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ELMHURST, IL — The opposition to Burr Ridge Trustee Zach Mottl has pointed to his contribution in 2018 to a politician who has since pleaded guilty in a corruption case.
In a Facebook post Thursday, Mayor Gary Grasso said he and the trustees were still waiting for Patch to write a story about Mottl’s contribution to Jeff Tobolski, a former Cook County commissioner and McCook mayor.
Grasso also asserted Mottl donated to the political campaign of Getty. The mayor identified Getty as a convicted felon, but did not give a first name. It appears as if Mottl made no such contribution.
Mottl personally contributed to Lyons Mayor Christopher Getty in 2010 and 2014, totaling $500, according to state Board of Elections records. The Mottl family’s company, Lyons-based Atlas Tool & Die Works, made donations from 2012 to 2019 totaling $3,750 to Getty’s campaign. Getty has not been convicted of a crime.
In the fall of 2019, the FBI raided Lyons’ village hall in connection with a red light camera company, a brewery, and video gambling and construction magnates, according to a Chicago Tribune story. The mayor has not been charged in that inquiry.
Getty’s father, Kenneth Getty, a former Lyons village president, was convicted of bid-rigging in 1998. At that time, Mottl was in his teens. The Board of Elections website has no record of a contribution from Mottl or Atlas to Kenneth Getty.
As for Tobolski, Atlas contributed $750 to the county commissioner’s campaign in 2018, according to Board of Elections records. The nonprofit Better Government Association wrote an investigative story on Tobolski in February 2020. Mottl’s contribution was featured prominently.
According to the association’s story, Mottl said he felt Tobolski pressured him into making a campaign contribution when Atlas was seeking Tobolski’s support for a critical property tax break. He said he did not want to contribute to Tobolski, but felt he had to give because the company’s tax break application wasn’t moving.
“I definitely felt pressure,” Mottl told the association. “And I felt like, you know, ‘You gotta play ball with this guy.'”
Last August, Tobolski was charged in a corruption scheme. A month later, he pleaded guilty to conspiring with a police official to extort a restaurant owner who needed approval to hold events serving alcohol, according to the Chicago Tribune.
In a recent commentary, Trustee Joe Snyder, a onetime ally of Mottl, accused the trustee of “bribing” Tobolski. A bribe is a crime. Mottl has not been charged with one.
In response to Grasso’s Facebook post, Mottl said in a text message, “They’re just making all this stuff up. And you can tell from the Better Government Association story that it was a very different scenario than they would like to make it out to be.”
Mottl said the mayor is the one with the questionable connections. When Grasso was running for attorney general in 2017, a downstate CBS affiliate ran a story about Grasso titled, “Shady campaign cash flows to GOP candidate.”
In the story, Champaign-based WCIA said Grasso accepted tens of thousands in contributions from “companies in the Cayman Islands, a restaurant whose owners are named in FBI mafia investigations and another group whose owners were jailed on federal fraud charges.”
Filippo Rovito, owner of Burr Ridge’s Capri Ristorante, is mentioned prominently in the story. Rovito gave Grasso’s unsuccessful campaign $5,000 in November 2017. WCIA reported its story on Dec. 22, 2017, noting the donation. Six days later, Grasso returned the money to Rovito. Grasso has declined to tell Patch why he did.
In Thursday’s Facebook post, Grasso posted photos of Mottl and a Patch reporter speaking after a Village Board meeting last fall.
“The Trustees and I do not have this type of relationship with Patch reporter, David Giuliani — except for Mottl of course as seen in these pictures. We receive requests for comment after their controversial headlines and stories are written. We’re still waiting for him to write about Mottl’s campaign contributions to convicted felons Tobolski and Getty. We won’t hold our breath though,” the mayor wrote. “These are the two culprits creating the false narrative in Burr Ridge,” referring to Mottl and Giuliani.
Patch left a message for comment with Grasso.
Mottl is one of five candidates vying for three seats on the Village Board in the April 6 election. Grasso is running unopposed.
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