Walgreen's Clerk Objects to Challenger's Candidacy for Trustee
An objection has been filed against 3rd District village board candidate Dan Sodaro, alleging irregularities in his nominating petitions.
A Walgreen's clerk is trying to get the challenger for the 3rd District village board trustee bumped off the ballot in the upcoming April consolidated election, charging numerous violations of state election statutes.
Daniel Sodaro, the current president of the Ridgeland Dist. 122 school board, is challenging incumbent Bob Streit for the village board's 3rd District seat. Streit is the village's longest-serving trustee, now running for his sixth term.
A hearing before the Village of Oak Lawn electoral board will take place in the board chamber at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 4.
Andrew Skoundrianos, a store associate for an Oak Lawn Walgreens, filed his objection on Dec. 28. Illinois election laws allow five business days after the filing deadline for candidates to submit their nominating petitions to put their names on the April ballot. Village Hall was closed on Dec. 24 and Dec. 25 in observance of the Christmas holiday.
According to a copy of Skoundrianos' petition, "numerous names" of the 96 voters' signatures collected by Sodaro and his volunteer circulators on his petitions were not "duly qualified and legal voters at the addresses shown opposite their names in third district."
The objector's petition also charges that some of the signatures that appeared on Sodaro's petitions were not signed by the actual person, and that some of the signatures were forged.
Technicalities involving the circulators of Sodaro's nominating petitions—Sodaro, his wife, Dawn, and a neighbor Lynn Craig—cite irregularities in violation of state election laws.
Skoundraianos is asking the village electoral board to remove Sodaro's name from the April 5 ballot.
Dennis Brennan, Skoundrianos' attorney, claims his client has more than enough evidence to knock Sodaro off the ballot.
"That will come out in the hearing," Brennan answered in response to questions about the charges. "We have a substantial number of affidavits … from people who say it's not their signature or not the circulator."
Brennan said the investigation his Hinsdale-based law firm conducted was in compliance with state election statutes. His office compared voters' signatures on Sodaro's nominating petitions to those on their voter registrations.
He claimed that his investigation also found that Sodaro, Dawn Sodaro and Craig were not the actual circulators on sheets in which the names appear as the person who gathered the signatures.
"We talked to people who signed the actual petition," Brennan added. "It's obvious based on those conversations that we have enough evidence to go forward. The candidate in question said he circulated the petitions, but he didn't circulate certain pages that he said he did."
Brennan also described Craig as a "political activist" who helped circulate petitions for Sodaro that she didn't actually circulate.
Sodaro said the allegations in Skoundrianos' objection were "all news to me."
"I'm not going to comment on the objections because of the (petition) until advised by my attorney," Sodaro said. "There are a couple things in motion. If necessary, I will have legal counsel at the hearing."
Sodaro said he was satisfied that the 96 signatures he and his circulators garnered on his petitions were bona fide. Most, he said, were from family and friends.
"I turned in petitions with the signatures of 96 registered voters," Sodaro said. "In the 3rd District, they want my name on the ballot. I want my name on the ballot."
Sodaro has said that if elected to the village board, he will resign from the Dist. 122 school board. He still has two years left to his term.
Craig called the objections and the characterization of her as a political activist "crap."
"I'm a volunteer," she said, citing her involvement in her children's schools' PTAs and other community activities.
"I'm not surprised by the challenge. It's the will of the people to have Dan on the ballot," Craig said. "It's a not an entitlement. (Streit) needs to earn the right to sit in this seat, and if he's as good as he says he is, he shouldn't worry about anyone challenging him. That's what the process is all about."
The village electoral board is comprised of the mayor, village clerk and the longest-serving trustee. However, because the challenge involves Streit and his candidacy, Trustee Jerry Hurckes, who is running unopposed in the 1st District, will fill the third seat on the electoral board.
Regardless of what happens on Tuesday, Craig said she still plans to vote for Sodaro.
"I know what we did, and all those people were registered voters," she said. "Whether I punch in Dan's name or write it in on the ballot, I'm voting for Dan."