Updated: January 3, 2013 6:24AM
Oak Lawn should adopt formal policies and procedures governing how the annual Fall on the Green festival is run, according to a controversial audit that examined the 2011 event.
The forensic audit was requested in May by Trustee Bob Streit (3rd), who called into question the contracting, accounting and management tactics of Trustee Tom Phelan (6th), the former chairman of the special events committee.
Streit claimed Phelan used the festival as a political tool, with favors such as VIP tickets, to punish or reward people based on politics.
The annual festival is overseen by the village’s special events committee. Streit was named committee chairman in June, replacing Phelan.
The village paid $20,000 for the audit, which was performed by Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, an Oak Brook-based accounting firm. The document was submitted to the village on Nov. 13. Streit provided a summary at Tuesday’s village board meeting.
“You have to have rules, procedures, controls and accountability,” Streit said after the meeting.
He said the special events committee will rely on the audit when adopting policies and procedures for Fall on the Green and other village-sponsored events.
Phelan dismissed the audit as a “contrived scandal.”
“If that’s the best you have, that’s really sad,” Phelan told Streit at Tuesday’s meeting. “This was politics and smear and slander.”
Much of the audit focused on the allocation of food vouchers, beer and wine tickets and wristbands for the sponsor hospitality tent.
The report found that the village could not provide a list detailing the distribution of food vouchers, tickets and wristbands. It recommended that beer tickets be controlled and documented by a village employee and that the village board approve distribution of tickets to groups and individuals.
It also recommended that the village tighten control over the cash generated at the three-day fest as well as the negotiation of contracts with vendors and bands. Mayor Dave Heilmann has accused Phelan of negotiating contracts with bands.
Phelan has said all contracts were approved by village manager Larry Deetjen.
Phelan said Fall on the Green and other village events have not required formal policies and procedures because “we trust the people who run the events.”
“We learned through this process that we need rules,” he said.