Trustee Quinlan Fires Back at Petition Fraud Charges
Trustee Carol Quinlan says charges that she and her husband are behind an effort to manipulate petitions are "bizarre."
Trustee Carol Quinlan (District 5) called accusations that she was somehow involved in an effort to commit fraud on petitions to put a referendum on the April ballot “bizarre."
Some fellow village board members and the village clerk are looking into allegedly fraudulent signatures that appeared on a referendum petition circulated by Oak Lawn Tax Watch. The proposed referendum would ask voters if the village should abandon its current form of government.
Quinlan and her husband, Joe, both signed the petitions and helped gather signatures for Oak Lawn Tax Watch, which spearheaded the petition drive. The citizens group wants residents to decide if the village should return to a form of government where an elected mayor is responsible for the policies and decisions affecting the village.
The village trustee said she was unaware of a letter that was mailed to approximately 640 residents to come to the Stony Creek Golf Club to verify that their signatures were indeed theirs. Quinlan said she didn’t find out about the meeting until Monday night.
“I’ve never seen the letter,” Quinlan said. “None of my friends have called to say they received the letter.”
Letters signed by village Clerk Jane Quinlan and a district trustee were sent to residents in that district whose signatures appeared the most egregious. The only letters not signed by a village trustee were in Carol Quinlan’s district.
The 5th District trustee said she supports the referendum.
“There’s nothing wrong with asking people what they want. I think it’s a valid point that we have a mayor who has no power,” Quinlan said. “There are a lot of people who don’t understand that in the village and that it’s the village manager who makes all these decisions.
“If the mayor is making all the decisions and people don’t like it, they can vote him out in his next term. You can’t do that with the village manager.”
Quinlan said she helped circulate the petitions. Some of the petition sheets that fellow village board members claim contain evidence of “massive fraud” were circulated by Quinlan or her husband.
“That’s bizarre to me. I don’t know how someone could say that,” she said. “This petition was a 10-minute conversation. It wasn’t like ‘here, sign my petition, I’m running for village trustee.’ I don’t believe a hundred people said they didn’t sign it.”
Her husband, Joe Quinlan, said he gathered 95 signatures, most of them from friends or members of their parish.
“They can say all they want. I went to people’s houses that I knew because it was so cold when I was doing it,” he said. “I didn’t want to be walking door to door. I got in my car and went to every person’s house.”
Quinlan said that since she found out about the alleged fraudulent signatures, she is conducting her own investigation.
“The last thing you want is any type of election fraud,” Quinlan said. “I’m trying to check into that right now.”
At a session with residents Monday evening at Stony Creek Golf Club, Trustee Bob Streit (District 3) said he wasn’t opposed to residents voting on a referendum to decide if the village should change its form of government.
“What we’re concerned about is fraud,” Streit said. “We can’t allow public policy to be dictated by fraud. We’re very concerned when people would use forgery and perjury as tactics to change the form of government. That should concern everybody.”
Quinlan said that fellow board members were “grasping at straws” in their attempts to defeat the referendum before it even got on the ballot.
“Let the people make that decision instead of trying to blackball it,” she said.