Michael Volpe's upcoming book about former Heights Mayor Chuck Panici and his criminal trial is unauthorized, according to Panici.
The former mayor contacted Patch Tuesday afternoon wanting to clarify his stance on the book.
"While I appreciate Mike's hard work and do not doubt his desire to help get the story out, I want to be clear," Panici said. "This is an unauthorized account of my trial and could contain false information. . . At no time has any of the information or names of people that are included in Mike's text been authorized, and it could lead to litigation as the result."
Panici went on to point out concerns about Volpe's motivation for writing the book and alluded to a falling out between he and the author.
"I presented Mike with a win-win situation and it has now come to this," Panici said. "My motivation has always been to clear my name and never about profits. Mike expressed to me that was also his intention, but he seems to have taken off in his own direction."
Volpe responded to Panici's comments with a detailed statement:
It's unfortunate that Chuck Panici has chosen to say I wasn't "authorized" to write this book because for parts of the last two years I've made regular trips to Chicago Heights to see him. He's invited me into his home to work on his book hundreds of times. I've conducted more than one hundred interviews with friends, colleagues, and former business partners. Most importantly, I have spent thousands of hours, together with Panici, examining thousands of pages worth of documents, all related to the trial. The end goal was always to write a book that told the whole story.
Volpe goes on to note that the disagreement stemmed from one of Panici's colleagues wanting the story to be written as a trilogy, to which Volpe objected.
"I had already largely finished the book in its current form and for that and many other reasons I was against this idea," Volpe said. "I was the only one. I pointed out that the book was already done in its current form. Nothing mattered. The day after, I told Chuck that if he was insistent on writing the book as a trilogy, that was a project I would not be a part of."
Volpe pointed out that he owns the copyright to his work and intends to publish the book the way he wrote it.
"This was always Chuck Panici's story, but I wrote it," Volpe said. "He may not agree with the style chosen but I believe that in the end that is a judgment left to the author and the author alone."
Panici said he will be releasing his own book about his life and the trial, which he has been working on for several years.