Island Lake mayor breaks tie to censure Trustee Shannon Fox
Island Lake Trustee Shannon Fox was censured by her peers on the village board Thursday for sending an email that criticized a local business owner.
The resolution containing the formal scolding was adopted with a 4-3 vote. Mayor Charles Amrich broke a tie to ensure passage.
The censure came about two weeks after Fox targeted Island Lake resident Mike Johnson and his Mike's Towing for Johnson's role in a property dispute with a local couple.
In a Sept. 25 email to Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran, Lake County commissioners and other municipal officials, Fox spoke negatively about Johnson and asked them to reconsider patronizing his business.
Fox sent the email from her official village account. She identified herself as a trustee and leader of the grants committee.
The censure resolution denounced the email and included an apology to Johnson and his company.
The resolution said Fox's email didn't represent the position of the board on the matter, and it said she wasn't authorized to write the message.
It also called for Fox to send a retraction to the recipients of her missive within three days.
Fox said she will not issue a retraction.
"I stand by everything I said in that email," she said before the vote.
Fox asked attorney David McArdle if the board has the legal right to force her to write a retraction.
In response, McArdle said the resolution's goal "is to keep us out of a lawsuit."
"Whether you do it or not, we're going to do it," McArdle said.
Trustees Mark Beeson, Keith Johns and Tony Sciarrone joined Amrich in voting to censure Fox. Trustees Chuck Cermak and Thea Morris joined Fox in opposing the measure.
The dispute at the heart of the matter is between Johnson and Betty and Glenn Reckwerdt, who live on the 100 block of Bassler Drive.
Johnson claims the Reckwerdts' driveway, which cuts through property he owns, is in the wrong spot. The Reckwerdts disagree.
On Sept. 20, Johnson placed large, concrete barriers across the driveway and alongside it. Johnson moved the barriers off the driveway Sept. 23, after complaints from the Reckwerdts and inquiries by the Daily Herald.
Mike's Towing is the preferred towing company for the Island Lake Police Department. Johnson also financially supported Mayor Charles Amrich in the spring election.
Johnson's attorney, David Zipp, spoke to the board at length about the dispute and Fox's email at the start of the meeting.
Zipp said Johnson "has suffered greatly" because of Fox's email and media reports about the dispute.
Zipp also warned Fox to "stop interfering with my client's business."
In response, Fox said it was "completely inappropriate" for Zipp to try the case in the boardroom.