One of the key organizers of TeaCon 2011 in Schaumburg skipped the event Saturday after a political gossip website reported he was arrested more than a year ago in Chicago on charges of soliciting a prostitute.
Steve Stevlic, director of the Chicago Tea Party Patriots, released a statement saying the charges were dropped. Eric Kohn, spokesman for the convention, confirmed that Stevlic was not attending. He would not comment on Stevlic's future with the organization.
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Gawker.com posted a story Friday afternoon saying Stevlic was picked up June 25, 2010, on the 1600 block of South Kilbourn Avenue. It said charges were dropped after he agreed to participate in a rehab program.
Kohn released this statement in response from Stevlic:
"My family and I dealt with the matter and we've successfully moved forward in our relationship. The charges surrounding this incident were dropped against me over a year ago and with all the issues we are facing in our country right now, I'm not sure why this deserves a headline. I hope everyone can respect my family's privacy, and I apologize for unnecessary pain this has caused my wife and family."
Denise Cattoni, state coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots, released this statement through Kohn:
"I know Steve is upset with himself over the pain he has caused his family, but the charges against him were dropped over a year ago -- this is old news. Steve has demonstrated a tremendous amount of leadership and commitment to growing the tea party movement in Chicago and TeaCon is the culmination of his efforts.
"Our energy would be better spent focusing on having a substantive conversation on the economic challenges facing our country and our state. We are at a crossroads and TeaCon 2011 is an opportunity to highlight the efforts of local tea party groups working together to have an even greater impact on the upcoming election on both the state and national level."