Harassment case resurfaces in District 200 board race

More than 30 years before they became opponents in the race for four available seats on the Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200 school board, James Mathieson and Thomas Hudock crossed paths in another way that could have far-reaching implications on the campaign and the district.

Records show the two were involved in a traffic altercation that apparently escalated to the point where Hudock pleaded guilty in 1986 to a misdemeanor charge of making a harassing phone call to Mathieson.

The bitterness between the two lingers, with Mathieson, now a school board incumbent, saying he'll step down rather than serve with Hudock in the event they both win seats in the April 4 election.

Hudock, meanwhile, says his attorney has advised him not to comment on the nearly 32-year-old case, and he hung up twice on a Daily Herald reporter seeking his side of the story.

A DuPage County judge sentenced Hudock in November 1986 to six months of court supervision and a $90 fine stemming from the misdemeanor charge, court documents show. Hudock also was barred from contacting Mathieson or his family.

That no-contact order expired after Hudock successfully satisfied the requirements of his sentence, state's attorney's spokesman Paul Darrah said.

The Daily Herald sends questionnaires to candidates across the suburbs and asks them whether they have ever been arrested or convicted of a crime. Hudock responded "no."

Mathieson said he initially didn't realize who Hudock was, but thought his name sounded familiar. He later recognized Hudock's address while gathering information about other school board candidates in late February.

Mathieson is now calling on Hudock to withdraw from the race.

"He has no business being elected to this board," Mathieson said Tuesday.

Their shared history dates to April 24, 1985, when Mathieson called Wheaton police to his home shortly after the traffic altercation. Mathieson told officers he was driving east on Roosevelt Road from County Farm Road at the posted speed limit when he noticed the driver of a beige, compact car close behind his vehicle, police records show.

Mathieson told police he tapped on his brakes to try to get the other drive to increase the distance between the two cars. Mathieson later changed lanes and saw the other driver pull up next to his car near Roosevelt and Carlton Avenue.

Mathieson reported the other driver yelled, "Smile," and briefly pointed what appeared to be a small-caliber weapon, records show. Mathieson provided a description of the driver and a vanity license plate that police determined was registered to Thomas E. Hudock, records show.

Detectives interviewed Hudock several days later at the police station. Hudock told them he was driving alone on Roosevelt at the time in question, but did not "remember any incident like that described by" Mathieson, records show.

Hudock also declined to have his picture taken. Police obtained a grand jury subpoena ordering the "alleged offender" to submit to photographs on May 22, 1985, according to police documents.

But Mathieson was unable to pick anyone out of a photo lineup on May 31, 1985, records show.

Hudock was charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct. In a court complaint, he was accused of pointing an object that Mathieson reasonably believed to be a handgun in such a manner as to "alarm and disturb" him.

That charge eventually was dropped.

Hudock later was charged in September 1986 with harassment by telephone.

In an interview, Mathieson said he received threatening calls in the middle of the night for months and agreed to have police trace the caller.

A police report shows Mathieson told officers a male voice stated, "Mathieson, you're going to die" before hanging up early on Sept. 19, 1986, according to records obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request.

Hudock, meanwhile, apparently commented earlier this week on a Facebook post by another school board candidate, Marcus Hamilton. That comment has since been deleted, but in it Hudock apologized to Hamilton for a "lapse of judgment 32 years ago" and gave a different story about the traffic altercation:

"I was driving to my son's baseball practice when, what turned out later to be Mr. Mathieson, pulled out of the Viking Bar and his car out of control crossed 4 lanes of traffic forcing me off the road," he wrote. "Yes, at the next light I made a gesture to the driver of the car. He was slumped over the steering wheel and made a similar gesture back at me.

"Everything went out of control after that. Having just moved into Wheaton, I found out from others that he was influential in Wheaton and he would attempt to make my life miserable. He has done just that ..."

Mathieson said that version of the story is untrue. He said he hopes Hudock doesn't show up to a March 20 candidate forum being sponsored by the Wheaton chapter of the League of Women Voters.

"I wouldn't sit next to the guy," he said.

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