Court affirms Geneva Ethics Commission's rejection of complaint against mayor

A Kane County judge has affirmed the decision of the Geneva Ethics Commission that there was insufficient evidence to support a complaint that Mayor Kevin Burns and a fire department official violated the city's ethics law during Burns' campaign for re-election in March 2017.

"This court finds that the decision of the Commission was not clearly erroneous and accordingly must affirm its decision," Judge David Akemann wrote in a ruling issued Thursday.

Burns' opponent, Tom Simonian, had asked before the election was over for the courts to overturn the commission's decision.

Simonian had argued that the commission improperly denied him the ability to pursue his city ethics complaint by not allowing him to subpoena telephone, text and email records and by not recusing itself after he said a commissioner had displayed a yard sign for Burns. He also contended that the term of one of the commissioners had expired and therefore he should not have been allowed to participate.

Simonian claimed that Burns and Deputy Fire Chief Mark Einwich used city resources for prohibited political activity when Einwich used a city vehicle to deliver a Burns campaign sign to Burns' house. Einwich testified to the commission that the sign became stuck under a city fire vehicle in a store parking lot, that he texted a number on the sign and asked what to do with the sign, and that he got a text back indicating he should deliver it to an address on Kaneville Road. Burns testified that he did not recognize the number on the text he received.

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