Poplar Grove, IL. (ECWd) -
RMS Insurance Services, Flanders Insurance Agency, and Owen Costanza (former Village President of Poplar Grove who lost the most recent Mayoral election) filed a lawsuit naming the current Village President of Poplar Grove, Donald Sattler, and three others as Defendants.
Plaintiff is asking for combined judgments in excess of $250,000.00.
The suit alleges, among others:
- Defendant SATTLER has made statements, created and circulated written material in person and on line to members of the public regarding OWEN that are untrue, deceptive, misleading and inflammatory, including, without limitation, a widely-disseminated flyer falsely attributing a "criminal record" to OWEN and falsely accusing him of fraudulent and criminal acts and being a "repeat criminal," in violation of Illinois Statutes. See EXHIBIT 1 - False Flyer, attached hereto
- SATTLER has repeatedly posted statements on third party Facebook pages regarding OWEN that are untrue, deceptive, misleading and inflammatory
- SATTLER publicly distributed certain of the Sattler Harassment, including without limitation, the EXHIBIT 1 - False Flyer, throughout local businesses in Poplar Grove, personally posting copies of the EXHIBIT 1 - False Flyer on the doors, walls, and windows of businesses, including, without limitation, those of Plaintiffs' current and prospective clients and customers, throughout the Village.
From amongst the 17-Count Complaint:
- Tortious interference with prospective business advantage
- Tortious interference with contract
- Civil conspiracy to tortuously interfere with Plaintiff's contracts with existing customers, tortuously interfere with Plaintiff's prospective business advantage, and to damage and injure Plaintiff's business and reputations in the community
- Business defamation under Illinois common law
The "False Flyer"
In the alleged "False Flyer" are the following statements, with our comments and public records after each statement:
"My Opponents Criminal record Is:"
- 1995 Pleads guilty to filing false report to Boone County
- Court records indicate Costanza did in fact enter a guilty plea on June 27, 1996. The Court later entered a "withhold judgment/court supervision" disposition for the case
- 1999 Terminated from Liberty Insurance for Fraud Misrepresentation
- Public records obtained from the State of Wisconsin indicate Costanza was terminated under Codes 15 and 17, which identify as "fraud" and "misrepresentation" according to the state. The last page is a short statement on the actual reason(s) for termination as allegedly reported by the employer.
- 1999 Pleads guilty to writing bad check in Boone County
- Court records indicate Costanza did in fact enter a guilty plea on January 27, 2000. The Court later entered a "conditional discharge order and additional conditions order" disposition for the case
- 2000 Home foreclosure in Boone County
- Court records indicate Costanza's home was in fact foreclosed on, with the Court confirming the sale and ordering possession on July 19, 2000.
- 2000 Completes Chapter 7 bankruptcy filed in 1996 as Chapter 13
- Court records indicate Costanza did file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in 1996, converted it to a Chapter 7, which was later finalized by the Court on January 3, 2000.
- 2007 Pleads guilty to drunk driving in Winnebago County
- Court records indicate Costanza did in fact enter a guilty plea of DUI on February 27, 2007. The Court later entered a "court supervision" disposition of the case.
- 2008 Wisconsin DOI denied insurance license for false application
- According to the Wisconsin Commissioner of Insurance' Annual report (see page 41), Costanza did in fact have his license denied for 31 days, based on allegations of failing to disclose previous criminal convictions on an insurance license application and failing to disclose a company termination for allegations of misconduct. November 2008.
- 2010 Indiana DOI fines him $1500 false application & revokes insurance license
- According to the Indiana Department of Insurance Agreed Entry and Stipulation, dated September 21, 2010, Costanza was ordered to pay a $1500 fine for false statements on his application for licensure, and also agreed that action will be taken against his state license.
- 2011 Terminated from RMS Service Group for misappropriating company funds
- According to an RMS Service Group letter obtained through a FOIA request of a state agency, dated January 27, 2011, Costanza was in fact terminated for the reason(s) listed in the letter, pertaining to financial transactions.
- 2012 Answers fraudulently again on Illinois DOI license renewal application
- According to an Illinois Department of Insurance Stipulation and Consent Order, dated February 18, 2015, Costanza did not truthfully report certain things on his application (see page 6, item "K").
- 2014 Illinois DOI investigates numerous complaints by insurance customers, past terminations, criminal history, unlawful fund withdrawals, and fines & discipline from Wisconsin and Indiana (IL-14-HR-0482 & IN-934-AG10-8031-135)
- According to an Illinois Department of Insurance Stipulation and Consent Order, dated February 18, 2015, the Illinois DOI did in fact conduct this investigation.
- 2014 Illinois DOI revokes insurance business license for major agency violations
- According to an Illinois Department of Insurance Stipulation and Consent Order, dated February 18, 2015, Costanza's business license was in fact revoked (see page 7, item "1").
- 2015 Illinois DOI disciplines and fines him $30,000.00 for multiple repeat violations
- According to an Illinois Department of Insurance Stipulation and Consent Order, dated February 18, 2015, Costanza was in fact fined $30,000.00 (see page 7, item "2").
- 1995 Pleads guilty to filing false report to Boone County
"We cannot allow a repeat criminal like Mr. Costanza to defraud our village like he has defrauded his creditors, customers, past employers, and the Wisconsin, Indiana, and Illinois Departments of Insurance. What else has he done to us?
- According to Costanza's letters and documents sent to him by the Wisconsin Commissioner of Insurance's office, the state defines a "crime" as any misdemeanor, felony, or military offense (except traffic citations). the state defines "convicted" as having been found guilty, a plea of guilty or novo contender, or having been given probation, a suspended sentence, or a fine (see page 10).
- Within those documents, he says the claim on his termination from Liberty Insurance was looked at by the Illinois department and unemployment office and was closed in his favor (page 11), he also says the disorderly conduct was not supposed to be on the record, and he received supervision for a returned check (page 12). He also talked about the issue with his van on pages 5 and 6.
As for all of the other complaints of comments, posts on social media, and personal distribution of the flyer, we cannot comment as we know of none of those and they were not included as Exhibits in this Complaint.
We emailed Plaintiff (to three of his known email address) and asked for comments to specific questions. As of this publication he has not responded.