All six E. Dundee candidates still in the race

 
 
Updated 1/3/2011 11:33 PM

Three East Dundee trustee candidates successfully defended their election petitions in three hours of arguments before the village's electoral board Monday night.

The electoral board decided all three candidates -- incumbents Jeff Lynam and John Cichowski as well as challenger Dan Selep -- will remain in the race for three 4-year terms.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Lynam faced his objector and election opponent Patrick Clarke, as well as Clarke's wife, Allison Clarke, during the hearing. Both made separate objections to his candidacy, and both were unanimously overruled by the electoral board of Village President Jerry Bartels, Trustee Paul VanOstenbridge and Clerk Jennifer Rehberg.

"It's really discouraging when you try to do the right thing and you get shot down," Allison Clarke said.

Clarke argued Lynam owed the village money for computer reimbursement some say he shouldn't have received. The village board tabled discussion of whether the reimbursement was fair, and Lynam was never issued an invoice from the village for the money, though he did say Monday he received a letter requesting the funds from former village administrator Frank Koehler.

Lynam's attorney, Ron Roeser, acknowledged the disputed debt but said the objection failed because Allison Clarke could not prove Lynam definitively owed the village any money.

Patrick Clarke's objection was based on an incomplete petition page in Lynam's packet. Lynam did not circle "full-term" as opposed to "vacancy" on one out of three of his signature sheets.

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Roeser called four witnesses on Lynam's behalf, arguing the lack of a circle did not affect any of their decisions to sign.

"Here there is only one office available, and that is a 4-year term as trustee," Roeser said. "There is no confusion."

Patrick Clarke argued a second objection against another of his opponents in the trustee race, Dan Selep, claiming Selep's forms had forged signatures. Selep ultimately admitted two women signed for their husbands.

Bartels argued the affidavit Selep signed, certifying the signatures were genuine, was declared false by this admission. He voted in favor of striking two signature pages from Selep's petition, which would have left him with fewer total signatures than he would need to remain in the election.

Rehberg and VanOstenbridge, though, voted against Bartels. The electoral board voted 2-1 in favor of striking the four signatures in question instead of the entire sheets, with Bartels dissenting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Thomas Tyrrell, the attorney representing Clarke, immediately spoke out against the final decision. He said the forged signatures were contrary to the most fundamental and basic rules of election law.

"That this board would allow this conduct to occur is incredible," Tyrrell said.

The objection against incumbent John Cichowski's petition was dismissed because the objector, Angela Rebolo, did not show up to argue her case.

The decisions of the electoral board surprised some, angered a few and pleased others watching the proceedings. Though the Clarkes have the right to appeal, they said Monday they will not.

Incumbent Michael Ruffulo and challenger Allen Skillicorn are the other two trustee candidates running in the April 5 elections.