Why Was Przybylo 'Entitled' to Special Treatment?
Illinois law forbade Przybylo, a liquor license holder, from serving as a trustee and mayor--so he arranged for pols to change the law, but not before violating it for years. A Letter to the Editor from Chris Hanusiak.
The Patch.com article and interview of Andrew Przybylo about his liquor license illustrates once again the arrogance and “entitlements” which the Responsible Leadership for Niles Team members have been fighting against for over three years. The liquor control questions about what is happening in Niles are many and are mostly unanswered.
Readers can go to the State of Illinois web site which publishes information about all such licenses issued for Niles which lists 101 such licenses. The licenses are rightly and lawfully issued to lounges, restaurants and catering venues, big box stores, liquor stores, grocers and even drug stores. Nothing wrong about any of that. But the problems arise about enforcement and who does the enforcing.
Back in 1934 after Prohibition ended in America, the Illinois legislature passed laws which prohibited a village president (mayor) or trustees from holding office if any had a liquor license. Why? Because of the kinds of corrupt practices and illegal behaviors of politicians who used liquor and bars as special inducements for voting and paybacks. We have all seen the movies about the Roaring Twenties and the mobsters of that era. Enough was enough, and the public demanded action.
For trustees, the law was in effect until 2001. The father of Andrew Przybylo started the White Eagle catering hall in Niles and ran it until his death in 1992. According to Illinois law, Andrew could no longer be a trustee AND hold a liquor license. He told a local journalist, "The Company took on a different tone," he said. "That's when it became clear I had to have the law changed.” Then he added "My responsibilities and ownership was changing. I had to change the law or resign."
Did he obey the law? NO. Did he resign? NO. Was the law changed? YES. When Mayor Nick Blase had to resign from office after a conviction for mail and tax fraud because of insurance scams pulled on Niles’ businesses, the village board voted Robert Callero into the spot. Andrew was foiled again because the law about mayors was still on the books. Callero played the role of caretaker. But hope springs eternal with Andrew. He merely had local legislators Lou Lang and John D’Amico introduce legislation which would allow Andrew to achieve “his turn.” End of story? Nope.
If Andrew is Mayor, Niles has to hire a lawyer to do the job of liquor commissioner! We don’t think we will find a lawyer to take on the job at the current hourly minimum wage.
So Andrew held office, it appears, in acknowledged defiance of Illinois law for years while the family business was, in his words, “in transition.” Here now is another of the interesting stories about Niles politicians. There are many, many more but this one really goes to the heart of the matter- “Niles leaders” are special people who need special treatment and special courtesies about which us peons can only watch and wonder.
Krzystof "Chris" Hanusiak
Niles Village Trustee
Note: Hanusiak is running for Village of Niles Mayor in the April 9 election.