Warren Township High School board member Liz Biondi claimed at a meeting this week that "someone in the district" has wiretapped her telephone.
Biondi made the accusation while bantering with John Anderson, board president at Gurnee-based Warren District 121. She did not respond to emailed questions Thursday on why Warren officials would eavesdrop on her or whether she has evidence supporting the wiretap claim.
Anderson scoffed at Biondi's suggestion at Tuesday's District 121 board meeting.
"That is the most outrageous thing I've ever heard," he said. "Like anybody here is interested in what you say on the phone."
George Filenko, the Round Lake Park police chief who commands the Lake County Major Crime Task Force, said the high degree of difficulty in trying to listen in on wireless or home phones leads him to doubt Biondi's accusation.
"It's not like you hook up a couple of alligator clips and put a headset on," Filenko said.
Biondi's wiretap claim was preceded by her saying some residents have expressed concern to her about nepotism in hiring at the district. One of the personnel recommendations Tuesday was for the board to hire a woman as a bus driver -- a job her husband had recently resigned.
District 121 board member David Grum said instead of Biondi relaying concerns, the residents should voice them at board meetings. Biondi responded by asking if taxpayers would want to attend a meeting if they know police are present.
Anderson said that in his nine years on the District 121 board, only Biondi's husband, Ray, was removed by Gurnee police for disrupting a meeting last Aug. 20. Liz Biondi told Anderson she knew why an officer wasn't at Tuesday's board session.
"You've had police here for every meeting that he (Ray Biondi) is here," she said. "And you don't have one (officer) tonight because you overheard my conversation on the phone with him saying he wasn't coming to the board meeting."
Biondi, elected to a 4-year term with 31 write-in votes in April 2013, continued after some board members laughed at her statement.
"No," she said. "You've tapped my phone."
Biondi added "someone in the district" is eavesdropping on her, not the other board members.
Filenko said snooping on a home or wireless telephone requires an advanced skill level. He said tapping a home phone would, in part, entail working inside an AT&T box commonly found in residential neighborhoods.
To eavesdrop on a wireless device, Filenko said, someone must know the phone system being used and radio frequency. Specialized equipment and proximity to the target also are necessary, he said.
Filenko said if Biondi has a legitimate wiretapping complaint, she should contact the Lake County state's attorney's office or the FBI.
"Those allegations are pretty serious," he said.
Biondi's claim caught the attention of Gurnee Mayor Kristina Kovarik, who has attended Warren board meetings since September. Kovarik said officials should not voice "conspiracy theories and paranoia" at meetings.
Kovarik said her concern about Biondi and board ally Catherine Campbell not grasping complex topics or making informed decisions on behalf of Gurnee taxpayers has led her to watch the Warren meetings.