Oak Brook electoral board votes to keep Drake Hotel owner on April ballot

  • The Oak Brook electoral board dismissed an objection to Jim Nagle's candidacy to run for village trustee. Nagle's candidacy was challenged because he has a liquor license as an owner of the Drake Hotel in Oak Brook. Village code says an elected official cannot have a liquor license.

    The Oak Brook electoral board dismissed an objection to Jim Nagle's candidacy to run for village trustee. Nagle's candidacy was challenged because he has a liquor license as an owner of the Drake Hotel in Oak Brook. Village code says an elected official cannot have a liquor license. Daily Herald File Photo, 2016

  • Former Oak Brook Village Trustee Gerald Wolin lost his objection to the village trustee candidacy of Drake Hotel owner Jim Nagle.

    Former Oak Brook Village Trustee Gerald Wolin lost his objection to the village trustee candidacy of Drake Hotel owner Jim Nagle.

 
 
Updated 1/5/2021 8:00 PM

The Oak Brook village electoral board voted Monday to dismiss an objection to Jim Nagle's candidacy to run for village trustee.

The board, comprised of Village President Gopal Lalmalani and trustees Michael Manzo and Asif Yusuf, sided with Nagle, who owns the Drake Hotel in Oak Brook, and is among six candidates vying for three 4-year village board terms in the April 6 election.

 

Jerry Wolin, an Oak Brook trustee from 2007 to 2015, officially sought to have Nagle removed from the ballot because Nagle possesses a village liquor license for the hotel.

Wolin cited a portion of the village code that states: "Any elected public official, village employee, and no such official shall be interested in any way, either directly or indirectly, in any business holding an Oak Brook liquor license."

"The village code is very clear that Mr. Nagle cannot be a trustee," said Wolin, who expressed frustration the election board's dismissal came before he could give his prepared testimony. "I think it was an unfair hearing."

Wolin has concerns about law enforcement officers facing potential political interference if they have to enforce liquor laws at a business owned by an elected official. Wolin also felt Nagle misrepresented himself in his Statement of Candidacy due to the liquor license issue.

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But the electoral board sided with Nagle's lawyer David Sotomayor at the hearing.

Sotomayor said Wolin's objection was premature because Nagle does not currently hold village office. Sotomayor added that just having a liquor license does not preclude Nagle's eligibility to run as a candidate.

Sotomayor cited President Donald Trump's 2016 candidacy as an example by adding "when he was running for president, he had various interests that would have made him ineligible to sit as president based upon potential conflicts."

He posited that Nagle, if elected, could divest himself of the liquor license before being officially sworn into office.

Yusuf agreed, noting the village code cited by Wolin does not specifically use the word "candidates." He added that "even if you have a license, you get to keep it 'til it's up for renewal."

Nagle had a letter of support from Abraham Zisook, legal counsel for the Illinois Liquor Control Commission.

Sotomayor did not return a phone call Tuesday asking for a statement from Nagle about his liquor license plans should he be elected as a trustee. A Drake Hotel receptionist said Nagle was on vacation and unavailable for comment.

Wolin said he was unsure if he would appeal the electoral board decision to the DuPage County Circuit Court.

"I should have been given time to adequately respond," said Wolin, adding he felt some comments made to support the motion to dismiss were "either wrong or very misleading."

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