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Lockett, Davis back on ballot in Country Club Hills

Vincent Lockett

Vincent Lockett

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Updated: April 9, 2013 11:40AM



A Cook County judge has overturned a ruling by the Country Club Hills Election Board, ordering that aldermen Vincent Lockett (2nd) and Anthony Davis (5th) be placed on the April 9 election ballot.

Lockett and Davis had been removed by the three-member board headed by Mayor Dwight Welch, whom Lockett repeatedly has criticized over the years. The election board also included City Clerk Debbie McIlvain, a political ally of the mayor who voted with Welch to remove the aldermen.

Lockett and Davis were accused of having failed to supply receipts for their aldermanic expense accounts, which the election board viewed as an outstanding debt to the city. Under state election law, candidates may not run for office if they owe a debt to a government.

Circuit Court Judge Alfred Paul on Thursday ruled that the board’s interpretation of the law was incorrect and there was no outstanding debt, according to Tiffany Nelson-Jaworski, the attorney for Lockett and Davis.

“The court decision is in line with existing case law,” said Nelson-Jaworski, who had argued that there were no previous rules or ordinances in Country Club Hills requiring that aldermen file itemized receipts before being reimbursed for their expenses.

She also contended that the fact the aldermen were issued expense checks for months after the alleged infraction demonstrated that the city never considered it a debt.

Lockett, who ran against Welch for mayor in 2011, said he was excited about the opportunity, if re-elected, to again “work for the people of Country Club Hills. It’s a (ballot) challenge that should have never been, a waste of a lot of time and money.”

The challengers’ attorney, Kevin Sterk, had said Lockett failed to provide reconciliation forms for bills totaling $6,750 and Davis for $2,654.

“It’s disheartening they could be placed on the ballot,” Sterk said.

James Craig, a city police and fire commissioner who’s running for Lockett’s aldermanic seat and filed the challenge to Lockett’s candidacy petition, said he was unsure whether he would appeal the ruling.

“The facts remain they owe city money,” Craig said. “As to why the judge allowed that ruling, it’s beyond me.”

Reached by phone, Welch said that despite the judge’s decision, he believes the city collector should seek to have Lockett and Davis pay their debt.



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