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T.J. Somer Tackles a Policeman's Past and Political Double Dipping

The City's corporate counsel answered five of your tough questions at his Chicago Heights law office.

After , I visited Chicago Heights Corporate Counsel and Bloom Township Supervisor T.J. Somer with a video camera in hand.

T.J. answered questions from Patch users and fans of our Facebook page about his past as a policeman, his dual roles and even those red light cameras we all love so much. Check out the above video to see what he had to say. 

Thanks , , , , and Chris Baikauskas for the great questions!

If you have a suggestion for the next Tough Questions candidate, send an email to christopher.paicely@patch.com.

Winston Wolf May 31, 2011 at 12:42 PM
I find the first response a little interesting - he is a policeman at heart from the day he was born until the day he dies. I have heard from multiple sources that Mr. Somer has stated repeatedly that his lifelong ambition is to be a judge. Some would even say that he sold out his political supporters in order to try for that position. Didn't hear that mentioned. His other answers were very informative.
Mick June 01, 2011 at 04:55 AM
I don't agree with you about his answers, especially the one I asked, the last one. I did make a mistake. It was the Park District that did not bid its cleaning supplies, but the same group owns the City, the Park District, Prairie State, 170, and the last holdout, 206. Mr. Somer, by extension, is counsel for all of them. He doesn't answer the question, but deflects it. I googled RFQ, and asked what is the difference between a bid and an RFQ. Here is a copy of the result: During a bid, price is the most deciding factor for award. Bid examples include: construction, equipment, materials and supplies. An RFP (Request for Proposals) or RFQ (Request for Qualifications) is used more where price is a consideration, but not the most weighed factor. Other factors considered include: 1. Qualifications in Relation to Specific Project to be Performed 2. Experience, Competence, and Capacity for Performance 3. Work Method and Location of Facilities 4. Past Performance 5. Price (not considered in an RFQ) RFQ's are only done for architectural, engineering and legal services. He says that Mayor Gonzalez is sending out RFQ's. I am glad he is explaining the new mayor's first week or two, but he clearly dodged the question. If you read the above, are cleaning supplies to be bid, or RFQ'd. Price is supposed to be the deciding factor for supplies. Is Perez an engineering firm or legal firm? Good dodge Mr. Somer, but where are the bids?
jason amos June 01, 2011 at 05:11 PM
You are correct Mick. But this is how Chicago Hts is run and until more people get pissed off like me and you nothing will change. If I was 40 percent cheaper on supplies to PD,because I'm not a friend I wouldn't get it that's how it works.
Winston Wolf June 01, 2011 at 05:24 PM
Your baseless assertion about an imaginary 40% lower price is laughable, and getting "pissed off" is not going to solve anything. If you are looking to make a change in government, you should put together a group and run for office. Learn to use FOIA requests, assemble a coalition, become a leader of men. It's easy to sit on the sidelines and lob verbal assaults on the character of our public officials. However, your failure to even qualify for the ballot in a park district commissioner's race speaks volumes about your competence (as if your writing skills on this website didn't speak loudly enough).
Winston Wolf June 01, 2011 at 05:27 PM
Mick, you asked about a Park District issue. Mr. Somer is the Corporate Counsel for the City of Chicago Heights. Regardless of his political leanings, he is not the legal counsel for the Park District or any of the schools. Therefore he has no basis for answering a question about a Park District contract from two years ago. If anything, he took pity on you rather than taking you to task for asking such a confused and invalid question.
jason amos June 01, 2011 at 05:57 PM
Blah Blah. Its still amazing Winston can't put your real name. Just like all the others. Digger,Secret Rat,and Winston.But when I send verbal assults I put my name unlike you coward.
Winston Wolf June 01, 2011 at 07:45 PM
As in the past, I will continue to share my views on local issues and will not be distracted by your name-calling. Incidentally, I don't hear you berating "Mick" for not using his full/real name. I advise you to get on board and reach out to Mr. Stanfa. Maybe he will let you take over his Park District spot when he's ready to retire.
jason amos June 01, 2011 at 08:39 PM
Can't reach Mr Stanfa ! Tried his house numerous times,as well as emailed him with NO reply. Could be that he lives in another house? Oh you are advising me,not a chance of "getting on board" with anything or anybody associated with the Unity Party.
Mick June 02, 2011 at 03:11 AM
District Supt. Alex Lopez - who also is the mayor of Chicago Heights - said he would answer questions from board members concerning the no-bid work during the meeting. Since 2004, the Chicago Heights Park District has paid South Suburban Chemical and Supply $382,963 for cleaning services and supplies. In 2009, the city of Chicago Heights paid South Suburban $4,594. The company is owned by Frank Perez, former park district human resources director and current … Let's see. Mayor Lopez, whose counsel is Mr. Somer, was also the Park District Superintendent, and their counsel is? Great idea about issuing FOIA's. Where are the bids from the City and the Park District? How about Prairie State and 170? Winston, you want to yell in triumph how great the Unity Party is and how much they control, but when someone says that there are incestuous relationships between them (odd that now 206 has the same attorney that was chosen for 170), we are not to question if there is one puppetmaster. I take pity on you, because the more you open up your keyboard, the more damage you do to these people you worship. Your arguments that Gonzalez is a breath of fresh air is dampened by the fact that the people behind him having been pulling the strings for a long time. Meet the new boss...same as the old boss. I posted this previous to yours: "I did make a mistake. It was the Park District that did not bid its cleaning supplies." Quit clarifying me on what I am already clear.
Mick June 02, 2011 at 03:42 AM
I don't irritate people with cheerleading, but ask valid questions. You make more enemies on this site than anyone with your blind loyalty. Your arguments are lacking. For example, Mr. Amos says this: "If I was 40 percent cheaper on supplies to PD..." and your reply is: "Your baseless assertion about an imaginary 40% lower price is laughable..." Mr. Amos is making a conditional statement, an imaginary situation, and you think he made an assertion? Saying "if I were President" doesn't mean I am asserting I am. Then, you insinuate Giannetti must be a crook because he is related to Prisco, but when Faso insinuates that Gonzalez must be into drugs like his brother, you are all over him. You should not have thrown that out there, knowing someone would call out your hypocrisy from prior posts. Has the Unity Party given you a uniform yet? A flag? A secret handshake? A pledge? A salute? Are they telling you that you are going to go places? Do you and Secret Squirrel give each other five? Keep typing. You are amusing. I would guess you have always been a follower. Join us and we will give you a pin.
Winston Wolf June 02, 2011 at 04:08 AM
If I am not mistaken, the Park District situation was reported in the Southtown prior to the election. I think we all know how that election turned out, so it seems that your concerns have already been addressed and dismissed by the voters. As far as my "enemies" on this site, I can't tell you how little that means to me. You do not know me personally, therefore you cannot be my enemy. We can only meet on the intellectual battlefield, which is how I prefer it.
Mick June 03, 2011 at 02:34 AM
"District Supt. Alex Lopez - who also is the mayor of Chicago Heights - said he would answer questions from board members concerning the no-bid work during the meeting." This is what was reported. Did this ever happen? Tragically, Mayor Lopez passed, but the investigation should go on. If the city's board won't, maybe the law will. My concerns were not dismissed by the voters. Remember, voters chose Barrabas over Jesus. They chose Nixon. They chose Hitler. When a few voters put someone over the top, the others should accept? There is always the next election. There is always dissent. By your logic, Giannetti should be left alone, because the elected school board chose him to be superintendent; therefore, your concerns have been addressed and dismissed by the voters. Enemy might be too strong of a word. Let's just say you draw the most attention.
Winston Wolf June 03, 2011 at 05:51 PM
You should direct your questions to the Park District board. Meetings are held monthly. I am not sure what Hitler or Nixon have to do with this story. Your question to Mr. Somer involved a political body with which he has no official position. If you were asking about a contract at the city or the township, then it would have been a valid topic. You made a mistake, and Mr. Somer swatted it away as if you were a child. Please try to regroup and get better at framing your queries rather than invoking Hitler.
jason amos June 03, 2011 at 06:15 PM
Ya Mick. Winstons right,he's always right. Didn't you know that,us comman folk don't understand. We should just jump on board.
Winston Wolf June 03, 2011 at 07:21 PM
"Common", not comman.
Juvenal June 03, 2011 at 08:16 PM
Ah yes, the great intellectual battlefields: Cambridge, Oxford, New Haven .... and Da Heights
jason amos June 03, 2011 at 08:58 PM
Wow weird Digger said same thang. "Thing" sorry Winston or is it Digger.
Mick June 07, 2011 at 03:17 AM
You cannot see what Hitler and Nixon have to do with this story? Let's break it down for you. You said, "I think we all know how that election turned out, so it seems that your concerns have already been addressed and dismissed by the voters." I am saying that Hitler, Nixon, and Barrabas were elected; therefore, anyone dissenting should have his concerns dismissed as they were addressed. I am not comparing the importance of Mr. Somer to these historical figures, but using hyperbole to show the silliness of your childish argument. Follow this, as anyone who is not in love with the Unity Party would. Mr. Somer is the attorney for the City. Mayor Lopez was the Mayor of the City. Somer brought Del Galdo into the Park District, 170, and 206 to secure his judgeship. Mayor Lopez was the head of the Park District, too. The article in the Star said the Park District and the City did not bid its supplies--oops, there's a link even for you. Yet this incestuous cesspool of consolidation escapes his Wolfiness. Again, you clarify what I am clear about. I stated this above: "I did make a mistake. It was the Park District that did not bid its cleaning supplies, but the same group owns the City, the Park District, Prairie State, 170, and the last holdout, 206." For you to think Mr. Somer is only involved with the City, and not the other political entities, shows that you are enamored with him, blindly, like a child, not a thinking adult, and should be swatted.
Mick June 07, 2011 at 03:51 AM
Winston Wolf is Perez. Keep asking about the cleaning supplies. He ignores it. We need to keep bringing it up. I have written the proper authorities to investigate. This is not going away. Buying about $400,000 in cleaning supplies without bidding them is AGAINST THE LAW. Eventually, the authorities will return to the Heights, and say, "not again." If Giannetti bought cleaning supplies without bidding them from someone other than Perez, Winston would be all over him. And I would have the pleasure of telling him that Giannetti was chosen by elected officials, so all his concerns have been dismissed and addressed. Anyone elected must be right, yes? Winston cannot follow his own logic. Poor child. The Unity Party will eventually tell Perez to stay off this site as he does more harm than good. Keep at it Mr. Amos and anyone not joining the Unity Party Boys' Club. We need to let them know that there are people out there who are capable of understanding the big web they are weaving of favoritism, nepotism, and cronyism. They want us to go away and be quiet, but we won't. Thanks for the instigation, Wolfie. Keep on posting until they tell you that you do more harm to them than good.
Winston Wolf June 08, 2011 at 12:48 PM
I unequivocally deny that I am Frank Perez or any other public employee. I have no information about the cleaning supplies with which you are so obsessed, and urge you to contact whatever authorities you deem appropriate if you feel the law has been breached.
Mick June 14, 2011 at 03:50 AM
I am obsessed with $400,000 spent by the Park District and $4,000 spent by the city, and you by the $250 spent by Giannetti. Let's call it even? I will try to follow your example and sweat the small stuff. P.S. Contracts are breached, but laws are violated or broken.

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