Yingling and Drobinski in another bitter Illinois House campaign
Two candidates for a state House seat in Lake County are embroiled in another bitter campaign mirroring their 2014 race.
Democratic state Rep. Sam Yingling and Republican challenger Rod Drobinski are on the Nov. 8 ballot for the 62nd House District seat.
District 62 includes all or parts of Grayslake, Hainesville, the Round Lake communities, Lake Villa, Gurnee, Wauconda, Wildwood and Gages Lake. Two years ago, Yingling topped Drobinski, 13,527 votes to 12,568, to win his second term representing the district.
In a Daily Herald editorial board endorsement interview last month, the candidates complained about distortions and falsehoods in political mailings and through other means generated by or on behalf of the rival campaigns, similar to what occurred in 2014.
Since the joint interview, a dispute between the men has developed over a federal lawsuit filed against Drobinski in 2011 by the Abbott Laboratories annuity retirement plan's employee benefit board of review. Documents show the candidate's mother, Irena Drobinski, died May 27, 2005, but pension payments to her continued until Jan. 31, 2007.
On Yingling's Facebook campaign page, he contends "Drobinski continued to cash his deceased mother's pension checks." He said in an interview the suit calls into question Drobinski's fitness to be a state legislator.
"This goes far beyond an innocent error," Yingling said.
Drobinski was executor of his mother's will and didn't notify Abbott of her death until December 2006, according to court papers. He said he didn't cash any physical checks and contacted Abbott early on in an effort to halt the pension payments to her bank account, and that Yingling's campaign is distorting what occurred.
He complied with an order to repay $19,005 to Abbott in a settlement of the civil case.
"Yingling's latest false claim is a desperate attack from a desperate candidate about a civil case that was dismissed," Drobinski said.
Meanwhile, Yingling is the focus of an Illinois Republican Party mailer that went to houses in District 62 this week. With an image of Yingling on one side and a girl on the other, the mailer, in part, claims he received campaign money from groups that "bankrolled a politician that pleaded guilty to horrific child pornography crimes."
Although not named in the mailer, former Democratic state Rep. Keith Farnham of Elgin was sentenced to eight years in a federal prison in 2015 after pleading guilty to transporting child pornography.
Yingling said he believes voters would consider the child pornography thread to him in the mailer to be "ridiculous."
"The voters don't believe it," he said. "It's completely over the top, but I can't make decisions on how my opponent is going to represent me."
Drobinski did not respond to requests for comment on the latest mailer regarding Yingling on behalf of his campaign. He also did not attend a scheduled debate with Yingling on Wednesday night in Round Lake Beach due to a family emergency, according to the Lake County League of Women Voters.