Rep. Jim Durkin’s office told the Chicago Sun-Times that Durkin (R-Western Springs) did not “make any call to facilitate a meeting” over a proposed adult entertainment club in Broadview despite the sworn testimony of the village's former mayor saying he did.
In a Dec. 30 story, the Sun-Times cited the June 2103 deposition of former Mayor Henry A. Vicenik telling a lawyer for the Broadview Village Board trustees that Durkin, the House Republican leader, telephoned Vicenik asking him to meet with David Donahue, one of the principal parties behind Chicago Joe’s Tea Room, the proposed adult entertainment club that is fighting the village to operate in that suburb.
(Donahue is a one-time aide to House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) and former Cicero Town President Betty Loren-Maltese, who spent eight years in federal prison for stealing $12 million in city funds.)
Rep. Jim Durkin
During the deposition, Vicenik at first refused to divulge Durkin’s name, referring to a “third party” that called and asked him to meet with Donahue. But after an off-the-record conference, Vicenik said that the third party was Durkin.
Durkin’s role in the ongoing dispute between Broadview and Chicago Joe’s was first reported in a Dec. 15 West Cook News story.
In the deposition, Vicenik said that at the meeting between him and Donahue they discussed how Vicenik, who was named personally in a lawsuit brought after Broadview in 2007 denied Chicago Joe’s a special-use permit for the club, could be removed as a defendant. An attorney taking part in the deposition noted an earlier statement made by Vicenik that Donahue had threatened to take Broadview board members’ houses away after the village denied the permit.
The Sun-Times reported Durkin was subpoenaed repeatedly in the ongoing case but his lawyers convinced the judge he shouldn’t have to testify.
The newspaper also reported that in his deposition in the case in March 2014, Donahue denied asking Durkin to contact Vicenik for him but said he had a conversation with Durkin before Vicenik called him.
“I think I spoke to Jim Durkin about something,” Donahue said. “I told him that I had tried to get a hold of Henry Vicenik, and I had not been able to get a hold of him.”
Donahue said he didn’t know why Vicenik called him after that.
In May 2014, Chicago’s WGN published an in-depth report of the continuing battle between Broadview and Chicago Joe’s, and Donahue.
“The town (Broadview), which is not an affluent community, has spent several hundred thousand dollars in a court fight with the proposed Chicago Joe’s Tea Room,” the report said. “A guy named Joe is on the zoning application. But he’s only the front man for the politically savvy brains of the project who’d rather hide in the shadows. His name is David Donahue, a man who started as a legislative aide to powerful House Speaker Michael Madigan and learned the political trade from Ed Vrdolyak and who now politically consults dozens of candidates.”
It goes on to say that Donahue earns significant income from Chicago-area strip clubs. “Donahue was one of the shadowy figures who used an ingenious scheme to successfully put the lucrative strip club Polekatz into another small suburb, Bridgeview. He’s using the same method to try to get Chicago Joe’s into Broadview.”
Further down the story notes that it costs a lot of money to keep the fight going in court.
“So where does David Donahue get the money, since he only admits to making $17,000 dollars a year in a recent court deposition? He controls 99 percent of Chicago Joe’s ownership interest but it’s a half million dollar loan from a convicted tax cheat who funds the lawsuit.”
Durkin faces a GOP primary challenge from Burr Ridge Mayor Mickey Straub for the 82nd House District seat.