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Judge: Electoral Board Erred Tossing Sodaro Challenge

A Cook County judge ruled Monday that the Oak Lawn Village Electoral Board erred when it dismissed a challenge against a village trustee's nominating petitions. Case is sent back for a hearing this week.

Judge Robert Bertucci said the Oak Lawn Village Board erred when it dismissed a challenge filed against a village trustee candidate’s nominating petitions to put his name on the upcoming consolidated election ballot.

Attorneys representing Oak Lawn resident Andy Skoundrianos and village board candidate Dan Sodaro met in court Monday to determine if the village electoral board followed the law when it dismissed an objection filed against Sodaro.

Sodaro is challenging longtime village trustee Bob Streit for the 3rd District seat on the Oak Lawn Village Board. Last month, village electoral board members Mayor Dave Heilmann and Trustee Jerry Hurckes voted to .

Village Clerk Jane Quinlan was the lone dissenter and read a during a formal reading of the electoral board's ruling that said she did not believe her fellow electoral board members followed the law when they voted to dismiss the objection.

Bertucci told attorneys Dennis Brennan and Keri-Lyn Krafthefer, representing Skoundrainos and Sodaro, respectively, the case should have proceeded to an evidentiary hearing.

“I agree with the dissenting (electoral board) member,” the judge said.

wants Sodaro’s name removed from the April 5 ballot because of what he claims is a “pattern of fraud” involving the circulators of Sodaro’s nominating petitions. Skoundrianos, a friend of Streit, maintains that residents signed the petitions for persons other than the circulators whose names appear at the bottom of Sodaro’s petition sheets. State election laws required petitions to be signed in the presence of circulators and that no more than one circulator’s name appear on a petition sheet.

Krafthefer argued before the judge that a invalidated the challenge against her client. She also told the judge that one of the electoral board members—Mayor Heilmann, who by law chairs the village electoral board—is an attorney.

Brennan cited other cases in which electoral boards overlooked such errors and allowed electoral challenges to proceed.

Bertucci said that because the elected office was named correctly in other parts of the challenge, it should not have caused the electoral board to become confused. Electoral boards’ purpose, he further explained, is to determine if a candidate’s nominating petitions are in order.

“(The remedy) seems to ask for something totally proper except for the extra language,” Bertucci said. “The electoral board chose for whatever reason to focus on something they had no authority over, instead of addressing the part they did have authority over. I think that’s significant.”

Krafthefer also went after the “pattern of fraud” allegations concerning the circulators.

“There could be a dozen things wrong with the circulators,” she said. “We don’t know what is false about it. How can we put on a case? It doesn’t let us know what is being challenged.”

Brennan responded that “we marked places where we had affidavits” from residents claiming that they signed Sodaro’s petitions for persons other than the circulators. 

“There is case law that lets us bring it up in testimony,” he added. “It said in the context of the objection that the investigation continues. We brought forward more than we had to.”

Krafthefer fired back that it was a “shotgun objection.”

“One can file an objection saying there is a pattern of fraud and withdraw it if there isn’t,” she said.

Bertucci said he wanted to give “proper deference” to the electoral board, but decided to send the challenge back for an evidentiary hearing.

“My view is similar to the dissenting (electoral board) member,” Bertucci said. “I’ve seen very similar objections make it through this stage. This should have gone to a hearing. The electoral board was erroneous. I’m remanding it back for a hearing.”

The judge would not rule on whether Heilmann and Hurckes, who is running unopposed for re-election in the 1st District, were biased when they voted to dismiss the challenge. Brennan filed a court memo claiming that his client was denied a fair hearing because of Heilmann's and Hurckes' personal relationships with Sodaro and one of his circulators, Lynn Craig.

“Certainly there is a strong built-in bias that seems to jump out here,” Bertucci said. “That’s kind of a given. This is not a criticism of suburban electoral boards, it’s because of the makeup of a board.”

Brennan said he was prepared to file a motion in court asking that Heilmann and Hurckes be removed from the electoral board.

A representative of Cook County Clerk David Orr’s office also was present in court on Monday, stating that Orr had no interest in the objection but in the printing of the ballots, which are scheduled to go to press on Feb. 23.

Bertucci advised the village’s legal counsel to put the Oak Lawn Village Electoral Board on notice to reconvene for a hearing in the next 48 hours. That hearing could take place Wednesday or Thursday.

“They need to move quickly,” because of the printing of the ballots, the judge said.

Pending the outcome of that hearing, Sodaro’s name remains on the ballot.

Both Streit and Sodaro were in court on Monday. Streit said he wasn’t surprised by the judge’s decision. Streit could not serve on the electoral board as the most senior trustee because the challenge involved his own race.

“The judge said what I said all along,” Streit said. “The electoral board was erroneous.”

Skoundrianos said he could not attend Monday’s hearing because he had to work, but he said he felt “vindicated.”

“We had the truth on our side,” he said. “It was a biased decision. They tried it their way and now they have to do it the right way. It vindicates me, Dennis Brennan, Bob Streit and Jane Quinlan.”

Fairness Prevails February 15, 2011 at 02:57 PM
The board has been very quiet since the Judge made his decision. The ruling was "erroneous". Wow! It looks like Jane was right and Attorney Dave was WRONG. I love the fact that the Judge states, "Certainly there is a strong built-in bias that seems to jump out here". Dave spends all that time acting as if he is being fair and the Judge sees right through it! Another audition that doesn't go over well.............
QC February 15, 2011 at 03:23 PM
"Certainly there is a strong built-in bias that seems to jump out here". That's true for this whole ridiculous mess. Look at the bright side, residents are sooo turned off by the actions of you clowns that they'll vote for someone with "Class", aka Dan Sodaro!!!!
Fairness Prevails February 15, 2011 at 03:26 PM
Riddle me this, Does one who signs an oath falsely have "class"?
ridgeland122parent February 15, 2011 at 04:55 PM
Well that begs the question of should one who gets in bar brawls with OLFD be therepresentative face of district 3?
QC February 15, 2011 at 05:06 PM
I'll Riddle you alright, but not the way You mean. Were YOU, personaly there? DidYou witness this with your own eyes? Who's to say you & Thugs R Us didn't have a hand (no pun intended) in these forgeries? You & yours are THE ONLY people to benefit from Sodaro Not running. The Pen/Pencil is awfully mighty- in the right hands of course! Speaking of forgeries, fraud & mudslinging, how's Madigan?
Fairness Prevails February 15, 2011 at 06:45 PM
Forgery? Who said anything about forgery? It's perjury to lie under oath. The issue is whether the circulator circulated the petition. When one person says that the signed circulator is lying, we can say "well maybe". But when 20 people say it, you can't it is going to be hard to get anyone to believe otherwise. Two more points since you are crying and hysterical today. First, I do notice that whenever you don't have a response, you bring up Madigan and accuse everyone else of forgeries. That doesn't make sense. Do you think that someone stole the petitions and changed the signatures before they were filed? What other ideas swirl in that crazy head of yours that wants to "riddle" me (sounds like a threat from a nut). Secondly, most people think that everyone in Oak Lawn would benefit if Dan Sodaro doesn't run.
Grunty February 15, 2011 at 06:47 PM
Why anyone would forge a petition to be on a board that pretty much doesn't do anything anyway (village manager does it all) is beyond me.
Lorraine Swanson (Editor) February 15, 2011 at 07:04 PM
I've said this before and I'll say it again: stop stealing people's identities for user names. Dawns -- you have been banned. I know these are heated issues but let's be ethical (no identity theft) and civil. Knock off the garbage.
andy skoundrianos February 15, 2011 at 09:01 PM
Lorraine, you have always run this site fairly and never took sides I respect you for that. Keep up the good work
ridgeland122parent February 15, 2011 at 09:53 PM
grunty - dan sodaro actually wanted to listen to the residents of district 3, to hear their opinions and to bring these thoughts, ideas, etc to the board/village manager. i really hope sodaro continues to fight this. i think if his side calls people to testify, interesting information will come out on how this evidence andy/dennis brennan have came to be. unfortunately not everyone reads everything put in front of them. if someone says, can you sign this affidavit proving you, yourself, signed dan sodaro's petition and that person says oh sure, i signed the petition, i'll sign it. and then didn't actually read the entire thing, weren't actually told that it had a different circulators name on the bottom, that's an entirely different situation. unfortunately not everyone does read what is put in front of them. and that's a shame because dan sodaro is the RIGHT candidate for district 3. and if his name is off the ballot, the voters will NOT EVEN HAVE THE CHOICE!
Jim Hubert February 16, 2011 at 12:30 AM
A message for supporters of Dan Sodaro: Please attend the electoral board hearing to witness the goings on for yourselves. Lorraine, can you let everyone know when the hearing will take place as soon as you can? The sooner the better for all concerned, as you know. thanks
Jim Hubert February 16, 2011 at 12:31 AM
They'll have a choice to write in Sodaro's name!
QC February 16, 2011 at 01:55 AM
Sorry Lorraine but,---- Lies a Blue Streit, Dough boy Alex, Duhhh-pig, Tough a-s Felon, Jane the boot licker, Larry the Louse, Denny do little. Stop dragging the Craigs & Sodaros through the mud!
ridgeland122parent February 16, 2011 at 02:21 AM
no one has ever asked me to lie. i'm willing to tell the truth!
andy skoundrianos February 16, 2011 at 05:03 AM
I believe the hearing is thursday at 4 p.m. I look foward to seeing you there. It should be an interesting hearing. We will see what happens
realstraightlawyer February 16, 2011 at 05:04 AM
On one of these blogs I saw that people were complaining that the attorney was a really straight lawyer. Why do we care about that?
andy skoundrianos February 16, 2011 at 05:10 AM
QC, I don't know who you are and I don't care. I respect the fact that you care enough about our town to read the articles and blog your opinions. When you name call and go negative you lose your message. I fought with many board members past and present and said a few things in anger that I should not have had but,in the end we could always agree to disagree. I think you make some interesting points for debate but, please leave the name calling out of it. Thank You
QC February 16, 2011 at 12:21 PM
Fairness Prevails aka Tom You would Know about "lying under oath" and Perjury since you"ve commited it yourself, several times in the past, in court. I don't know why you ASSume: "since you are crying and hysterical today"? I suppose it just slipped out because it would make you happy huh? You still ASSume I'm a woman? That explains a lot tough guy. LOL----- Several points. First you ignore responses. You don't answer questions. You only want to get Your messages out. You have my response. I've noticed You can't come back with a legitimate answer so you brand people. ANYONE THAT TELLS THE TRUTH IS: Crazy. Mentally Unbalancd. Off their meds. Different world. Nut.....etc. Do you think if you say it enough that people will believe it as the truth? Pathetic.----- Last but not least, "most people" (being the Village Thugs) need to be thrown out!!!
QC February 16, 2011 at 05:51 PM
Fairness Prevails aka Trtustee 6 You would Know about "lying under oath" and Perjury !!!!I don't know why you ASSume: "since you are crying and hysterical today"? I suppose it just slipped out because it would make you happy huh? You still ASSume I'm a woman? That explains a lot tough guy. LOL----- Several points. First you ignore responses. You don't answer questions. You only want to get Your messages out. You have my response. I've noticed You can't come back with a legitimate answer so you brand people. If any ANYONE should state facts & Truths You Label them as: Crazy. Mentally Unbalancd. Off their meds. Different world. Nut. Crazy Head.....etc. Do you think if you say it enough that people will believe it as the truth? Pathetic.----- Last but not least, "most people" (being the Village Thugs) need to be thrown out, With their relatives & friends!!!
QC February 17, 2011 at 02:36 AM
Andy ??????? You are too funny.
Uh Oh February 19, 2011 at 01:24 AM
No, not really straight,it was more like: We’ll Escape…. lawyer Dealer Equivocate…lawyer Conceals Reprobate … lawyer Illegally Post Date….lawyer Conceals Prevaricate.....lawyer Dealing Tergiversate.....lawyer aw heck, all of the above!

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