Small town politics took a strange turn this week when the husband of a township supervisor was charged with battery after a confrontation with a township trustee.
Police say David Moore, husband of Grafton Township Supervisor Linda Moore, shoved Township Trustee Gerry McMahon while David Moore was trying to videotape McMahon and other trustees after Thursday's meeting.
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McMahon then returned the shove with a slap to David Moore's face, according to police.
"No one likes a camera in their face all the time, especially me, McMahon said Friday. "I put my hand up to his camera and then he shoved me with both hands, almost knocked me down. I came back and slapped him in the face.
David Moore declined to comment other than to saying, "I'm waiting for advice from my attorney.
The confrontation took place at the Huntley Park District REC Center, where the township board holds its monthly meetings.
This is by no means the first time frustrations have boiled over or that Huntley police have been called on to mediate a Grafton Township dispute. Nor is it the first allegation of slapping.
Police responded to the township's Huntley offices in February after Linda Moore was accused of slapping Township Administrator Pam Fender on the arms while she was trying to enter Moore's office to use a copier.
Police eventually got sick of it.
"We basically quit responding unless it was a criminal matter, Huntley Chief John Perkins said then.
Linda Moore and the township board, including McMahon, have been at odds since Moore was elected in 2009 on a promise to stop construction of a new $3.5 million township hall. She has been successful so far, and numerous points of contention between the supervisor and the trustees are the subject of a still-unresolved lawsuit in McHenry County.
The dispute has cost taxpayers more than $300,000 in legal bills, unpaid bills to vendors and Fender's $40,000 salary (not including benefits). Trustees took the unusual step of hiring Fender the elected supervisor ordinarily runs daily operations in township government because they felt they could not work with Moore.
McMahon says Thursday's incident started when Linda Moore accused McMahon and other trustees of continuing to discuss township business after the meeting ended, in violation of the Illinois Open Meetings Act. Linda Moore then asked her husband to videotape the trustees to document the alleged violation, McMahon says.
Although he is not an elected official, David Moore frequently attends township meetings, sometimes using a tape recorder or video camera to document the proceedings.
After the dust-up, township officials called police.
Moore, 47, was released after posting $150 bond Thursday evening, police said. His next court date is Nov. 19. Moore faces a misdemeanor battery charge that carries a sentence of up to one year behind bars and a maximum fine of $2,500.
Grafton Township voters will weigh in on whether the township should build a new town hall in what attorneys call a nonbinding referendum question on the Nov. 2 ballot.
And on this point, Linda Moore and the township trustees have finally found a middle ground.
Trustees, after initially supporting the building project, say they have now withdrawn their support.
"The trustees are not going to be supporting this referendum, Grafton Township Trustee Rob LaPorta said. "The people that put it on (the ballot) are the same people that sued to stop the building in the first place.
The township canceled a loan with Harris Bank last year that was supposed to finance a new township hall.
Both Moore and trustees agreed that as long as the fate of the building was tied up in the courts, it was unnecessarily costing taxpayers money in interest payments on the loan.