Lisle trustee fighting allegations to stay on the ballot
Lisle's electoral board on Friday dismissed an objection that claimed Trustee Christy McGovern falsely signed her name to nominating petitions she didn't circulate.
But McGovern says she believes her political opponents will continue trying to have her removed from the April 4 ballot.
"It doesn't look like it's over," McGovern said. "We know who we're working with."
McGovern is one of seven candidates seeking three 4-year terms on the village board, including three challengers running as a slate with a village president hopeful.
In addition to McGovern, the other incumbents in the race are Anthony Carballo and Brad Hettich.
Meanwhile, the Prosperity for Lisle party challengers for trustee are Marie Hasse, Kelly Dixit and Albert Lazaro.
The seventh candidate, Kristy Grau, is running as an independent.
After McGovern submitted her 66-page nominating petition, Lisle residents MaryLynn Zajdel and Barbara Bielat filed an objection claiming McGovern illegally signed her name to at least nine pages of the petition. They contend the sheets were actually circulated by other people.
Under election law, the individual who personally gathers the signatures from registered voters must sign each page where those signatures appear.
"Candidate McGovern committed perjury and false swearing ... by falsely signing and swearing that she circulated various petition sheets," the objection reads.
Zajdel and Bielat also claim in their complaint that Trustee Carballo didn't collect 13 pages of McGovern's petition that he says he circulated.
But during Friday's electoral board hearing, McGovern's attorney said the claims in the objection are false.
"Were this matter to go to an evidentiary hearing, we would present evidence that Carballo and the candidate did indeed circulate and were present for the signatures placed on each and every one of their petition sheets," attorney John Fogarty said.
Lisle's electoral board didn't review any evidence, however, because the three-member panel unanimously agreed to dismiss the objection.
The panel -- featuring Mayor Joe Broda, Trustee Mark Boyle and Village Clerk Timothy Seeden -- dismissed the objection after being told by a village attorney that McGovern still would have enough valid signatures to stay on the ballot even if all the challenged pages of her petition were tossed.
To run, McGovern needs 91 valid signatures. Of the 559 signatures on her petition, 289 are on pages that weren't challenged.
Still, Frank Avila -- the attorney representing Zajdel and Bielat -- said he will talk to his clients to see if they want to appeal the ruling in circuit court.
Avila said he believes McGovern's nomination papers should be dismissed in their entirety.
He said he also was disappointed that Broda, Boyle and Seeden refused to recuse themselves from the case.
"This board is politically aligned in supporting the candidate," Avila said. "They should have recused themselves to give this a fair hearing."
After the hearing, Christopher Pecak, the Prosperity for Lisle's mayoral candidate challenging Broda, emailed a statement saying government officials "should be held to the highest moral and ethical standards."
He said affidavits Lisle residents submitted in the case "are extremely concerning." Avila provided copies of affidavits from three residents who say McGovern wasn't present when they signed her petition.
"We, Prosperity for Lisle, are running to restore the people's trust in government in Lisle," Pecak wrote.
McGovern said she believes the challenge to her candidacy is tied to Pecak's slate. She accused the group of using "bullying tactics."
"They're making many false allegations," McGovern said. "I'm supported by 559 residents that would like to see me on the ballot in April. And I believe they're obstructing the choices of Lisle citizens."