Thursday, January 18, 2001

CROWLEY: Villa Hills

Cue violins: This is like Mob drama

        VILLA HILLS — So the other night, I'm watching a late 1960s-era gangster flick about the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, with the late Jason Robards as Al Capone.

        Chicago, 1934. Big Al wants to “hit” rival bad guy Bugs Moran, so four Capone violinists use Tommy guns and shotguns to blow away seven members of the Moran gang in a garage.

[photo] Steve Clark cancels Wednesday night's city council meeting.
(Enquirer photo)
| ZOOM |
        Scarface Capone wanted Bugs out of the picture, see. But Bugs bugged out. He got tipped off to the caper and ended up escaping the massacre.

        Now, you just know a Steve Clark analogy is coming next.

        Because Wednesday night at the City Council meeting that never was, there he was, looking rather Don-like in a gray suit, black shirt and patterned tie trimmed in gold squares. All that was missing was the pinky ring.

        Mr. Clark isn't in the Mafia, or the Syndicate or any other mob, though some think his antics on Villa Hills City Council are practically a crime.

        Just like Bugs, a “hit” was planned on Mr. Clark. After he let 25,000 big ones out of the city building to pay for concrete - the dough was for sidewalks, not cement shoes — everybody came at him.

        City Council, angry residents, the attorney general, the city attorney, the commonwealth attorney and a grand jury.

        But Don Clark survived. No charges. No indictment. This is his town, see. He's calling the shots, see.

        I can practically hear Mr. Clark doing an Edward G. Robinson in one of his gangland classics as he goads his detractors: “Where's your indictment now? Where's your special meeting now? The city building isn't big enough for you and me, see? Where's your investigation now?”

        Mr. Clark was on a seat so hot Wednesday night the pants of his Sopranos-style suit practically caught fire.

        More than 200 and maybe as many as 300 angry residents jammed into the Crescent Springs City Building - which was chosen to accommodate a crowd — and couldn't — to show support for two city employees The Don recently took out: Police Chief Michael “Corky” Brown and City Clerk Sue “Files” Kramer.

        The Don hasn't said why he rubbed them out, firing them as he did Dec. 28.

        But lots of residents are ticked about it. They want answers. They want the two reinstated. They want The Don's head on a big plate of linguine.

        Don't try to rattle The Don, though. He's been through the wars. He's made his bones.

        “There are 8,500 residents in this city,” The Don said, gesturing his head toward the packed meeting room. “That's not even a percent of them out there.”

        (Whoa, his math is worse than mine.)

        And as far as City Council hiring lawyer Phil Taliaferro to look into the firings, The Don doesn't scare easily.

        The meeting when council made its deal with Big Phil was illegal because procedures weren't correctly followed.

        “We'll retake the vote,” threatened Councilman Mike “The Greek” Sadouskas. “Phil Taliaferro isn't going away.”

        That should make any mayor uneasy. Big Phil — the consigliere — has taken out the mayors of Dayton and Williamstown through impeachment proceedings he handled.

        But not The Don. He's not sleeping with any fishes.

        “Nobody is going to make me run away.”

        Patrick Crowley covers Kentucky politics for The Kentucky Enquirer. He can be reached at 578-5581, or by e-mail at pcrowley9


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