Lake County Board District 13 Republican primary candidate Jay Krasne wants opponent David Barkhausen to release details about a 17-year-old investigation dating to when he was a state senator.
Krasne, a 57-year-old real estate broker from Gurnee, said Barkhausen "should be straightforward" about the issues behind a federal and state investigation between 1993 and 1995.
The probe involved Barkhausen's alleged use of a $57,000-a-year district allowance to help fund his personal business. It was ultimately dropped in December 1995, the same year Barkhausen decided to not seek re-election to his Senate seat.
"I would say that he was not cleared or exonerated of the charges; they dropped the case against him because he chose to not run again," Krasne said. "I have no proof he misappropriated funds or anything like that. But the issue should be identified and he should be straightforward about it."
Barkhausen, a 61-year-old life insurance consultant from Lake Bluff who served in the state Senate from 1982 through 1996, said he did not seek re-election in his final term because he wanted to spend more time with his family, not because of the investigation.
In addition, he said the investigation was politically motivated by Democrats trying to unseat him in the state Senate.
"They were spurious allegations from a disgruntled ex-employee that triggered an investigation at the hands of then-attorney general Roland Burris, a Democrat with aspirations of running for governor, and Jim Burns, another aspiring Democrat looking at becoming governor," Barkhausen said. "Both of them would have loved to claim the pelt of a North Shore Republican. But, in the end, I was cleared of any wrongdoing."
Barkhausen and Krasne, along with Rick Lesser, a 56-year-old small-business owner from Lake Bluff, are vying for the Republican nomination in Lake County District 13.
Lesser said he had no comment regarding the issue at this time.
Officials from the attorney general's office said they were unable to comment at this time.
The winner of the March 20 primary will face the winner of the Democratic primary between Anthony Soler of Waukegan, Sandra Hart of Lake Bluff, and Robert Glueckert of Warren Township.
The 13th District represents all of Lake Bluff along with portions of Gurnee, North Chicago and Waukegan. Krasne said the circumstances surrounding Barkhausen's reasons for not running in 1996 are "suspect at best," and it's an issue that should be discussed with voters.
"It's a big issue in his career," he said. "This guy needs to explain the circumstances surrounding this investigation before the Democrats land on him with both feet (in November's general election)."
Barkhausen said there is nothing to explain.
"They never made any criminal or civil claim against me, or requested that I pay something back," he said. "There were no civil charges, no criminal charges, nothing. So, for either of my opponents to stoop so low to bring up an unfounded investigation that never resulted in anything is a clear sign of desperation."