Developer publicly denies role in push for Elk Grove term limits

Gullo denies role in push for Elk Grove term limits

  • George Gullo Development Corp. President Mario Gullo on Monday issued his first public statement since filing suit against Elk Grove Village a year ago to block a forcible annexation of properties he owns along Higgins Road. He denied involvement in anonymous robocalls and mailers pushing a term limit referendum that could remove longtime Mayor Craig Johnson from office.

      George Gullo Development Corp. President Mario Gullo on Monday issued his first public statement since filing suit against Elk Grove Village a year ago to block a forcible annexation of properties he owns along Higgins Road. He denied involvement in anonymous robocalls and mailers pushing a term limit referendum that could remove longtime Mayor Craig Johnson from office. Christopher Placek | Staff Photographer, 2019

 
 
Updated 2/17/2020 6:22 PM

In his first public statement since filing suit against Elk Grove Village a year ago, local developer Mario Gullo on Monday continued to deny involvement in anonymous robocalls and mailers pushing a term limits referendum, saying such accusations by village officials are only a distraction from his fight for the rights of private property owners.

"As my lawyers have repeatedly stated in writing to the mayor and the village's attorneys on my behalf, I am not behind any recent political activity directed against the village, including robocalls, mailers or the term limit referendum," Gullo wrote in a statement released Monday afternoon by his attorney, Kim Walberg. "The village knows this but continues to lie and make false accusations in order to divert attention from its ongoing attempts to ride roughshod over people's property rights."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Gullo, president of George Gullo Development Corp., filed suit against the village in February 2019 to block a forcible annexation of properties he owns along Higgins Road. His statement Monday comes nearly three weeks after Mayor Craig Johnson lashed out at him and other political opponents during a village board meeting, accusing them of being behind robocalls and campaign-style mailers ahead of a March 17 term limits referendum that could remove the longtime mayor from office.

In an half-hour speech from the village board dais Jan. 28, Johnson said he was going to start "naming names," and he accused Gullo and others of conspiring on the term limits campaign. The mayor insinuated that the developer's motivations were financial. Gullo's gravel lots are used for leased truck parking, and "truck parking is a cash business," Johnson said.

On Monday, Gullo said the mayor was implying that he avoids paying taxes, which "is an outright lie and is clearly defamatory." He said he doesn't operate a cash-only business and does pay all taxes.

"If the mayor has proof of what he has accused me of or implied I am guilty of, he should offer it," Gullo wrote. "Otherwise he needs to focus on running the village and stop preying on private citizens to advance his own political career and divert residents' attention from the village's ongoing disregard of private property rights."

Following a Daily Herald story published Monday that noted Gullo's involvement in a lawsuit that blocked a developer's plan to build a warehouse next to homes and one of Gullo's businesses in unincorporated Elk Grove Township, Gullo said he and other plaintiffs "succeeded in stopping that effort," and likewise would succeed in their annexation suit against the village.

Attorneys for Gullo and the village are due in court for a status hearing Wednesday.

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