A candidate running for trustee in Pingree Grove said he was excluded from an election forum earlier this month.
Patrick Whalen says he wasn't invited to the March 14 forum at the Carillon at Cambridge Lakes, a community for residents 55 and older. He showed up anyway and was then asked to leave, he said.
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Trustee Bernie Thomas, a resident of Carillon who is not up for re-election, said he "knows for a fact" Whalen -- along with the other seven candidates -- was sent an invitation via certified mail.
Whalen denied receiving the invite.
Whalen said he went to the forum as soon as he found out about it, and he arrived 10 minutes late. He sat in the back of the room, expecting to be invited to join the others at the table, he said.
Instead, a property management representative asked Whalen to leave, the candidate said.
"(The representative) says, 'You're not allowed here. You're not part of the forum,'" Whalen said. "I said, 'I'm a candidate, I'm part of the forum.' Then she said, 'Mr. Whalen, I have to ask you to leave.' "
Carillon property manager Jennifer McCaw declined to comment.
Thomas confirmed Whalen was escorted out, but would not comment further. Whalen did not cause any disturbance, Thomas said.
"I'm not going to give out details. This has all been handled," he said.
Some who attended the forum said they didn't see Whalen come in nor leave, and later heard conflicting stories about what happened.
The moderator was Kane County Board member T.R. Smith, whose district includes Pingree Grove.
Smith said the property management representative said Whalen was told there was no space at the candidates' table, so Whalen decided to leave.
Candidate Bruce Barnes said the property management representative said Whalen was told he could join the others at the table, but asked him to leave after he said he was not prepared. Whalen denied saying he was unprepared.
Incumbent Ray LaMarca said he was told Whalen was asked to leave because he didn't respond to the invitation, which asked candidates to be prompt. Carillon is a private community, LaMarca pointed out.
"I would have left it up to the moderator. If (Whalen) had come in earlier, maybe (they could have let him stay)," he said.
Smith said that, if asked, he would have let Whalen participate in the forum. Still, the decision is up to property management, he said.
"I've dealt with these (homeowners) associations before, and the rules are the rules. They are very rigid with the rules," he said. "You're on their turf, and it's pretty much their call."
In addition to Whalen, Barnes and LaMarca, incumbent Steve Wiedmeyer, and challengers Rick Eckert, Charles Pearson, Joe Nowosielski and Lon Czarnecki are running for three open seats.