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  1. #1
    Pedro56's Avatar
    Pedro56 is offline Englewood Ranger/Infidel Extraordinaire
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    Stickney whistleblower wins $3.7 mil.

    August 16, 2006

    BY STEVE PATTERSON Staff Reporter

    Stickney Mayor Donald Tabor and Police Chief John Zitek set out to destroy an officer's career after the cop uncovered evidence of alleged corruption and took it to prosecutors, a federal jury has ruled.

    Now, those village leaders and taxpayers must cough up $3.7 million to former Officer Rich Hare, who blew the whistle on alleged theft and misconduct in the department.

    Instead of finding a sympathetic ear in Tabor and Zitek, Hare said he was demoted, his schedule was changed and his take-home car was recalled. Hare also claimed there were attempts to yank his gun license, and that Zitek told him to ignore his investigative findings.

    A resident of the southwest suburb also accused Zitek of trying to bribe her into filing false sexual harassment claims against Hare.

    "I was only trying to protect the village -- it's what I took an oath to do," Hare said. "It's a victory for me on paper, but I'm sad because it brought down the entire village."

    'The jury got it wrong'



    The mayor and police chief have denied wrongdoing and have not been charged with any crime.

    Tabor said he's appealing Monday's decision in U.S. District Court, while Zitek said "the jury got it wrong."

    "I believe I did my job well," Zitek said. "I wouldn't change a thing."

    Hare said efforts to discredit him -- and stop him from digging deeper into suspected corruption -- led him to leave behind a 15-year police career. He now collects disability pay because of the stress he said he suffered from Tabor and Zitek.

    Zitek said Hare's troubles have nothing to do with the chief's actions.

    The investigation into Hare's findings led to the conviction of town official Dora Madsen on theft charges, but a prosecutor said there wasn't enough evidence to charge others.

    The jury verdict comes weeks after an investigation led by the Better Government Association found Tabor and other village officials visiting an American Legion hall where patrons allegedly got payouts from a video poker machine, which is illegal.

    spatterson@suntimes.com
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  2. #2
    BigDawg's Avatar
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    Good for the officer.....but it sounds like he went through hell for a long time before this happened. And since it was the Mayor and Chief, I don't think either will lose their jobs anytime soon.
    "An Unarmed man can only flee from evil, and evil is not overcome by fleeing from it." Jeff Cooper


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