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Niles officials to revisit pulling disgraced ex-Mayor Blase’s name from village sign

Former Niles Mayor Nicholas Blase was released from prisearly-2011 after serving yearlong sentence federal corrupticharges. | File photo

Former Niles Mayor Nicholas Blase was released from prison in early-2011 after serving a yearlong sentence on federal corruption charges. | File photo

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Updated: November 15, 2011 12:17PM

Niles officials are revisiting the debate over whether to remove the sign in front of Village Hall honoring convicted ex-Mayor Nicholas Blase.

“I think it should be taken down,” Trustee Rosemary Palicki said. “With ethics first, we need to start in, literally, our own front yard.

Blase, who served as mayor for 47 years, was sentenced in January 2010 to one year and a day in federal prison after he admitted to pocketing $421,000 in kickbacks from an insurance company in return for steering local businesses to the company. He was released earlier this year.

A year ago the village board debated removing the “Blase Plaza” sign from in front of the village hall campus, but trustees split 3-3 on the vote, with Mayor Robert Callero breaking the tie and voting to keep the sign.

The issue is set to come up for discussion again at a village board meeting scheduled for Oct. 25.

“I think all we’re doing is going backwards again,” said Trustee Joseph LoVerde, who wishes to see the sign remain. “I think it’s counterproductive to go backwards.”

LoVerde said a survey of the community revealed most people want the sign left up.

“We have many more important issues on the table that need to be addressed,” he said.

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