The mayor of Tinley Park, Illinois was “borderline reckless” but did not break the law during a Paul McCartney concert this summer, when he reportedly moved traffic cones and ordered police to let though a party bus he was on, a law firm investigating the incident has found.
Mayor Jacob Vandenberg’s July 26 behavior was “inappropriate and misguided,” the Chicago Tribune reports, but “does not rise to the level deserving punishment under the Illinois Criminal Code’s Office Misconduct Provision.”
Vandenberg is accused of using his position to move the cones and tell officers to allow the bus to bypass regular traffic routes while leaving the show at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre. The officers later said they had to hold up traffic to let the bus through, according to the Tribune.
Michael Stuckly, a resident of the village outside Chicago, filed an ethics complaint against the mayor. Tinley Park rules require that such investigations are turned over to private law firms to determine wrongdoing. An attorney for the Itasca, Illinois firm of Hervas, Condon and Bersani wrote in an Oct. 20 report that he conducted interviews with Stuckly, the mayor, village employees and police officers.
According to the Tribune, one officer said Vandenberg shouted “mayor coming through” as he began moving cones and yelled, “I’m the mayor.” Vandenberg, who has not commented on the Tribune story, admitted the “coming through” comment, but “claims he did so in a joking and lighthearted manner.”
Vandenberg told the firm he recognized that he used poor judgment that night and wouldn’t do it again if given the chance.
The law firm’s report notes that the movement of the bus “created a public safety hazard for the officers directing traffic and other drivers/pedestrians in the area.”
“The Mayor placed himself and the public at risk by his careless and ill-advised conduct,” the attorney wrote. “Upon further reflection by the Mayor after the incident, he understood the foolishness of his actions and admitted the same.”
Vandenberg later contacted officers to apologize. He said he bought his own tickets for the concert and paid to rent the bus.
Stuckly, the resident who filed the compliant, also accused the mayor of using his leadership position to go backstage to present a commemorative “artifact” to McCartney that included that village’s new branding tagline “Life Amplified.”
According to the story, a “presentation was not permitted by Mr. McCartney’s people,” and that the artifact was instead given to the venue.