Greater Chicagoland area political activist Frank Coconate gave professional journalism his first shot right here at American News Post a few years ago by penning a small number of articles, until he and American News Post parted ways in late July of 2014. As a result of Coconate’s brief part-time stint at American News Post in 2013 and 2014, some readers have occasionally updated American News Post with information that Coconate purportedly published on the internet via his personal Facebook page. The quoted portion of the title of this article is a direct quote from some of the published work on Frank Coconate’s personal Facebook page, dated January 25, 2017, at 2:17 pm.
Apparently, Coconate was referring to Schiller Park’s current mayoral candidate, Nick Caiafa, when he stated the information indicated in that quote. Sources have told American News Post that Caiafa’s political helpers have been engaging Coconate via his Facebook account in defense of their candidate, who Coconate is outright calling a killer.
Pardon me for digressing, but I wish to clarify that American News Post is not claiming that Caiafa did anything inappropriate with respect to his involvement with the women who were found dead in his home, and does not condone such reckless accusations. I believe that if Coconate were still writing for American News Post, he would not be allowed to make ostentatious defamatory statements like the ones that he purportedly published on his personal Facebook page about Nick Caiafa’s controversy (best illustrated by WGN News) regarding two women found dead in the mayoral candidate’s home.
Out of curiosity, I accessed public records to see if any newly recorded libel and/or slander lawsuits were filed against Frank Coconate over his harsh Facebook statements published against Schiller Park’s Nick Caiafa. My search of public records revealed that Caiafa has not taken any official legal action against Coconate (or WGN News for that matter) to clear his name.
I find it extremely odd that a person running for public office (and presently holding two public offices, Township Trustee and Police Commissioner) would not want to deal with the now well-known and extremely eyebrow-raising facts regarding the circumstances surrounding the deaths of those women. There is no time greater than now for a candidate such as Nick Caiafa to thoroughly attempt to clear his name, especially since an extremely powerful letter has now made it to the desk of the boss of the FBI in Chicago.
I have included the text of this letter below (the original may be seen here). It is signed by Caiafa’s political opponent, Barbara J. Piltaver, who is presently the mayor of Schiller Park.
Dear Agent Anderson:
I am writing with an unusual request and I’m hoping that once you read this letter you would be willing to open two old cases from our town and give us an independent investigation. This involves the deaths of two women, Lorraine Michalski (Fatigato) and Lorraine Michalski. Based on the reports submitted by the Schiller Park Police Department, Mary Kolodziej’s (Fatigato’s) August of2000 death was ruled a suicide by hanging and Lorraine Michalski’s September of 2008 death was ruled an accidental methadone overdose. Both women died at the home of Nick Caiafa at 10071 Berteau Avenue in Schiller Park and each woman was dating Mr. Caiafa at the time of her death. Detective Tom Henn of the Schiller Park Police Department conducted and closed both of these investigations.
On March 6, 2017, WGN News aired a story entitled “2 Girlfriends. 2 Deaths. 1 House. Many Questions.” Specifically, the investigative report accuses the Schiller Park Police Department of “choosing sides” and a “slipshod investigation”. WGN also had Sergio Acosta, a former Assistant State’s Attorney and federal prosecutor, review the police reports from these investigations. Mr. Acosta stated that these death investigations require, “a lot more attention to detail and thoroughness in terms of investigation.” Finally, Mr. Acosta said, “Certainly it would be a better practice to maybe have someone else do some of the follow up investigation to make sure there were no questions raised later regarding the quality of the investigation.”
Since the WGN investigation, both families of the deceased women have asked that the Village to request an independent evaluation of the work originally done by the Schiller Park Police Department.
I have now reviewed the police reports, and I agree that more could have been done with these investigations. In my opinion, I believe that an outside agency must conduct these investigations for several reasons. First, the Schiller Park Police Department has a clear conflict of interest; Specifically, the owner of the home and boyfriend of both deceased women, Mr. Nick Caiafa, is a member of the Schiller Park Board of Fire and Police Commissioners and was a member at the time of the second death. As a member of the board, Mr. Caiafa has the power to hire, suspend, and fire Schiller Park Police Officers.
In addition, it is a known fact that Mr. Caiafa is good friends with many of the police officers involved in the investigation as well as the police chief. In fact, at the time of the first death, his alibi was a police officer. Thus, any investigation by the Schiller Park Police Department, no matter how thorough, will always be clouded with uncertainty and biased.
As Mayor of Schiller Park, I feel it is my responsibility to give the families of Mary Kolodziej (Fatigato) and Lorraine Michalski peace of mind and the closure they never received originally. (When you read the reports, you will learn that neither of the families were notified of the deaths or interviewed by any investigative officer.)
Toward that end, I am personally requesting that the FBJ conduct a full investigation into the circumstances of these tragic deaths.
As Mayor, I can assure you that I will do everything in my power to help facilitate these investigations. You will have unfettered access to all Schiller Park Police personnel and records in order to conduct a thorough evaluation.
I look forward to speaking with you at your earliest convenience. Thank you in advance for your prompt attention and assistance with this matter.
Barbara J. Piltaver, Mayor
Some call Piltaver’s letter to the FBI convenient for her campaign for reelection. However, others see the letter to the FBI as something that was long overdue.
After reading this letter, I believe reasonable people will conclude that the now closed police investigations into the deaths of the women recovered from Caiafa’s house will be reopened in the near future. Unfortunately, it is likely that the investigations will not be reopened until after the upcoming mayoral election, which is scheduled for April 4, 2017.
Schiller Park residents: Vote your conscience!
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