Suffer the Soccer Children: Crestwood Mayor Lou Presta is a Real Piece of Work

Village of Crestwood
First the water, now the vindictive mayor.

It wasn’t too long ago we were all saying, "If you go to Crestwood, don’t drink the water."

Now?

"If you go to Crestwood, beware the mayor."

Especially if you play soccer.

Play soccer in a league that has been in existence for more than 40 years.

A league that is its own not-for-profit (NPF).

Do you get that?

An independent corporation.

In existence for more than 40 years.

Feel so, so very sorry for this Illinois village, stuck with a mayor hell-bent on stepping on children for political gain, clawing his way to the headlines, making a name for himself as a perpetrator of political vendetta.

The mayor wants to see the books.

The mayor wants a cut of the pie.

The mayor has a political vendetta.

Suffer the children.

Here’s some background from Phil Kadner’s recent contribution to the Southtown Star, Kadner: Mayor picks fight with soccer club.

I like and enjoy reading Phil Kadner. Please make a point of reading him.

Ahem. Yes. The background, from Phil Kadner:

At issue are the soccer fields just south of 138th Street and Lavergne Avenue, which are on ComEd land overlooked by high-tension towers.

According to soccer club board members, 32 years ago former Mayor Chester Stranczek agreed to let the club use the property rent-free after the village signed an agreement with the utility company for use of its easement.

Volunteers with the soccer club leveled the land by hand, raised money to construct a $22,000 fence and gate, more money to buy soccer goals and an additional $13,000 to build a garage to house equipment.

The village cuts the grass on the field. But, for 20 years, the field has been in use by the not-for-profit Crestwood Soccer Club, composed of "more than 500 children signed up for its fall season; about 70 percent Crestwood residents and the rest from the surrounding suburbs," according to Kadner.

Seventy percent is an amazing figure for a club, and political suicide for anyone to mess with. Especially a 20-year agreement.

But why should that stop Lou Presta?

There are 40 recreation teams and five travel teams in the club.

That’s amazing.

So why, pray tell, is the mayor, Louis Presta, messing with this fine organization, and the 500+ children (70% from Crestwood) who are members?

First, Crestwood Trustee John Toscas is president of the not-for-profit (NFP) Soccer Club.

And Toscas, it appears, is not a strong-enough supporter of the mayor.

The proposed solution?

Again, from Phil Kadner:

A proposed village ordinance would create a new seven-member parks commission appointed by the mayor, and create a new position of director of parks and recreation.

Presta told me the position would be filled by a current village employee at no increase in salary.

But the ordinance says compensation for the director “shall be established by the board of trustees annually.”

Get this straight.

Crestwood does not own the land. ComEd owns the land. Kids play under high tension wires. ComEd leases the land to Crestwood.

Now Presta wants to call that land a park.

A village park.

Even though Crestwood does not own the land.

And there’s more, and it’s about money:

Not only that, Presta indicated he wants the soccer club to share the money it raises with the rest of the village’s recreational programs.

“Some recreation programs make money and some don’t,” Presta said. “I believe the money should be spread around so that those that make money can help support those that don’t to provide opportunities to everyone.

Of course. So this private corporation must now open its books to the village.

And pay, pay, pay.

Because Lou Presta, mayor of Crestwood, is a real piece of work.

A real, real piece of work.

Please read Phil Kadner’s entire column here.