Mundelein mayor urges Trustee Norton to resign; Norton says no

Mundelein Mayor Steve Lentz on Monday joined the elected officials calling for Trustee Dakotah Norton to resign after a DUI arrest and revelations about his criminal history.

Lentz expressed frustration in both Norton's June 14 arrest and his lack of transparency about other arrests and convictions that occurred when the 25-year-old trustee was a teenager.

"It's best in the public interest that you step down," Lentz said during the evening's village board meeting.

But Norton insisted he isn't going anywhere, saying he's received "overwhelming" support from the public and that he intends to regain the public's confidence.

Still, Norton admitted his arrest was a "stain" on young people running for political posts.

"I can't apologize enough for this situation," said Norton, who became the village's youngest trustee when he took office in May.

Monday's meeting was the board's first since Norton's arrest in Vernon Hills.

Dozens of residents packed the boardroom to listen to the discussion and share their own opinions. They were split fairly evenly between critics and supporters.

The controversy began last week after Norton's arrest became public.

Vernon Hills police said he was driving drunk late June 14 on Butterfield Road near Route 60. He was charged with driving under the influence and various traffic violations.

Norton admitted his behavior in interviews later in the week.

Later in the week, the Daily Herald discovered Norton had been arrested on felony drug charges and local shoplifting charges in 2006 and 2007, when he was a teenager.

Norton didn't mention the arrests during his campaign. At that time, when the Daily Herald asked if he'd ever been arrested as part of a routine questionnaire, Norton said only for "a few minor teenage juvenile things."

That apparent lack of transparency particularly irked Trustee Dawn Abernathy, who renewed her call for Norton to resign Monday.

"You weren't honest about releasing your record," Abernathy said. "You didn't let the voters know."

Trustee Ray Semple repeated his demand for Norton to step down Monday. Trustee Bill Rekus joined the critics at the meeting, saying Norton has shown "a pattern of immaturity and very, very poor judgment."

Trustees Holly Kim and Kerson Russell bucked the trend, however, and didn't join those calling for Norton to quit.

They expressed disappointment but acknowledged the board has no legal standing to demand he resign.

Even so, Kim noted Norton has an obligation to voters "to get his act together."

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