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posted: 5/6/2013 5:00 AM

Wary of the Hayes-Orchard connection

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On April 15th, neighbors of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church attended our third consecutive board meeting to protest the planned destruction of the 1300 block of North Haddow Avenue.

The homes on that block are owned by the Orchard, and are being emptied of tenants to prepare them to be torn down to make their already large parking lot in the middle of our neighborhood even larger. In the first two meetings we attended, Trustee Tom Hayes sat in silence.

During this third meeting, after a hushed conversation with Mayor Mulder, President-elect Hayes finally announced that he would have to recuse himself from any discussion should it occur as he is a member of the Orchard and has a relative that lives in one of the homes on Haddow Avenue.

Yes, he is a member of the same church that in 2007 proposed a multilevel parking garage in our neighborhood and now plans to raze eight homes and destroy approximately 100 mature trees to further expand ... a parking lot.

As an attorney, Mr. Hayes probably is aware that any conflict of interest should be immediately disclosed. Even the appearance of a conflict should be disclosed as a possible conflict.

Why did it take Mr. Hayes so long to announce his conflict? Why did he not take the opportunity the previous meetings? Was it the approaching election and the tight race he was involved in? Is this what we can expect from Mr. Hayes during his term as mayor?

On April 9th 54 percent of voters did not cast a ballot for Mr. Hayes. This election clearly was not a mandate for the status quo. We need to hold our elected officials accountable for their actions. The board and the mayor must understand that "business as usual" in Arlington Heights cannot continue.

Jeff Wilcox

Arlington Heights

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