Objection to Trustee Candidate's Petition Appears Headed for the Long Haul
Attorneys spend most of first day of village electoral board hearing haggling over timeline.
Anyone who attended Round One of Andrew Skoundrianos vs. 3rd District Village Board candidate Dan Sodaro and expected a fast conclusion is just going to have to wait.
Keri-Lyn Krafthefer, Sodaro's attorney, told the village electoral board that she planned to file a motion to dismiss Skoundrianos's objection that her client committed fraud and perjury when filing his nominating petitions to run for the 3rd District village trustee.
Sodaro is going head to head with an entrenched incumbent, Bob Streit, who is running for his sixth term on the village board. Streit sat in a back row of the board chamber during the proceedings.
Sodaro is a twice-elected board member of Ridgeland Dist. 122 and is the board's current sitting president. Provided he survives the challenge, Sodaro has said that if elected he would resign from the school board.
Attorneys representing the village, the objector and the candidate spent most of the hearing haggling over a briefing schedule to respond to motions to dismiss the objection and a simultaneous records check before Cook County.
Skoundrianos' only comment during the afternoon was to question the next scheduled date of the continued hearing—Jan. 14.
"Mr. President," Skoundrianos said to Heilmann. "I do have a job, and I don't think I can make it day."
Heilmann told Skoundrianos that he didn't have to be present at the next hearing because evidence would not be presented. The electoral board would be ruling on a records check and the motion to dismiss.
The electoral board also moved on a motion for a records check of voters' signatures on Sodaro's petitions against voter registration records at the Cook County Clerk's office.
Should the validity of signatures be questioned, the Cook County Clerk's office would make the final determination whether to strike those signatures from Sodaro's petitions.
According to the state election code, candidates in local municipal races are required to gather signatures between 6 to 8 percent of the total voter turnout in the last consolidated election. Sodaro collected 96 signatures.
Heilmann said the hearing could wind its way through the court system, should the loser in the hearing appeal the electoral board's decision in Cook County Circuit Court.
Although time is of the essence, ballots for the April election won't be printed until the end of February.
"We have about 40 days," Heilmann said.
After the hearing, which lasted all of 25 minutes, Sodaro said the decision on who would serve the village's 3rd District belonged back to the voters.
"I didn't get into this thinking I'd have a prolonged court battle," Sodaro said. "I got in this to have a campaign and have my name on the ballot and give the voters their choice."
Krafthefer said she wouldn't be filing a motion to dismiss the objection if she didn't think her client had a case.
"Just as candidates are required to have certain legal components in their nominating papers the objector is required to have certain elements in the objector's petition," Krafthefer said. "We believe that they don't have the sufficient ones."
The hearing is continued until 9 a.m. Jan. 14. Should the village electoral board overrule a motion to dismiss, a tentative next hearing date was set for Jan. 18.
All proceedings will take place at Oak Lawn Village Hall, at 9466 S. Raymond Ave.