Tinley Park mayor accused of public drunkenness after concert
The Edgar County Watchdogs (ECW) are accusing Tinley Park Mayor Jacob Vandenberg of being drunk in public and using his position to interfere with police officers directing traffic after a concert, according to the group's Illinois Leaks website.
Vandenberg allegedly emerged from his rented party bus holding a beer can after a Paul McCartney concert in late July. Incident reports submitted by traffic control officers said that Vandenberg announced he was the mayor and ordered officers to move traffic cones so that his bus could turn onto Ridgeland Avenue. After the bus made the turn, traffic officers and workers were left to control other vehicles that tried to follow the bus.
The incident occurred during a downpour and heavy traffic, putting the mayor, officers and other drivers at risk, the ECW contends. When confronted at a committee of the whole meeting on Aug. 8, Vandenberg acknowledged that he had shown "poor judgment" during the incident.
While Vandenberg purchased his own ticket and paid for the party bus, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests revealed that traffic officers did not view him as a private citizen after he announced he was the mayor. In addition, the reports indicated that Vandenberg appeared to be heavily intoxicated.
A subsequent ethics complaint submitted by a Tinsley Park resident also alleged that the mayor had used his position to go backstage in an attempt to present a plaque to McCartney.