Island Lake trustee candidate admits more arrests
Island Lake trustee candidate Josh Rohde says he's a different person from the young adult who was arrested numerous times in alcohol-related incidents.
"It's not me of today," Rohde, 28, said Friday.
He spoke to the Daily Herald about his past after court records from one case were posted on a blog about village politics.
Rohde confirmed his involvement in the matter, a confrontation at a bar in downstate McLean County that led to him pleading guilty to criminal damage to property in June 2006.
Lake County circuit court records also indicate Rohde was arrested in 2004 and charged with theft. He also faced an underage drinking charge in 2005, court records show.
He was arrested in 2009 and charged with resisting a peace officer, but that charge was dropped, court records show.
The Daily Herald's candidate questionnaires ask political hopefuls if they've ever been arrested. Rohde mentioned the theft arrest in his questionnaire, which can be found online at dailyherald.com.
"I completed the community service hours as instructed, learned an invaluable lesson from it and became a better person for it," wrote Rohde, one of six candidates seeking three seats on the village board.
He didn't mention any of the other cases, however.
During a subsequent endorsement interview, Rohde was asked about his criminal history and said aside from the theft, he'd only faced traffic tickets. He later called a Daily Herald editor to amend his comments, adding some underage drinking arrests.
Rohde didn't mention the McLean County case in his questionnaire or in conversations with the Daily Herald.
When asked about the omission Friday, Rohde said, "I completely forgot about that."
"It's a different time," he said. "I've come a long way since then."
Rohde initially denied being arrested in 2009 when asked about the court record and suggested it was a mistake. His story changed when the Daily Herald uncovered more information about the case.
"Technically I was arrested," he said. "When the charges were dropped, I didn't think I should include that."
In a subsequent email, Rohde apologized for not mentioning some of the incidents.
"I have moved on in life and, although I carry the lessons learned, I do my best to leave them in the past," he wrote.
Rohde is running on the United for Progress slate with incumbent Mayor Debbie Herrmann. He said he told her about some of the arrests when they discussed running together.
Rohde recalled suggesting he shouldn't join her slate because of his background.
In a telephone interview Friday, Herrmann stood by Rohde. She wrote off the arrests as youthful indiscretions.
"You learn from your mistakes and I'm sure he has," said Herrmann, who's known Rohde since his youth. "He's turned his life around in a very positive direction."
She said she won't ask him to drop out of the race.
That doesn't sit well with Keith Johns, a member of the rival For the People slate.
"Nothing less than Mr. Rohde's withdrawal from the United for Progress slate is acceptable," Johns said in an email.
The other trustee candidates on Rohde's slate are Ken Nitz and Ed McGinty. Johns is joined by trustee hopefuls Mark Beeson and Tony Sciarrone.
The criminal damage arrest occurred, Rohde said, while he was living downstate. He also was charged with disorderly conduct in the matter, but that count later was dropped.
According to court records, Rohde was "screaming and yelling" about being thrown out of a bar. He also threw a metal drawer at the bar's front door, scratching it, records show.
He was sentenced to 10 days in county jail and 30 hours of community service. The jail sentence was stayed, records show, so he didn't do time.
Rohde said he no longer drinks alcohol as much as he did, attributing the change in behavior to a diagnosed medical condition. He isn't dropping out of the race.
"I half-expected this to come up anyway," he said.
Daily Herald staff writer Lee Filas contributed to this report.