Does GOP use of Elgin Township offices run afoul of ethics ordinance?

A Democratic candidate for Elgin Township supervisor says local Republicans are improperly using a taxpayer-funded building for political purposes, allegations they dispute.

Franklin Ramirez tells me he became concerned when he went to Elgin Township headquarters for a township board meeting in November. Ramirez says he noticed campaign signs for Elgin Township Republicans were being stored next to the men's room in the basement. The taxpayer-funded township building also is the address the Elgin Township Republicans advertises on its website as the location of monthly meetings, advising attendees to "park and enter around the back of the building" and head to a basement meeting room.

"That seems to be a clear violation of the township's ethics ordinance," Ramirez said.

An ordinance passed by the township in 2004 prohibits township officers or employees from "intentionally using any property or resources of Elgin Township in connection with any prohibited political activity."

Those activities includes preparing for or participating in political meetings, rallies, or other political events, or gathering information from voters in an election, according to the ordinance.

<h3 class="leadin">'Like any nonprofit'

Elgin Township Republican Vice Chair Jeff Meyer tells me the group functions like "any other nonprofit," which can rent the space for $20 per month. He said Township Republicans aren't storing signs but instead bring signs with them to distribute as part of political meetings.

Elgin Township Supervisor Annette Miller said she was unaware of the group's actions and whether they were in violation the ordinance.

"They paid a fee and received a receipt just like any other group that rents it out," she said.

But Miller, a Republican running for re-election in April, also confirmed she is an Elgin Township Republican who attends meetings in the building.

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Jack Blane of Highland Park is being honored for his three decades fighting to eradicate polio. Photo courtesy Jack Blane

Honored for fighting polio

Highland Park resident Jack Blane will be honored by the Rotary Club of Schaumburg-Hoffman Estates Charitable Foundation this Saturday at its 38th annual gala for working to eradicate polio for more than 30 years.

Blane, 94, tells me that as a boy, he attended a summer scouting camp in Michigan, where a polio outbreak occurred. Two of his fellow scouts died and six were paralyzed. The rest of the camp's attendees were sent home to be quarantined for the rest of the summer because no polio vaccine was yet available. After Blane retired from the business world in the 1980s, he began to volunteer his time with Rotary's efforts to help distribute the polio vaccine around the world. "It hit close to me," Blane told me this week. "I felt blessed not to have been afflicted and I wanted to pay the fact I hadn't experienced any problems forward."

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U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam of Wheaton Associated Press File Photo

Roskam on Russia

You read about U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam's City Club of Chicago speech on Monday, where he talked tax policy but avoided protesters and questions from reporters. Roskam later phoned me, saying he'd "run out of time" to take questions at the event.

Along with asking the Wheaton Republican about his response to a vocal group of constituents, I also asked Roskam about President Donald Trump's claim that former President Barack Obama had wiretapped his communications.

"I've seen no evidence of what President Trump is talking about," Roskam said.

<h3 class="leadin">Crosstown support

"I know what a World Series win means for a family," GOP state Rep. Patti Bellock of Hinsdale remarked Wednesday in Springfield, when members of the Chicago Cubs organization, including the Ricketts family, visited the state Capitol. Bellock is the granddaughter of White Sox founder Charles Comiskey. She noted that she spent almost her entire youth in the ballpark.

<h3 class="leadin">Running for the Crawfords

My friends at Runners High 'N Tri in Arlington Heights passed along that last weekend's fun run, intended to raise money for the two Crawford children of Arlington Heights who lost their parents and older sister in a deadly car crash on Northwest Highway in Des Plaines last month, collected more than $2,500 from more than 250 runners. Store owner Pom Rouse made a video of the event, which you can check out at

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Chicago Symphony Orchestra Conductor Riccardo Muti will take the stage March 17 at Wheaton College. Associated Press Photo

Muti at Wheaton

Chicago Symphony Orchestra Conductor Riccardo Muti will make his first appearance at Wheaton College on St. Patrick's Day, conducting a work by college composer-in-residence Samuel Adams on a program that also features Mitsuko Uchida as soloist in Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3.

Rossini's Overture to La scala di seta and Schumann's Fourth Symphony round out the program. Tickets start at $60 for the 7:30 p.m. March 17 event. For more, visit

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