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A Tale of Two Kellys



A Tale of Two Kellys
 
Question: Bartlett Village President Candidate Patricia Ryerson Kelly is former Bartlett Village President Mike Kelly’s: A) sister; B) wife; C) daughter; D) none of the above.
 
If you answered anything but “D,” you are in good company…and you are profoundly mistaken.
 
But you are understandably mistaken, because Ryerson Kelly has done a very good job of allowing confusion about her relationship to Mike Kelly to spread far and wide—as several candidates running for local office have confirmed after circulating their own nominating petitions door-to-door.
 
So how did this confusion come to pass? Where did Ryerson go? Where did this new Kelly come from? And why? Let us review: After Mike Airdo and his gang scandalously ran out beloved Village President Mike Kelly, he moved fast to consolidate his power. He and his toady majority put on a grand charade of seeking applicants to fill the trustee vacancy created by Airdo’s seizure of the village presidency. On April 17, 2012, after an allegedly “fair” and “exhaustive” search process, Airdo nominated the ultimate insider and his close political ally: Patricia Ryerson Kelly. That same night, after a quick vote, Airdo declared “Patricia Ryerson Kelly duly appointed as village trustee.”
 
Soon after, the village published its “Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,” wherein no village trustee used a middle name or compound last name—except Patricia Ryerson Kelly. Indeed, it seemed Ms. Ryerson Kelly was pretty sure of her name throughout most of last year, as further evidenced on the official Bartlett website to this day. Once again, the most we get from the other elected officials is a middle initial, but clearly Ryerson Kelly prefers to stand out as a Ryerson.
 
At least she did until she decided to run for village president and began sending out political mailings with “Ryerson” scrubbed. It was a newly minted “Patricia Kelly” who entered the political arena where being wrongly confused as a relation and friend of Mike Kelly, rather than an enemy, could pay big political dividends. It might also be calculated to help us forget Ms. Ryerson Kelly’s political history. So, let us be reminded of just some of it…
 
First, full disclosure: This is the same Ryerson Kelly, attorney at law, who threatened The Examiner with litigation if we did not desist in exposing Brian McGuire’s shenanigans at Hanover Township (that’s Airdo’s close friend and political mentor McGuire, the same McGuire who has seemingly gone out of his way to inflict tremendous pain and suffering upon Mike Kelly over the last few years). The same Ryerson Kelly who acts as general counsel to and upon whom has been bestowed high award by the much-maligned Bartlett Volunteer Fire Department—also run by McGuire (see “Bartlett Ombudsman” @ www.examinerpublications.com).
 
This is the same Ryerson Kelly whose campaign treasurer, listed with the Illinois State Board of Elections, is Lisa Busto, long-time treasurer of several Brian McGuire political committees.
 
This is the same Ryerson Kelly whom the Illinois State Board of Elections shows donating to the political campaign of Daniel “Danny” Solis, the 25th Ward Chicago alderman who Chicago Magazine named one of the city’s 100 most powerful people. Why does this matter? Well, Solis was appointed by Mayor Richard Daley in 1996. Then, according to Progress Illinois, Solis received significant support from Rahm Emanuel and Mike Madigan. Again, so what? It’s not inherently wrong to be allied with ruthless giants of the Chicago political machine.
 
Unless, of course, things start to happen around here that smell familiar. For example, a third candidate for Bartlett Village President emerged after it became clear that Airdo and McGuire’s hand-picked candidate, Ryerson Kelly, would be challenged by well-respected reformer and past Bartlett Chamber of Commerce President Kevin Wallace. Suddenly, Wayne Township’s virtually unknown Democrat Party Chairman, Ted Lonis, threw his hat into the ring. Again, so what?
 
So, what it smells like is textbook Chicago, Democrat machine politics—cynical, divisive, and patronizing. Two men on the ballot, it is assumed, will guarantee that the female candidate (Ryerson Kelly) wins. This is based on two assumptions about voters: 1) they are vain and shallow, voting their gender identity over their community’s best interests; and, 2) they are ignorant, unable to discover Ryerson Kelly’s connections that prove her unworthy of office: namely, her political alliances with Mike Kelly’s enemies; with the nastiest Chicago politicians and the long arm of their party; and, with the local politicians who have done so much to so quickly tarnish the image of Bartlett.
 
During the Prohibition Era, there was another public figure who changed his name to hide his identity. He was born George Kelly Barnes, but you might know him better as Machine Gun Kelly. Though his viciousness was of a deadlier order, his impulse to hide his identity and unsavory past is no less understandable than Ryerson Kelly’s.
 
The first counterfeit Kelly, Machine Gun, had one of the shortest careers in gangland. At the ballot box this April, let us all do our part to see that history repeats itself.




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