Sheahan challenges Oak Brook officials to open deposition session
Updated: October 1, 2012 6:17AM
Oak Brook — Former Oak Brook Police Chief Tom Sheahan is challenging village officials to a public deposition session.
Sheahan offered his challenge through The Doings after the Village Board’s Aug. 14 hiring of an investigator to look into how Sheahan’s pension left the village with a $750,000 unfunded liability.
The purpose of the investigation is to look into how Sheahan, appointed in 2005, was able to use a piece of 2007 legislation introduced by state Rep. Robert Molaro to boost his pension at the expense of Oak Brook’s taxpayers, village officials said.
The legislation allowed Sheahan to transfer his previous pension credits to Oak Brook. Sheahan resigned as chief in 2011 after slightly more than six years with the Oak Brook Police Department. His $750,000 pension liability is over a 20-year period, he said.
“They have been making it seem like I pulled something really sneaky, and that’s just not the case,” Sheahan said. “It took three weeks to negotiate my contract with the Village Board, and it went back and forth three to five times before it was finished.”
Sheahan said he would submit to eight hours of deposition over a two-day period, with questions being asked of him by the village’s attorney.
“I’d be happy to do that as long as it’s televised in Oak Brook and put on their website,” he said. “My other stipulation is that all the Village Board members, the village president, the village manager and the assistant village manager submit to questions from me, and I can use anything uncovered during the deposition in my lawsuit.”
Sheahan is involved in a lawsuit against Oak Brook and several of its employees, claiming they caused damage to his reputation and “stigmatized him in his profession.”
Village Manager Dave Niemeyer didn’t accept Sheahan’s challenge for open-session depositions.
“We’re in litigation with him; he basically began the litigation, and we’ll defend ourselves in court through the legal system,” Niemeyer said. “We feel we have a very strong case.”
Sheahan said never met or spoke to Molaro until after Molaro had retired from the senate and had been hired by Oak Brook as a lobbyist. Molaro was appointed as a $5,000 a month lobbyist by the village in 2009.
“I was directed to meet with him by Dave Niemeyer to talk about a traffic light to help Costco,” Sheahan said.
“I really feel like I have been targeted here, and their targeting of me is libelous and slanderous. I have three lawyers looking into it.”
Sheahan said if current Police Chief James Kruger stays six years, his pension liability will be similar for the village, and said former police and fire chiefs have pension liabilities twice as much.
Niemeyer said the village wouldn’t be paying anything toward Kruger’s pension for time he worked elsewhere.
“And with all the others, our pension responsibilities are based on their time working here, not other places,” Niemeyer said.
Oak Brook officials have said on several occasions that Sheahan was the only person in Illinois affected by the legislation proposed by Molaro. Molaro was appointed as a $5,000 per month lobbyist by the village in 2009.
“The village knows that isn’t true,” he said. “IMRF gave Oak Brook a list of 20 people affected by this.”
IMRF is the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.
Niemeyer said Oak Brook officials received a list from IMRF of 20 people who were eligible to take advantage of the pension legislation, but that Sheahan is the only one who took advantage of it.
“And when Molaro introducted the legislation, he said, without mentioning a specific name, that it was to benefit one individual,” Niemeyer said.”Our big issue with this is that he’s the only one who is benefitting from this legislation. We want to know how that happened.”