In a Feb. 24 letter to Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, Montes requested that a criminal investigation be opened to explore whether Landek violated state laws by using public property and funds for political purposes.
Montes claims, in the letter, that Landek ran afoul of a section of the state constitution that says "public funds, property or credit shall be used only for public purposes." He also claims Landek violated part of the Illinois Election Code that forbids the use of public funds for political purposes.
Montes' argument centers on allegations he made last month that Landek set up a meeting at Toyota Park in Bridgeview and offered him a bribe to drop out of the race.
Montes claims the offer was made because Landek is worried about appealing to voters in the new, largely Latino 12th District and, thus, wanted to eliminate Montes, his only challenger.
Landek is the current 11th District state representative but is running in the 12th District because of remapping.
Landek is also the mayor of Bridgeview, and the meeting allegedly took place in a Village of Bridgeview suite at Toyota Park, on Dec. 29. The stadium, home to The Chicago Fire, is owned by the village.
Montes outlines what he feels are the violations in the letter: "Steve Landek’s use of Toyota Park for his senate campaign purpose is no different than if he had reserved the Village of Bridgeview’s board room at the village hall for this meeting. Both scenarios would impose a financial burden upon the taxpayers of the Village of Bridgeview, which would pay for personnel and utilities incidental to the use of the facility. Both scenarios use public property for personal and political use, none of which arise from Steve Landek’s duties as Mayor of Bridgeview, or any public purpose."
"The [Illinois] Constitution and rules on campaign finance are pretty clear," said Andy Finko, an attorney who represented Montes when a Landek supporter challenged his petition signatures. "You can't use public property or funds for private, political uses."
But Landek's camp claims there is no substance to Montes' continued pressure and accusations.
"It’s ... a public facility where anybody could use the facilities. Most of what [Montes] says is a lie and that’s how we treat him," said Ray Hanania, Landek's media consultant.
Not exactly, Finko countered.
"It's a public facility, but it's not open to the public," Finko said. " You and I, and Raul are unable to have a meeting there. Sure, if you want to pay money, you could rent a suite."
Landek's campaign staffers and supporters acknowledged that the meeting took place at Toyota Park and that Landek offered Montes a job, but they denied that any illegal offer was made.
Not so, said Montes.
In a separate affidavit, Montes described his conversation: Landek "asked me to withdraw from the election and explained how I could help his campaign for senator by working for his senate campaign, particularly with Hispanic voters, and after the election, he would give me a job at his state senate office that paid [more than] $30,000 per year with benefits, and I would not even have to travel to Springfield. Steve Landek also offered to write a check to me immediately for $3,000 if I helped his senate campaign by withdrawing my nomination papers."
Kevin Wunder works on Robert Reyes' campaign for 24th District state representative, a mostly Latino district that includes Little Village and several western suburbs. It is also part of the 12th Senate District.
Wunder said Landek scheduled a meeting with him, and Reyes and made a similar pitch.
Landek "said, 'I’m good friends with Charlie Hernandez. You guys shouldn’t do this fight. We could get you jobs if you drop out now,'" Wunder said.
Charlie Hernandez is married to incumbent 24th district state Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez, one of Reyes' opponents. He is a former Cicero cop with strong ties to the town's big political players.
Both Montes and Reyes declined the alleged offers. And Wunder said he wasn't aware of Montes' letter to the Cook County State's Attorney--which isn't the first--adding that Reyes' camp was focused on winning the March 20 primary.
Andy Conklin, a spokesperson at the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, did not immediately confirm whether an investigation would be opened.
© Community Renewal Society 2012