COD 'Clean Slate' committee fined by elections board

  • Mark Black/mblack@dailyherald.comThe Clean Slate candidates Frank Napolitano, Charles Bernstein and Deanne Mazzochi won election to the College of DuPage board in April.

    Mark Black/mblack@dailyherald.comThe Clean Slate candidates Frank Napolitano, Charles Bernstein and Deanne Mazzochi won election to the College of DuPage board in April.

 
 
Updated 12/22/2015 3:59 PM

A political committee that supported three victorious College of DuPage board candidates earlier this year is being fined $7,750 for not reporting loans on time.

The State Board of Elections board voted to reject the Clean Slate for College of DuPage Committee appeal with little discussion Tuesday.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Clean Slate backed COD Trustees Deanne Mazzochi, Charles Bernstein and Frank Napolitano, giving former Chairwoman Kathy Hamilton a majority of supporters on the board.

Two loans totaling $30,000 Hamilton made to Clean Slate in April were reported late, and the committee was fined for the delinquence. Candidates and committees have to report big contributions soon after they're received, letting voters know who's paying for campaigns.

An elections official ruled that while Clean Slate's treasurer didn't know the loans had to be reported as big contributions, "the treasurer not knowing the campaign disclosure requirements is not a valid defense," according to records. The official also ruled the late reporting was "inadvertent and unintentional," so the initial fine was cut in half.

The elections board agreed, charging the committee with a $7,750 fine.

No one spoke on Clean Slate's behalf at the meeting, and an attorney for the group wasn't immediately available to comment.

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Former Clean Slate Chairman Jim Nalepa said that while he had no role in handling the committee's finances, it was clear the fine came from an "absolute clerical oversight" that shouldn't detract from the work of the new COD board.

The fine is one more twist in the ongoing drama at College of DuPage, where the board awarded former President Robert Breuder a large severance package earlier this year.

Clean Slate's candidates won election in April on the heels of the resulting controversy and eventually fired Breuder and revoked the severance, leading him to file suit. Hamilton resigned her post on the board earlier this month without saying why.

And Trustees Erin Birt, Dianne McGuire and Joseph Wozniak boycotted a recent meeting in the wake of Hamilton's resignation, preventing any action from being taken.

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