Felon works in new River Forest state rep’s local office
Updated: February 25, 2013 6:18AM
Newly elected state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, who represents River Forest and the seventh district in Springfield, has hired a former cop convicted of a felony to run his Westchester constituent services office.
Guy “Ric” Cervone, 53, was one of seven former Melrose Park cops convicted for his part in a conspiracy to muscle Melrose Park businesses into using a security guard business owned by Vito Scavo, who was police chief at the time.
Cervone was convicted of urging officers under his command to lie to federal investigators.
A receptionist at Welch’s office, 10005 Roosevelt Road in Westchester, referred to Cervone as “the office manager” on Thursday.
A message requesting comment from Cervone was not returned Thursday. Welch’s Springfield office, which has no listed phone number, wasn’t immediately available for comment via email.
Welch edged out Forest Park village commissioner Rory Hoskins by 36 votes out of 11,945 votes cast in the March primary. He ran unopposed in the November general election.
Cervone, who was a Melrose Park police lieutenant, was indicted in 2007 as part of Scavo’s conspiracy to run a private security firm using public funds for expenses like gasoline and cars, and on-duty police paid by the village.
The day before he was to stand trial in federal court in 2009, Cervone changed his plea to guilty and admitted to corruptly influencing and obstructing the administration of justice.
Cervone was sentenced to 60 days in jail, a $5,000 fine and 250 hours of community service. Prosecutors dropped two other wire fraud charges as part of the plea deal.
“I was afraid and I did the wrong thing,” Cervone told a judge at his sentencing.
That sentence was far less than the maximum of five years in prison that the one count of obstruction carried. Federal prosecutors had asked for a 16-month prison sentence.
In December 2010, Cervone lost his police pension after a 4-1 vote by the village’s Board of Police and Fire Commissioners. At that hearing, Cervone said he was “a good police officer put in a bad situation. I didn’t know it was going on.”
Both Cervone and Welch have a strong political connection to Melrose Park Mayor Ron Serpico. Cervone contributed $2,050 to Serpico’s campaign funds, and he won election to the Melrose Park District 89 School Board with Serpico’s financial and campaign help.
Serpico also has long supported Welch’s political career in the same manner, helping him win three terms on the Proviso District 209 High School Board.
In 2012, Cervone received nearly $14,000 from the Welch campaign for “election day poll watchers” and for “services rendered,” according to state records.