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updated: 9/10/2013 7:01 PM

Lawyer: Villa Park trustee's account of dispute 'baloney'

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  • Robert Taglia

      Robert Taglia

 

Villa Park Trustee Robert Taglia hopes to "restore some peace" on his block after being charged with disorderly conduct in a recent neighborhood spat, he said Tuesday.

Taglia, who was re-elected in April, said the dispute arose Friday evening after his 4-year-old son was struck with a toy bat by a neighbor's 10-year-old son. Taglia, 41, is accused of pounding on the neighbor's door, shouting at the woman and poking a finger "inches from her eyes," according to court records.

Taglia said the confrontation was "strictly verbal" and "nobody touched anybody."

"I started explaining to her that her son had hurt my 4-year-old," he said. "My perception was that she didn't care, and that's what pushed my buttons a little bit."

Taglia, of the 100 block of North Washington Avenue, said he was the one who initially called police to the scene. His son had been lying in the grass, he said, when the other child struck him in the back. He said paramedics treated his son, who was bleeding, for a bruise that broke the skin.

In addition, the charge accuses Taglia of referring to his neighbors, who are Hispanic, as "you people," but he denied using that phrase. He added he doesn't plan to file his own complaint.

"I don't want to escalate this," he said. "It's unfortunate, but I'll do my best to work through it and hopefully restore some peace to the neighborhood. Hopefully, cooler heads prevail."

The mother who signed the complaint declined to comment when reached by phone Tuesday. Her attorney, Gloria Najera, called Taglia's account a "bunch of baloney," saying the trustee's son was accidentally hit only after he walked in front of her client's child as he swung a plastic baseball bat.

Najera said Taglia used foul language, called her client names and threatened the family, citing his "powerful" position in the community.

The mother is now "under medical care because she's terrified," Najera said. "He was literally spitting in her face and screaming at her."

Taglia turned himself over to police and was released on a $150 bond Monday after a formal charge was filed. He faces a maximum 30 days in jail and a fine up to $1,500 if convicted Class C disorderly conduct, a low-level misdemeanor. His term on the village board expires in 2017.

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