By Lindsay Toler
By Ray Downs
By Lindsay Toler
By Village Voice Writers
By Lindsay Toler
By Lindsay Toler
By Danny Wicentowski
By Lindsay Toler
"I'm like a bad case of the clap," he roars. "I'm not going away no matter what you do!"
"Get 'im Bob!" someone shouts back.
"Rick Stone, you no-good son of a bitch, I'm about 75 feet from your office," says Romanik. "Have the guts to come out here and face me."
There are county workers coming in and out, but Romanik keeps a special eye on the maintenance workers scrubbing the empty fountains.
"The last time I tried to do this," Romanik has repeated gleefully, "they tried to assassinate me."
According to the police report, a half hour into Romanik's live broadcast on May 17, a 72-year-old county maintenance worker came out of the courthouse and started sweeping the walk. He walked up to Romanik's table and said he needed to sweep around it. Believing the worker was sent to intentionally disrupt the broadcast, the report says Romanik yelled, "That's what happens when a dog fucks a cat!" (No, no, no, corrects Romanik. It was: "That's what happens when a woman has sex with a dog — you get a no-good son of a bitch!")
The maintenance man shoved Romanik then pushed him with a broomstick before someone called the cops. When the deputies came back to Romanik with surveillance tapes of the incident, they report he waved them away.
"Romanik stated he did not want [him] to go to jail," the responding sheriff's deputy wrote.
"I'm not going to have him arrested," Romanik scoffs later. "Unlike Mrs. Kern. Who wants to fuck with me and cost me money."
The incident — another favorite from his airtime soap opera — occurred when he went to St. Clair County Chairman Mark Kern's home in Belleville, suspecting that Kern did not actually live in his district. Romanik came face to face with Kern's wife, who filed a complaint with the police.
"She stated she is familiar with Romanik and knows he is a convicted felon," the police report reads. "She stated while she was telling him to leave he was speaking into something and felt he was broadcasting on his radio show."
Romanik was arrested three days later and charged with disorderly conduct and trespassing. The charges have been dismissed, but the case is being appealed to state court. That, of course, has the Grim Reaper swinging his scythe at the Kerns every chance he gets.
"Mark Kern, I should give you $5,000 just to have sex with that nasty old lady," Romanik crows on the plaza. "Hey, Mark Kern, you rotten bastard!"
From the start of the winding driveway, Romanik's sprawling home on a manmade lake east of Belleville looks something like a compound. Grimacing lions leer down from brick columns, and behind them a phalanx of security cameras watches silently. Huge golden letters arc over the spiked front gate spelling "ROMANIK," and below that the initials "RR" shine in the late afternoon sun.
Romanik parks his cherry red Chevy SSR — one of a fleet of vehicles he keeps covered in decals advertising the radio stations — and jogs up the driveway. He's got to go alone, he says, because some friends who wouldn't want to be identified by a reporter are enjoying his pool and its Playboy Mansion-style grotto.
It's hours after the Grim Reaper of Radio show, and Romanik is still in high gear. His boundless energy, he says, often has people accusing him of being on drugs.
"I've never. On my son's life," he swears. "I haven't drank in 35, 40 years. Not that I'm a teetotaler. I just don't like the taste of it. I couldn't work two or three jobs, and go to school, and be up to answer the bell the next morning."
The driveway of the Romanik home is jammed with vehicles, including a party bus and a stretch limo. Much of his personal wealth, Romanik says, comes from the stock market and real estate investments. He says he bought his first piece of land around the age of 22.
"I had a lot of property. Anything that I thought I could turn a profit on," he says. "I knew I was never going to live real good on a policeman's salary."
He still owns the land on which two strip clubs operate. The owner of Pyramid of Pleasure, the former Crystal Palace, is on a pay-to-own plan with Romanik. The other is the Hollywood Showclub that is technically owned by Stephen Romanik II, though when Riverfront Times called the club last week, the person who answered the phone identified the elder Romanik as the boss and said he's in every night at 7:30.
On weekends Romanik likes to tool around Grafton (where he owns a condo) with his girlfriend of more than twenty years, Tina Sanders, and other friends.
There seems to be no shortage of Romanik friends and acquaintances. A lunch in downtown Belleville can be an hours-long affair, with a stream of people — attorneys, cops and civil servants — funneling past his table to trade barbs and gossip.
Fealty to friends is a towering principle in Romanik's world. After his federal trial, when he was sentenced for refusing to testify in the Venezia case, the Belleville News-Democrat ran a cartoon depicting Romanik as a giant rat with his tail caught in a trap. "Do I look like the kind of guy who'd rat on his friends?" the word bubble read. Romanik sued the paper for painting him in a "false light." (The suit was later dismissed.)
Instead of calling the reporter a bitch, it's now that she can't get the story straight. You'd think he'd be happy for the publicity that's all of his own doing. I'd bet that Tina Sanders doesn't let him use that type of abusive language on her. Man up Romanik, give this reporter a PUBLIC apology and don't mess up public either!
I caught the show this Friday with Chief of Police Foote from East St. Louis. It was a decent show. It brought up a few important points, like that East St. Louis has had a crime problem going way back. He tracks it back to the 70s, but I remember that it was bad in the 50s and probably before that. There is a population that is mostly white, who now live in Belleville, and who think that overgrown grass equates crime. They made East St. Louis what it is now and then abandoned it. They are doing to Belleville what they did to East St. Louis. They are easy to dupe. If someone does some gentrification, they think it brings up the city. What brings up the city is care of what you already have, and that isn't happening in Belleville. Getting rid of neighbors that you don't like isn't taking care of what you have.
The only thing I found real problematic is that Chief Foote says that East St. has enough police officers. It's obviously doesn't. It needs about 4 times the number that it has now.
You have to give BOB his credit, because he do keeps it 100. What’s funny (TO ME) is when Females gets mad when he calls a female a Bitch and most of you all boyfriends or husbands call you all a Bitches all day long and you don't do anything about it or a song you like says bitch a 100 times and it’s your JAM. I was born and raised in E St Louis, I work in the city now (not for the city) and I know a few politician. I talk to struggling people everyday who can't get a job and qualified and I talk to people who have a city or state job and or not qualified but they knew someone. If you are not related to, best friend, ass kissing, or fucking one of the prominent names like (Parks, Ellis, Jackson, Mosley, Greenwood, Clayborne, Powell, Smith and more) you don't have anything coming but a tax increase. You know it true but you so dam brain wash on…. I don't no. These CATS and theirs families are getting paid, I’m talking big money and pensions y you don't have nothing but hopes. So yea, I listen to Bob Romanick faithfully because he says to the people the things I been saying for the longest it’s just that I don’t have a radio station. Like the Arab stores. Now what the hell do the Arabs do for our community other than, take our money, sell us drugs, hire our young black women who like to show their body’s off , fuck our young black women, talk to our kids any kind of way, provide a dangerous atmosphere, and sell us cell phones and chicken. On ever dam corner in the black community. That’s what they do and we and clayborne support everything they do. I no it’s a covenant and we don’t have anything else but that’s y we as black people needs to start speaking our voices and stop supporting certain people and I’m not saying support the republicans because I’ve never seen anything they have done for the black communities either.
I feel sorry for the RFT reporter who was degraded as a woman and individual by the bully Romanik. If his friends were his true friends, they wouldn't have talked to the RFT in the first place, just as HE had the choice not to. While it's her name on the byline, editors also shape the final product. If this were a flowing gush piece, he wouldn't have used the vile language that he did to degrade her. For someone who is asking people to stand tall, maybe he should in offering her a PUBLIC apology. And for the record, Romanik conveniently forgets that he made some disparaging comments back in June after the city's gay pride festival, claiming people saw both the named mayors there. It's not always what you say but how you say it that people remember you for.
Again, if Romanik has something hanging between his legs, he should be man enough to not shoot the messenger and give this woman the PUBLIC apology that she deserves.
It's quite entertaining to listen to a bitter man man looking for a pity party for himself every single day that he shows up to broadcast. It's hate radio at its finest as even Michael Weiner doesn't act like this. He claims to be standing up for the common man, but yet he attacked a person with pre-pubescent language on the air over something he read in the newspaper, someone who was against using public money to let a millionaire lawyer establish a green space, one of his friends, and for why he went off. So just as he trashes politicians, no one else is safe from his AM vulgarity. I'm happy the local paper allows comments without names as this man would trash any of them as he did in the example above when they printed the complainant's name.
You have to know that these proud black people that he plays to are laughing at him when he speaks like he's black, and a recent photo of his public broadcasting proves that he's as white as Wonder Bread. Most of them are proud to be victims as they know how to get every free thing they can that others pay for, yet they do not show they know how to be victors over their standard of living or their life.
For sure, he's been targeted for harassment but unlike most, he has the money to fight back though his gutter language towards these people won't win him friends. You would think that a holder of a master's degree had more common sense, but people listen to his daily diatribes for various clues as even Pepto-Bismol couldn't keep him quiet.
You do worry about him as he constantly repeats things and he could get more things in if he had more focus. I'm not surprised that he made threats to the RFT if he thought he was going to be smeared by them. He has running hatred for the Belleville News Democrat but yet he and Carl Officer use it to have something to talk about. Isn't that hypocrisy?
It's a shame that the RFT didn't write that a political candidate who wanted equal time because he spoke favorably of an opponent was denied that. It's true that certain people can't or won't go on there in person, but you have to question party loyalty when some go on despite the trashing of their own party. A puff piece this is not as balanced journalism should be and he could have just said NO! Of course, he's trying to build his station and should he find people who can build and hold an audience, he will fill a void since it is true that the talk stations in St. Louis ignore the east side and its issues. I did find it funny that one commercial spot was playing during his show, given his lack of respect for women. He only stopped calling Clayborne "boy" as he claims his lawyer asked him to. The problem is that the Belle-vull Hoosiers egg on his conduct. One can only imagine what you would hear if he streamed only. Maybe we should be thankful that the FCC rules reign him in somewhat.
You can blame or thank Larry Rice for the "colorful" diversion to Charlie Brennan everyday, and Romanik doesn't hesitate to trash Larry Rice whenever he's in the news either. Obviously, Larry didn't know then what this sale has turned into.
I'm not at all surprised that his home is a fortress of sorts, but that's what happens when you make people scared. I do think it's laughable that the same hypocrite who wants people to speak on the record would hide "friends" who don't want to be ID'd by a reporter. Could it be that he's playing both sides of the coin perhaps??????
While the RFT is owned by the Village Voice, this "profile" is on par with what I have read here for years. I would expect that his enemies and his supporters would be contacted, I would expect the RFT to note if people refused to talk, that's what balanced journalism does. If he demands openness of others, he should have known what he was getting into with the reporter.
Only those closest to him will know why he left and returned to the air. It leaves people guessing if this was an elaborate stunt. If he needed a vacation, he's had on some people that could have done an entertaining hour and maybe even two. But of course you have to be broad based in your experience base and able to discuss more than one thing, along with interacting with people who call. Romanik can and should be able to engage callers with civility so perhaps he needs to spend more time listening to Michael Weiner to see how it's done and done right.
I have to admit that I laugh when the Marley comes on at commercial break, but it does cut his diatribes by a few seconds as does the long intro music.
Thank you RFT for standing tall as a publication to tell both sides of the story. Romanik is a big boy so surely he can take what he dishes out....or can he?
@suetoo When there's "guests" he tends to lay off his normal act. Try Monday when something in the Belle-vul News Democrat pisses him off, you'll hear the normal. Currently, three people want to be the next mayor of Belleville so let's see how that plays out. I don't believe the Chief said he had enough officers and to his credit, Romanik did point out long ago that had they voted to get rid of the ESL election board, they could have paid for more officers.
@chizum3 I've never called anyone I care about a "bitch". But, then again, I can write intelligible English, unlike you.
@chizum3 Did he have a right to call this reporter a bitch and other things? Had Carl Officer been a loyal friend, he wouldn't have been quoted in the story. But see, Carl is all about Carl and he doesn't miss a chance to get his name out there. And the same, if Romanik didn't want to be interviewed, he could have said no. He's offended that she said the plaza was run down...IT IS as are MOST places in Belleville! Granted he may have spent thousands on the stations he owns but she tried to paint an accurate word picture. If he doesn't want to dress like a pimp, buy better clothes!
The problem with employment by who you know is not just in ESL, it's ALL OVER the county government bodies and it does happen in private industry as well. He can bring it up, but the political machine won't change. He drools all over the US Atty, and the States Atty. both appointed by the same machine that he rebels against. Do you think they will do the investigations that would lead to indictments? The St. Louis American had it right back in 2008 when they noted that Charlie Powell wouldn't talk to the feds. Doing so would send a bolt of lightning through downtown Belleville and the paper would love to print as a headline "X" indicted by the feds.
We can only hope the black vote doesn't send Clayborne back to Springfield and my Ameren bill always reminds me of why I won't vote for him myself. You say that Republicans don't do a thing but how many people in ESL get to see Mark Kern outside of Election Day and when he has that party to give kids toys before Christmas? This is the first time since I lived here that they were running in so many races. They can't try to reach out to ESL for as long as the machine there takes their marching orders from the corner of E.Washington and S. High in downtown Belleville. When my chance for change is stolen for $10, how should I feel about the thieves in ESL who stole my vote?
Considering how he's treated the reporter, why did the RFT waste their time profiling him? @inglesconlaguera
@Giggles2012 No, yeah, he said that. That's right when he started talking about the civilian volunteer program he has going on. The same thing goes on in the County. They don't respond to calls, saying they're too busy, and if you ask if they need more money, or more officers, Justus says, "No."