Melrose Park Mayor Ronald Serpico used racial slur while berating resident at public meeting

In a recording of the exchange, the suburban mayor can be heard using a slew of obscenities and a racial epithet for Black people.

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Melrose Park Mayor Ron Serpico

Melrose Park Mayor Ron Serpico

Sun-Times files

Melrose Park Mayor Ronald Serpico was captured on a video recording late last month using a slew of profanities and a racial slur as he launched into a tirade during a public meeting.

In a recording uploaded to YouTube on Thursday, Serpico is heard lobbing insults and expletives while sparring with a resident during a Jan. 28 meeting of Melrose Park’s municipal officers electoral board.

At one point, Serpico says the man looks “like a f------ sh---,” using a racial epithet to insult Black people. While the man Serpico is heard attacking is white, the man told the Sun-Times he was taken aback by the mayor’s comments.

“I’m offended that he’s a mayor, and he actually uses those words ... I mean, it’s racist,” resident Mike Cozzi said.

Later Thursday, Serpico issued a mea culpa that also cast blame on Cozzi.

“I regret making these comments,” Serpico said. “This resident has repeatedly harassed me and the village board of trustees, and in this instance, my frustration got the better of me. I apologize for my comments and pledge to do better in the future.”

Cozzi acknowledged he’s known Serpico for roughly two decades, saying the mayor previously served as his brother’s attorney. Though Cozzi said he showed up at the meeting to support friends attempting to run for local office, the recording shows things got personal when he claimed the mayor has helped his brother in the past.

“You’ve always you got this f------ thing that I helped your brother,” Serpico says. “But you know what, I’m going to tell you something: You’re really reaching. So do me a f------ favor and sit down and shut the f--- up.”

Later, when Cozzi asks Serpico what he did to him, the mayor attacks him using the racial slur.

“You look like a f------ sh--- on 15th because you’re doing it to bust f------ balls,” Serpico says. “That’s what you’re doing. So go f--- yourself!”

In an interview, Cozzi said he fears a personal rift with his brother has led to “targeted harassment” and increased scrutiny from the mayor’s office. Cozzi said he’s received a flood of $500 tickets from the village for keeping chairs in front of his home, which he claimed has recently sustained property damage.

During the recording, Cozzi specifically asks Serpico if he’s aware a window at his home had been busted out.

“I give a f--- about your window,” Serpico says. “Like I worry about your f------ house when I drive past it.”

The man then presses Serpico, claiming he “obviously” cares about the home.

“Yeah, because you live like a piece of s---. You’re like a hillbilly,” Serpico says.

Cozzi shoots back: “There’s chairs outside. We’re not bothering nobody.”

Serpico’s comments come less than two years after the Sun-Times reported the village’s police force hired an officer after he was caught referring to Mexican people using a racial epithet while training to become a Glen Ellyn cop.

Though records show the cop left his job in Glen Ellyn after making another “inappropriate comment,” he was hired in 2019 by the police department in Melrose Park, where the population is predominantly Latino.

Two weeks after he was hired, the cop made a $1,250 campaign contribution to Serpico. A spokesman for the mayor denied there was any quid pro quo and said Serpico was giving the cash to a food pantry to avoid “any perception of impropriety.”

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