What Did Sig Know? When Did He Know It? — 3/31/2012

ImageCook County Republican Central Committee Chairman Sig Vaznelis (above) ignored the wishes of his predecessor, Lee Roupas, when he elevated Sean Morrison, a lifelong Democrat, to the Republican committeemanship of Palos Township in January.

It was an odd choice.  Roupas had recommended a lifelong Republican activist.  Morrison had voted in but one Republican primary in his life.  If Morrison took a Republican ballot on March 20, then he doubled his total of Republican votes.

Morrison being a Democrat had already hurt his improbable primary campaign to upend respected Board of (Tax) Review Commissioner Dan Patlak, the only GOP officeholder with a Cook County-wide jurisdiction.

Morrison, a servant of the Ed Vrdolyak-Gerry Gorman-Liz Gorman alliance, was flagging.  His relentless negative ads were under attack by the Daily Herald and the Chicago Tribune.  Both endorsed Patlak.  Morrison sought Republican acceptance.  Sig stepped in, betrayed Lee Roupas, and – poof – made the 19th Ward Democrat frog into a Real Republican prince.

Of course, the voters were not going to kiss any frogs.  Patlak was re-nominated.

And now, with primary dust settling, Sig Vaznelis needs to answer questions of his own.

Did he vet the committeeman candidates at all?

What did he ask them?  What did they reply?

When did Sig Vaznelis learn that Morrison’s Las Vegas-based registered agent represented mobsters?

Or did he fail to figure out who Morrison actually is?

Sig had every reason in the world to question Morrison’s bona fides.

Fox News reported that Morrison’s agent in Baghdad was forcibly removed from the Green Zone by the United States Army, after it relieved him of his sidearm, for a seamy effort to profit from our Global War on Terror and Saddam Hussein.

Illinois officials had fined another of Morrison’s endless stream of business shells for violating state regulations.

Morrison, as self-conscious about his lack of credentials as he was about his lack of Republicanism, had taken to lying about his modest record of academic achievement

Voters in New Trier and Palatine townships wrote Morrison replaying his bald assertion that he held an associate’s degree from Morraine Valley Community College.

That was a new wrinkle in the Morrison resume, so I checked with MVCC.  The answer?

“Dear Mr. Robling:

This email is in response to your request of February 12, 2012, under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act of whether Sean M. Morrison graduated from Moraine Valley Community College. We have no record of anyone with that name graduating from Moraine Valley Community College.


Mark Horstmeyer

FOIA Officer

Moraine Valley CC”

(Emphasis in the original)

Finally, Fox News Chicago conducted an investigation into recent Morrison employees suing him for payment.  It turned out that Morrison welched on his deal to pay performers in his girl-on-girl fight club reality TV show, in which the costumes were skimpy bathing suits.  Two women allegedly stiffed by Morrison appeared via Skype.  One said “he is a waste of skin.”  One said people “became homeless because they thought they were going to get paid.”  See for yourself: http://www.myfoxchicago.com/dpp/news/investigative/cook-county-republican-board-review-candidate-facing-lawsuit-women-mixed-martial-arts-mma-fighters-sean-morrison-20120229

Morrison’s response to the women’s plight?

“I am out a lot of money myself, unfortunately,” he told Dane Placko.

Stirring in its gallantry – or callous disregard?  You decide.

What type of elected Cook County official produces girl-on-girl fight club reality TV shows, anyway?

And of course, at the moment Morrison was in the midst of a million dollar campaign for an obscure – but potentially powerful – office.

No one had ever seen a primary for Board of (Tax) Review like Morrison’s.  He had mailers.  He had yard signs.  He had robo-calls.  And he had radio – lots and lots of costly radio.  But his contribution forms were long on dollars loaned to himself, without ever disclosing the source of those cash infusions.

All sensate Cook County Goppers here recall of Ed Vrdolyak’s finance practice – established in federal court — for Morrison den mother Liz Gorman.  Liz, short on funds, received cash from an Ed Vrdolyak loan to Gerry’s car business.

Gerry dropped four hundred thousand dollars cash into Liz’ campaign kitty, and then lied to Chrysler, U.S. District Court Judge Wayne Anderson and U.S. Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys in the court proceedings.  Gerry said, among other misrepresentations, that Ed’s loan was “new capital.”

U.S. Circuit Court Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook said, “The supposed $925,000 in new equity was in fact a $750,000 loan from Edward Vrdolyak, then the dealerships’ lawyer in this suit.”

It was in that suit, as it happens, that Judge Easterbrook said Gerry Gorman and other “Plaintiffs have behaved like a pack of weasels and can’t expect any part of their tale be believed.”

Words to live by.

But none of this lit Chairman Sig’s caution light.

Instead, his rubber stamp was ready when Sean asked for GOP cover.

Had Chairman Sig cared who he was installing as legal representative of the GOP primary voters of Palos Township (what did they do to deserve any of this, by the way?), he would have found that Morrison Security has an office in Las Vegas.  It has a registered agent in Nevada.  And he would have found Sean Morrison’s first Nevada registered agent was Las Vegas attorney Jerome A. DePalma.

Now, the registered agent is DePalma’s law firm.

Jerry DePalma has represented organized crime figures in Nevada for years.  He is a respected member of the Bar.  He is also universally suspected to be the former son-in-law of Sam Giancana.

According to John Flood, noted organized crime expert, “lawyer Jerry DePalma married Francine Giancana and… the two were the last to see Sam Giancana alive other than the unknown Mafia killers who carried out the hit on the mob boss.”

Jerome DePalma’s law partner is Dominic Gentile.  Bear in mind, their law firm represents failed-girl-on-girl-fight-club-reality-TV-show-producer-turned-would-be-tax-board-commissioner-turned-Palos Township Republican Committeeman, with two big GOP primary votes under his belt, Sean Morrison.

Dominic Gentile once represented a Luis Hidalgo, Jr.

“Who is Luis Hidalgo, Jr.?” you ask (making you most unlike Sig Vaznelis).

Luis once was the owner of North Las Vegas’ famed Palomino Club.  It’s one of the few clubs out there with both cocktails and all-nude dancers.  (Or so I am told.  Ahem.)

There, Luis was named a co-conspirator – not a defendant — in a contract murder case.  His 2005-2006 legal bills from Gentile were so large that Gentile received the club from Hidalgo instead of cash, and Gentile’s son Adam ran it…

And two years later, about 2008, Adam made a reality TV deal called “King of Clubs,” which was intended for Playboy TV.

Isn’t that interesting?

As it happens, Dominic Gentile and Jerome DePalma are, reportedly, originally from Chicago.

Sean Morrison’s campaign was discredited because it showed he makes untrue statements about himself and others.  Stuck with the assignment from Ed Vrdolyak to take out Dan Patlak, he chose the only course he knew, lie.

That Sean Morrison is surrounded by Las Vegas mob attorneys, Liz, Gerry and Ed, unpaid homeless girl-on-girl fight club actresses, and more, seems to be news to no one who knows Cook County and its GOP.

Unless, of course, you refer to Chairman Sig Vaznelis.

This might all be news to Sig.  Because when it was time to ask questions, Sig was busy looking for his rubber stamp.

In a few days the Cook County Republican Central Committee will meet to organize. That means it’s time to evaluate Sig Vaznelis’s chairmanship.  The answer to that one may be in the questions he didn’t ask – or in the answers he did not want to know.

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4 Comments on “What Did Sig Know? When Did He Know It? — 3/31/2012”

  1. […] From ChrisRobling.com Cook County Republican Central Committee Chairman Sig Vaznelis ignored the wishes of his predecessor, Lee Roupas, when he elevated Sean Morrison, a lifelong Democrat, to the Republican committeemanship of Palos Township in February. […]

    • Bob Says:

      So who did Roupas recommend if not Sean Morrison? It would be strange that he and Liz wouldn’t be on the same page considering that she was largely responsible for his getting the GOP chairman job in Cook County.

      It was an INCREDIBLE resume’ booster for the ambitious 26 year old politician.

  2. Bob Shelstrom Says:

    “Roupas had recommended a lifelong Republican activist.[to fill the Palos Commiteeman vacancy]” Who on earth would this be, Chris? I’ve lived in Palos Township virtually all of my life and been active in Palos politics, and I’m only aware of one person who applied that fits this description.

    I know one person who applied who’s supported EVERY property tax referendum in the community and consistently sides with the educational bureaucracy whenever their interests conflict with the students and taxpayer’s interests. He pretty much abandoned the Palos GOP once Anne Zickus was dumped and there wasn’t much “clout” left. You couldn’t mean him, could you?

    Another was a former County commissioner and GOP county chairman who was so juiced in with the Dems that he got a job from Stroger. He, too, never met a property tax increase he didn’t support. His wife was slated and elected by the Palos Township Dems to be Supervisor. He now works for Patlak on the BOR. You couldn’t POSSIBLY mean him, could you?

    I’m really interested in to whom you were referring, Chris. If there’s someone out there who applied for the position (besides me!LOL) who’s consistently protected the taxpayers and believes in ending corruption, patronage, and cronyism in Palos, and has consistently opposed those things publically and vociferously, I’d LOVE to know who it is!

  3. Bob Says:

    Wow, Chris, it sure looks like someone spent a lot of time and money investigating their political opponents in the BOR race, and it clearly WASN’T the candidate who owned the securiity and criminal investigation firm.

    I’ve got something else for you, Chris. My father was once represented in a traffic case by an attorney friend of mine who has represented murderer’s, gang bangers, rapists, and children abusers.

    He’s a criminal defense attorney. THAT’S WHAT THEY DO!

    Remember, by six degrees of separation I can connect you, or anyone else, to virutally anyone else in the world

    Which is worse, Chris, someone who invests in a ribald TV pilot, or someone who crawls through the slime to try to find some dirt with which they can get a political advantage over an opponent who did?

    Chris, I think we both know personal things about Patlak that Morrison likely knew about that could’ve been used to embarass him and his family in the campaign, but Morrison didn’t stoop that low. You and Patlak did.

    After these slimey smears you’ve been making, don’t you DARE criticize Morrison. or even Liz, for running “dirty” campaigns.

    We largely agree on issues concerning Liz and Fast Eddie, and I am harmed more by them than you since I live in her district.

    By writing these smear pieces you’ve achieved what I once thought impossible; you make me sympathetic to Liz Gorman!

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