Two aldermen removed from Country Club Hills ballot
BY CASEY TONER email@example.com February 11, 2013 7:22PM
Updated: March 13, 2013 6:25AM
In a political victory for Country Club Hills Mayor Dwight Welch, two of his political opponents on Monday were removed from the ballot for the April 9 municipal election.
Welch and his ally, City Clerk Debbie McIlvain, had the final say, voting as members of the city’s three-person electoral board to take incumbent aldermen Vincent Lockett (2nd) and Anthony Davis (5th) off the ballot. Both plan to challenge the ruling in Cook County Circuit Court, Lockett said.
Ald. Tyrone Hutson (3rd), the other member of the electoral board, voted against removing them.
The candidacies of Lockett and Davis were challenged on grounds they failed to provide receipts for their aldermanic expense accounts. Owing money to the city would disqualify them as candidates.
The challengers’ attorney, Kevin Sterk, said Lockett failed to provide reconciliation forms for bills totaling $6,750, and Davis for $2,654.32.
Lockett, who ran against Welch for mayor in 2011, remained defiant, clapping when the verdict against him was read and promising to challenge the ruling in court.
“I’m sure I will prevail and I’ll be on the ballot and I’ll be the new alderman in the 2nd Ward of Country Club Hills,” said Lockett, one of Welch’s fiercest critics. “The people will speak.”
Lockett promised to “show the world a write-in candidate can win” if he loses in court.
Lockett’s attorney, Tiffany Nelson-Jaworski, made a motion to dismiss the challenges, saying the city has no policy governing aldermanic expense accounts. But the electoral board denied the motion, with Welch and McIlvain voting against it, while Hutson voted for it.
Aldermen Frank Martin (5th) and Leon Williams (2nd) testified there was no such policy in place.
“This is cherry-picking two aldermen they wanted to go after,” Nelson-Jaworski said.
Sterk said the policy exists even though it’s not in writing.
“If someone gave me a loan of $2,000, and I walked off with it and I didn’t account for it, it’s ridiculous to say I don’t owe that person money,” Sterk said.
Welch, who spent portions of the hearing looking at his phone and staring at the ceiling, said he thought the verdict was just.
“If anything, it exposed the fact that the aldermen in charge of the purse strings of the city since May 2011 have ignored good policy and procedures and they now have to bear the brunt of their misconduct,” Welch said.