Costin accuses Schaumburg officials of accepting "perks"

 
By Emily Jurlina
Updated 1/27/2011 2:06 PM
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  • Brian Costin

    Brian Costin

  • Al Larson

    Al Larson

Schaumburg mayoral candidate Brian Costin is again accusing village board members of violating local ethics codes by accepting free gifts -- most notably complimentary tickets to Schaumburg Flyers games -- not available to residents.

Appearing before those trustees at Tuesday's village board meeting, Costin said a village employee tipped him off to the "free tips, perks and luxuries" Schaumburg officials and employees receive.

Mayor Al Larson and the trustees refused to answer Costin's questions about whether they had received free Flyers tickets and accused the mayoral candidate of "grilling" them.

"I don't respond to character assassinations," Larson said.

Costin's claims come at a time when the village and Flyers' ownership are embroiled in a lawsuit over nearly $1 million in overdue rent and other payments the minor league ballclub owes for use of the publicly owned Alexian Field. It is the second time this month he's raised the accusations at a public meeting.

As landlords of Alexian Field, both the village and Schaumburg Park District retain the use of skyboxes at the stadium. Access to the skyboxes for games is left to the discretion of elected officials of both governments, who recently said they often give the tickets to employees or not-for-profit organizations.

But accepting free tickets to Flyers games, which are not available to the general public, is a violation of part of the Schaumburg village code's local code of ethics, Costin alleges. The code, he said, states that no public officials or employees should "receive any benefits from village action beyond that which is available to any other private party or taxpayer."

"They're a tangible benefit that has value attached to it," Costin said. "These are flagrant ethics violations."

Village Trustee George Dunham said officials and employees do get a small number of free game tickets, which they often end up giving away to village employees.

"There is no favoritism involved. There is no collusion involved (in who receives free tickets)," Dunham said, adding that officials and employees pay for their own food and drinks at games.