Updated September 8, 2018.
The chaos, discord and dysfunction continues with the Villa Park City Council and once again Diana Fascenelli is in the middle of it. This time Diana Fascenelli has filed a lawsuit against the Villa Park City Manager, Steve Franks, and Mayor Robert Collacott. The attorney representing Diana Fascinelli is her husband, Fred Fascenelli.
The lawsuit concerns whether or not Franks and Collacott followed proper procedure when Collacott filed to run for the upcoming City Council elections. Fascenelli contends, through a lawsuit, they did not and now the City of Villa Park will need to spend thousands of taxpayer dollars defending this lawsuit. Further, this lawsuit was filed without any public notice or discussion in a City Council meeting.
The motives for this could be many. There are currently 4 candidates, including Fascenelli, who have filed for 3 open City Council seats. If Fascenelli’s lawsuit is successful this would eliminate Collacott and ensure Fascenelli another term. There is also a long history of acrimony (more on this below) between Collacott and Fascenelli, which could be another motive. They are also frequently on the opposite sides of many city issues including the recent Short Term Rental ban (Fascenelli opposed a ban). What isn’t clear at this point is how this lawsuit benefits the City of Villa Park and why utilizing taxpayer dollars to resolve this matter was deemed the best decision for Villa Park.
1:13:19 – Villa Park resident public comments on pending litigation.
There is history
This isn’t the first altercation between Diana Fascenelli and other City Council members, including Collacott. In late 2015 it was exposed that Diana Fascenelli was delinquent on medical insurance premiums paid through the city to CalPERS. After this came to light Fascenelli paid back the premiums plus a late fee but not without considerable disputes and accusations between Fascenelli and current and former Villa Park City Council members.
The December 2015 City Council meeting encapsulates many of these issues which spanned 3 city council meetings. The discord included fiscal malfeasance accusations, heated exchanges between current and former City Council members, district attorney involvement and Fascenelli’s husband hiring a private detective to investigate other city council members. See the video with key elements noted below.
16:05 – Fred Fascenelli, Diana Fascenelli’s husband, presents a 5 minute video presentation in defense of council member Fascenelli and leaves while it plays
34:00 – Deborah Pauley responds to the fiscal malfeasance accusations
4:20:00 – Diana Fascenelli/ Deborah Pauley exchange
4:24:00 – Mayor Fascenelli introduces an agenda item, “Inappropriate Code of Conduct of Council members.”
4:41:30 – Public comments on inappropriate behavior of City Council members
4:48:00 – Diana Fascenelli admits to husband hiring a PI to investigate Villa Park City Council members
California Recall Law
Recall proceedings may not be commenced against an officer of a city, county, special district, school district, community college district, or county board of education if:
- The officer has not held office during the current term for more than 90 days,
- A recall election has been determined in the officer’s favor within the last six months, or
- The officer’s term ends within six months or less.
These limitations do not apply to an officer appointed in lieu of an election pursuant to Elections Code section 10229(a)(2).
(Elections Code § 11007)
2018 Villa Park Election News
- 4 candidates file for 3 open City Council seats
- Mayor Collacott Prevails, Will Remain in City Council Election
- Orange County Superior Full Ruling on Lawsuit
- Aftermath of Fascenelli Lawsuit Continues to Reverberate
- VP City Council Candidate Forum – Meet the candidates
- City Council Candidate Statements