Finally, A Pleasant After-“Taste”


It’s time to bury the hatchet.

And not in anybody’s skull.

As readers of this blog well know, since our July 7, 2008 post, we have been unabashedly outspoken critics of Taste of Park Ridge NFP (“Taste Inc.”), the private corporation which, back in 2005, was given a no-bid exclusive “deal” to run the City’s signature event, Taste of Park Ridge (“TOPR”).  Our beef has been simple and straightforward: why is the City getting stiffed on the reimbursement of expenses and the profit sharing that was intended in the original 2005 TOPR “deal”?

Since that first post we discovered that TOPR had been run from 2005 to 2009 by a for-profit corporation masquerading as a non-profit one (i.e, and “NFP”) – which the City (a/k/a, the taxpayers) was subsidizing to the tune of $10-20,000, or more, worth of City services (police, fire and public works), even as Taste Inc. built up a bank account approaching six figures.  The fact that politicians like then-Maine Twp. Supervisor Bob “the Dude” Dudycz and then-mayor Howard Frimark were instrumental in Taste Inc. made the situation even more problematic, as did the inexplicable lack of oversight by both the 14-member, pre-2006 referendum Council, and the 7-member, post-2006 referendum Council.

We called out the Taste Inc. folks and our City officials – the former for ripping off the taxpayers, the latter for letting the former get away with it.  We also called for transparency from Taste Inc., reimbursement of the City by Taste Inc. for TOPR expenses, profit-sharing between the City and Taste Inc., and a competitive RFP/bidding process to ensure that the taxpayers were getting the best bang for their buck, both economically and entertainment-wise.

Needless to say, that didn’t endear us to those Taste Inc. folks and many of those public officials imitating the see/hear/speak-no-evil monkeys.  C’est la vie.

Last year (for TOPR 2012), however, Mayor Dave Schmidt finally overcame all the wailing and gnashing of teeth to get the Council to take its duty to the taxpayers seriously.  They demanded that Taste Inc. do all those things it should have been doing since 2005.  Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate.  So while Taste Inc. reimbursed the City for its expenses, there wasn’t any profit sharing to be had.

But as anybody who was around last weekend can attest, the weather for TOPR 2013 couldn’t have been better.  And the crowds that came out for the expanded (to 4 days) TOPR should end up making this year’s event a contender for most successful TOPR.  Evah!

For Taste Inc. and for the City.  Which is all we ever wanted in the first place.

So in the spirit of “all’s well that ends well,” we think it’s time for all of us who were justifiably critical of how TOPR was being operated to wipe the slate clean, and to give the Taste Inc. folks – Dave Iglow, Dean Patras, John Warnimont, Barb Tyksinski, Mel Thillens, Franklin Ramirez, et al. – a big Watchdog bark-out.  Hopefully, all of us learned something worthwhile from the “refining” process TOPR went through these past few years.

And hopefully TOPR 2013 will prove to have been successful enough to put some needed dollars in the City treasury this year…and in years to come.

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