Crest Hill nixes lingerie football
By Erin Gallagher For The Herald-News July 7, 2011 7:52PM
Lingerie Football League members wear bras, panties and garters during 7-on-7 tackle football games. | courtesy of the LFLUS
Updated: July 8, 2011 7:05PM
CREST HILL — Are you ready for some football?
In Crest Hill, maybe — or maybe not.
City council fireworks started with a planned appearance by Lingerie Football League members to sign autographs at the city’s annual picnic Aug. 7.
The Crest Hill City Council had returned from the holiday weekend to unanimously fill an empty planning commission seat and proclaim July Park and Recreation Month. That is where the unity ended.
Sparks flew as a couple aldermen disagreed with Mayor Raymond Soliman’s decision to ban the Lingerie Football League from appearing at the picnic.
Resident Mark Gregory told the council he rented a booth and invited the players as a gimmick to build his photography business.
“As the mayor, I am responsible for the image the city of Crest Hill wants to project,” Soliman said.
Soliman, who said he is friends with Gregory, noticed Gregory’s promotion on Facebook. After reading the photographer’s description and researching the league, the mayor believed it was inappropriate to have at a family picnic since the business booths will be in the same area as the children’s games.
Alderwoman Claudia Gazal called the mayor’s decision discrimination since the players would be dressed in T-shirts and shorts, not in their lingerie uniforms.
Alderman Neal Sternisha asked why the mayor banned these athletes after having allowed Miss Illinois last year. All the contestants of the controversial Miss USA pageant had lingerie photos.
Soliman said he felt this crossed the line.
“I am comfortable with my decision,” Soliman said, unswayed. “My decision stands.”
Gazal accused Soliman of lip service. Then when Alderwoman Brenda Lelis said she disagreed, Gazal turned on Lelis.
“I don’t care,” Gazal told Lelis, as the room went momentarily silent.
Gazal followed up with a personal comment about Lelis’ attire.
Lelis then returned the attention to the business. She told Gregory that next year’s contract would have clearer rules.