2 Mundelein trustees: Norton should resign after DUI arrest
Two Mundelein trustees are urging Dakotah Norton to resign from the panel, saying his weekend DUI arrest and freshly uncovered criminal history are an embarrassment to the village.
"I call to question his ability to use good judgment continuing as a trustee," Trustee Dawn Abernathy said. "It would be best that he resign."
Trustee Ray Semple took a similar stance.
"He ought to step away," Semple said Thursday. "He ought to resign based on these additional revelations."
Those revelations include arrests on felony drug charges and local shoplifting charges in 2006 and 2007, when Norton was a teenager, and subsequent convictions.
Norton didn't mention the arrests during his campaign. When the Daily Herald asked if he'd ever been arrested, Norton said only for "a few minor teenage juvenile things."
The past criminal cases came to light this week after Norton was arrested in Vernon Hills. Police said he was driving drunk Sunday night on Butterfield Road near Route 60, and he's been charged with driving under the influence and various traffic violations.
Norton apologized for his behavior in media interviews and to Mayor Steve Lentz.
In a telephone message to the Daily Herald Thursday, Norton said he'd step down if the situation brought "real harm to Mundelein" or if it impaired his ability to serve.
"However, I still do not believe that time has come," Norton said.
When Norton's arrest became public Wednesday, Lentz said he would not ask him to step down.
But that could change, Lentz said Thursday.
"If he loses the confidence of his peers, there will be a tipping point and he should do what is best for the community and what is best for the board and indeed step down," Lentz said.
Abernathy was upset Norton wasn't open about the extend of his criminal history during the campaign. She called his response on the Daily Herald questionnaire a "misrepresentation" to the newspaper and to voters.
In response, Norton said the prior drug convictions were legally erased after he successfully completed probation.
Regardless, Semple believes Norton can no longer effectively represent the community. He's especially concerned about Norton's simultaneous membership on the village's liquor control board, a panel that sometimes punishes bars, restaurants and stores for selling alcoholic beverages to minors or for other related infractions.
"How does he sit on a liquor control board now and put the hammer down on a business that has sold booze in a way they shouldn't?" Semple asked.
Semple said he has received a couple of emails and several phone calls from residents who are concerned about Norton's continued service on the village board.
"There is no benefit to the village of Mundelein for him to remain on the board," Semple said. "It's all negative."
Semple even questioned how Norton will be able to ride in the upcoming Community Days parade with this political cloud overhead.
"I take pride in Mundelein. And he has tarnished it," Semple said.
Not every trustee is calling for Norton's resignation.
Kerston Russell called the controversy an embarrassment to the office "and to the village as a whole" but said he didn't know enough about the situation to take a position on Norton's future on the board.
Trustee Bill Rekus said he wanted to meet with Norton to "learn exactly what the facts are" before deciding if he should resign.
Trustee Holly Kim couldn't be reached for comment.
Officials expect the issue will come up for discussion when the board meets at 7 p.m. Monday at village hall, 300 Plaza Circle.