-time political nemesis of Moore, is campaign co-
chairman for Ed Smith. Larry Shapiro, administrative assistant to
Congressman Davis, also works for Smith as the campaign
communication spokesperson, according to Smith’s website.
Shapiro is under investigation for allegedly living in subsidized
housing in the Village of Bellwood.
Requests by the Journal-News under the Freedom of Information Act
for a list of village owned real estate and tenants was denied by
village attorney’s Ancel and Glink on condition of ‘civilian privacy
About two weeks ago, campaign workers were photographed, by
Maywood residents Dorothy Lane Thomas and Lula Greenhow,
carrying out yard signs for Smith, from the front door entrance of
2301 Roosevelt Rd. The address is listed on several Illinois
government websites as one of Davis’ local offices.
Most candidates running for elected office publicize their campaign
headquarters address and phone number, said former Proviso
Township Democratic Committeeman, Moore.
“When I was committeeman we rented a visible office space on 5th
Avenue (in Maywood)…everyone knew where we were. We paid
rent,” Moore said. “We operated our organization up front and by
the book. I can’t say the same for this new organization... they are
giving the Democratic Party a bad name at a critical point in election
Smith’s political headquarters location is not listed on campaign
literature, including his website. Also, the campaign phone number is
Henry said the whole setup reeks of corruption. “Who would run a
legitimate campaign and not publish the address and phone
number?” she said.
“You want people to know where you are, unless you’re doing
Smith, in December 2007, reported $84,658 in campaign
expenditures, according to Illinois State Board of Election semi-
annual disclosure statements. The report also lists Smith’s campaign
office address at 2301 Roosevelt Rd in Broadview, but shows no
itemization for rent paid by Smith’s campaign to the Village of
Broadview or another party.
Smith gets booted out of Broadview
Mayor Vicenik announced Tuesday that he and the board will meet
with the village attorney to draft a formal paid lease agreement for
Davis and Yarbrough.
Vicenik added the village will shut down the political office and all