Lawyer: 'Fanciful' allegations against Dundee Twp. park board member
A Dundee Township park board member facing a trio of lawsuits -- including one by his cousin alleging a multi-decade, $2.8 million theft -- failed to respond to a hearing last week on litigation that he stole from his family business.
A June 26 hearing in Kane County is scheduled for representatives of the Meadowdale Shopping Center corporation to prove damages caused by Frank J. Scarpelli Jr., their former general manager.
Scarpelli was served with the lawsuit May 1, but he was a no-show in court last week and a default judgment was entered by Kane County Judge Mark Pheanis.
In the lawsuit, Meadowdale argues Scarpelli breached his fiduciary duty and took more than $500,000 from the company by diverting rent funds and using payments for personal expenses.
Scarpelli has 30 days from the judge's order to file a motion to vacate the judgment.
"He never responded (to the lawsuit)," Meadowdale attorney Marios Karayannis said. "(Scarpelli) definitely took money that wasn't his," but it was nowhere near the millions alleged by Scarpelli's cousin, Anne Marie Poincelet.
Poincelet, of Chicago, sued in late 2017 to put a halt to divorce proceedings between Frank Scarpelli and Margaret "Peg" Scarpelli, who court records say now lives in Marco Island, Florida.
In 2015, Poincelet sued Frank Scarpelli in Cook County, arguing he engaged in a decadeslong scheme to siphon millions from his aunt, who is now deceased, and Poincelet, while he oversaw their investments and trusts.
Poincelet's lawyers argued in their 2017 lawsuit that the Scarpelli divorce was a way to divide the couple's marital assets that contained money stolen from Poincelet and her mother.
Neither Frank nor Margaret Scarpelli has been charged with criminal wrongdoing.
Frank Scarpelli has not returned repeated messages, but Joseph Marconi, his defense attorney in the 2015 litigation, said the allegations against Scarpelli were "fanciful."
"There has been no finding of wrongdoing by any court," Marconi said. "We're vigorously defending the case."
In mid-May, Margaret Scarpelli asked a judge to dismiss Poincelet's attempt to halt the 2017 divorce proceedings, as well as seal the divorce file from the public.
Margaret Scarpelli, whose lawyer in the divorce removed himself from the case in April due to a "lack of communication," filed the motion as her own attorney, arguing "unsound allegations" and media coverage caused her stress and medical problems, and damaged her reputation.
Berger Schatz, an attorney for Poincelet, argued against sealing the divorce case as well as upholding Poincelet's lawsuit.
"It is Anne-Marie's position that all assets currently held in the trusts and by the Scarpellis are derived from their decadeslong theft, and belong not to the Scarpellis, but to Anne-Marie," Schatz wrote.
Schatz noted courts have sealed court files in only extreme cases.
"There was no media coverage of the Cook County action for two years; it was Peggy's filing for divorce in Kane County to sidestep the Cook County action that triggered media attention," Schatz said.
The Scarpellis are next due in court Friday in Kane County for their divorce.
Frank Scarpelli also is due in court on June 18 for a lawsuit filed by the law firm of Meyers and Flowers, which argues he owes them nearly $113,000 in legal fees defending Poincelet's lawsuit.
New role on board
In early May, Dundee Township park board commissioners voted to appoint Erin O'Leary as the new board president and to appoint Frank Scarpelli as board treasurer, Executive Director Dave Peterson said.
Peterson said the meeting where board members appoint new officers is a yearly event and not in response to the lawsuits facing Scarpelli. Peterson noted Scarpelli's lawsuits are allegations at this point and the topic did not come up.
Peterson said the district has procedures in place to prevent improper expenditures or transactions by board members.