Former Tinley Park mayoral candidate Eberhardt sanctioned by state

A former Tinley Park attorney and one-time mayoral candidate has been sanctioned by state regulators for abusing the legal system to “burden and harass” village elected officials, Tinley Park employees and residents.

Stephen Eberhardt “used the law to harass others and demonstrated disrespect for the legal system by burdening the courts with meritless lawsuits,” according to the April ruling by the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission.

“Instead of upholding the legal process, he abused it because of personal grievances he had with the village,” the ruling states.

Eberhardt ran unsuccessfully for Tinley Park mayor in 2013, and records show he was licensed in Illinois to practice law since 1982. He has since retired and is not authorized to practice law here.

A complaint against him was filed with the state in September 2022, and the ARDC ruling noted that at the time of the hearing, early last October on the complaint against Eberhardt, he still had a law office in the village.

He moved to Florida in 2021, but has since filed public records requests with Tinley Park and posted online comments about the village, according to the commission’s April 19 ruling.

The hearing panel found that Eberhardt “filed frivolous pleadings that were intended to embarrass persons” employed with and affiliated with the village.

Since 2014, Eberhardt filed at least 26 lawsuits in state and federal court against Tinley Park, elected officials, village employees, residents and volunteers, according to the ARDC ruling.

The panel found Eberhardt represented himself in cases and “used means that had no substantial purpose other than to embarrass, harass and burden” the village and people associated with it.

Although he has apparently retired from the practice, he would have to complete a professionalism seminar and pay sanctions of nearly $27,000 before he could resume practicing law, according to the ruling.

Eberhardt did not respond to a message seeking comment on the ruling.

In a recent posting on the Mayor’s Corner, sent to village residents, Tinley Park Mayor Mayor Michael Glotz said that Eberhardt had “terrorized” the village, and that “for more than a decade, Eberhardt took aim at Tinley Park taxpayers, costing them hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend frivolous lawsuits filed against the village, its elected officials, staff and residents.”

Glotz said from 2014 to 2022, Eberhardt and his associates filed lawsuits against the village, its current and previous elected officials, employees, volunteers, village attorneys and residents.

The mayor said that, over that span, Eberhardt filed some 400 public records requests with Tinley Park, as well as numerous ethics complaints and administrative complaints.

According to the ARDC ruling, Eberhardt filed a 19-count, 102-page complaint in federal court in February 2020, which included 384 pages of exhibits. The complaint alleged Eberhardt was not being supplied with public documents by the village, and that his First Amendment rights had been violated during comments he made at Tinley Park Village Board meetings.

An appeal in federal court was pending at the time of the ARDC decision, it noted.

The ruling said that since Eberhardt’s move out of Tinley Park, his conduct “shows that his behavior stemmed from personal animosity instead of a legitimate legal purpose.”

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