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Morton school board re-elects president with ties to drug dealer

More than two weeks after scores of parents from Cicero and Berwyn called for the resignation of a school board president tied to a major drug dealer and ranking motorcycle gang member, the school board acted Thursday night.

The Morton High School District 201 school board re-elected him president, with only one board member suggesting new leadership and voting present.

Re-elected board President Jeff Pesek testified last year under a grant of immunity from prosecution in a mob bombing trial in Chicago. He has also been in business ventures with an admitted wholesale cocaine dealer. He has not been charged with any crime.

A political power in the town of Cicero, Pesek, 38, and his younger brother, Craig, were also caught on an FBI surveillance device in 2007 — just a few months after Jeff Pesek was elected to the school board — talking with a ranking Outlaw motorcycle gang member, Mark Polchan.

Polchan was discussing his fear he would be arrested for a mob-ordered bombing and asked the brothers if they would post bond for him. Polchan was convicted of the crime at trial last year.

Robert Pauly, president of a Berwyn parents group that has called for Pesek to resign, said Thursday: “The fact he has not resigned indicates that [school board members] have bigger concerns than the integrity of the district, and so be it.” Pauly said the board will be held accountable come election time.

On Wednesday night, Jeff Pesek thanked the board for its support. Pesek has declined to discuss publicly his ties to the two criminals.

He said at a board meeting earlier this month that he had done nothing wrong and suggested testifying under immunity in court was a normal matter of course.

DePaul Law Professor Leonard L. Cavise noted in general that people who testify under immunity “want to make sure if they say anything, they can’t be prosecuted for it.”

“Prosecutors don’t give immunity to people unless they think it’s necessary to secure their testimony,” Cavise said.

Board Vice President Joseph Keating, an attorney, said he had talked to Pesek at length and reviewed a transcript of his court testimony. He declined to say what he asked Pesek or how Pesek responded.

“It would concern me if Jeff Pesek had been indicted,” said Keating, who supported Pesek’s re-election.

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