Township chief threatens to break off finger of older woman
During an angry exchange at a Thursday public meeting involving what he said was an insult to his mother, Township Supervisor Alvin Parks warned Trustee Edith Moore: “Don’t put your finger in my face again unless you want it broken off.”
Parks, 56, said during an interview Friday, “She might have punched a hole in my face. She has fingernails ... At that point I’m feeling physically threatened myself.” Parks, who became supervisor in May, added, “I apologize for making a threat. I didn’t mean it as a threat. But sometimes you just gotta back people up. Young or old. Man or woman ... I don’t apologize for backing her up.”
Moore, 69, who suffers from heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, said Friday she is considering filing a police report with the East St. Louis Police Department.
“I was threatened but I wasn’t intimidated,” Moore said, “I’m not afraid of Alvin Parks.”
Shortly after the confrontation but during the meeting, Moore made a call on her cellular phone asking someone to come to the township building. On Friday, she said the call was made to her brother.
Neither Parks nor Moore actually touched each other. The dispute occurred just after Moore angrily addressed Park’s mother Lillian Parks, a former school superintendent, who spoke out from the audience after the public comment session had ended. “I’m not caring about nothing you have to say,” Moore told Lillian Parks.
Alvin Parks then turned to face Moore who sat beside him and said loudly, “And she’s not caring nothing you are talking about.”
Moore raised a finger, but didn’t put it in Parks’ face. “You know you can’t be jumping in my face!” she said.
Parks replied: “And you better get your finger out of my face too. Unless you want it broken off.”
“I wish you would. I just wish you would,” Moore said.
“Well, I wish you would put it there again. I’ll show you what time it is,” Parks said and laughed.
“You might get shown what time it is before you know it,” Moore answered.
The meeting went on without further angry words between the two, including a discussion of why Parks wasn’t bonded even though he had been in office since May and state law requires that he file a performance bond. He read a letter from a Swansea insurance broker that stated he would be issued a $600,000 bond Thursday, Dec. 14, that will cost $5,100, about 10 times the normal rate. He said he would pay the bond fee himself.
According to a Nov. 17 notification from Equifax, a national credit reporting agency, a decision to deny Parks a bond at any cost was denied “...based in whole or in part, upon information revealed in a credit review” of Parks’ credit history. He has said it is not his credit rating that is the hold up but the history of the last township elected supervisor Oliver Hamilton who is serving five years in federal prison for defrauding the township of $40,000. Hamilton was not bonded.
Parks read a letter Thursday night stating that his bond will be issued by 2 p.m. Friday, Dec. 15, at the latest. He will then provide a copy to Township Clerk Harry Hollingsworth as required by law, he said.
At the meeting on Thursday, Moore said that if Parks didn’t meet the deadline, a three-member majority of the board will likely vote to request township attorney Mike Wagner to petition a St. Clair County judge to remove Parks from office. State law provides that if a township supervisor fails to post bond within 10 days of being requested, the office is “considered to be vacant.”
Both Moore and Trustee Scott Randolph, who have been given authority to sign township checks, posted bond at their own expense, $325 each. Both refused Parks’ earlier request to sign a $5,100 township check to pay for his bond.
“I’m the villain. I’m the bad guy,” that’s what you are going to write, Parks told a reporter during an interview at the township offices at the Clyde Jordan Center. Asked if he thought he had bullied Moore, Parks replied, “she was the bully.”