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Article updated: 3/8/2013 3:58 PM

Amrich again ruled ineligible to run for mayor in Island Lake

By Russell Lissau

For the second time in four weeks, an electoral board on Thursday ruled Island Lake resident Charles Amrich can't run for mayor.

The 2-1 decision found fault with Amrich's application to be appointed to fill a vacancy on the For the People slate. That vacancy was created when Amrich first was ruled ineligible as a candidate on Feb. 4.

Amrich plans to appeal in Lake County court, his attorney, John Fogarty Jr., told the panel immediately after its decision.

The vote again leaves incumbent Debbie Herrmann as the lone mayoral candidate in the April 9 election.

After the ruling, Amrich -- Island Lake's mayor from 1985 to 2005 -- criticized the proceeding as a "kangaroo court." He declined to comment further.

The electoral board tossed Amrich's application by upholding a pair of objections raised by local activists Daniel Field and Louis Sharp. The duo also was responsible for getting Amrich removed from the ballot in February, for different reasons.

In their latest filing, Field and Sharp claimed the eight-day window for Amrich and the slate to file paperwork filling the vacancy had closed by the time they acted Feb. 25. Field and Sharp also claimed the documents didn't include the date the slate selected Amrich to fill the vacancy.

Lawyers for both sides pleaded their cases Thursday before an electoral board consisting of trustees Thea Morris, Shannon Fox and Laurie Rabattini. No one testified.

Although an electoral board knocked Amrich off the ballot earlier in February, Fogarty argued the date that mattered was Feb. 19, which is when Lake County Judge Margaret Mullen dismissed Amrich's appeal.

"The electoral board is not the last word," Fogarty said.

Anish Parikh, the attorney for Field and Sharp, disagreed and insisted the clock started ticking Feb. 4.

"That is the relevant time frame in this case," Parikh said.

As for the selection date, Fogarty insisted the paperwork contained that designation. Parikh argued otherwise.

After about two hours of legal arguments, Morris and Fox voted to keep Amrich off the ballot, while Rabattini backed his bid.

Before the vote, Rabattini criticized the objectors' efforts.

"I feel this objection is a desperate measure to keep this candidate off the ballot in Island Lake," she said.

Field and Sharp were among the 20 or so people in the audience. Both men declined to comment afterward.

Herrmann, who leads the United for Progress slate, attended some of Thursday's hearing, too. She also declined to comment.

Earlier in the day in Lake County circuit court, Amrich withdrew a lawsuit against Village Clerk Connie Mascillino that sought to force her to submit his name as a mayoral candidate. The suit also attempted to prevent the Lake and McHenry county clerks from printing ballots without Amrich's name.

A hearing on the case was planned for Thursday afternoon, but the electoral board's decision essentially made it irrelevant.

A hearing date for Amrich's appeal has not been set.

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