Aurora alderman candidate gets to stay on ballot

The Aurora Electoral Board refused Monday to remove one of the candidates for the alderman-at-large position from the April 6 ballot.

The board decided, 3-0, that two objectors to Ron Woerman's candidacy did not provide sufficient evidence to prove Woerman did not meet the city's residency requirement.

Fellow candidate Raymond Hull, and resident Roy Runaner, had alleged Woerman does not live in the city, and will not have lived in Aurora for the required one year, should he be elected in April.

Woerman testified Friday he moved from Oswego to a one-bedroom apartment in Aurora on Feb. 1, 2020. He told the board he estimated he spent about 40% of his nights there, and the other 60% at the Oswego house where his wife and children live.

He said he and his wife are due to close Jan. 19 on the purchase of a house in Aurora.

Electoral board member Bob O'Connor, who is the senior alderman on the city council, said electoral law and legal cases show residency is proven by physical presence and the intent of the person to have a permanent home in the city. None, however, specify a percentage of time the person has to spend in that residence, he said.

The fourth candidate in the race is Brooke Shanley.

John Laesch, who is running for mayor against incumbent Richard Irvin, called Friday for the board to dismiss Woerman's candidacy over the residency issue.

He also said in his news release there was an appearance of a conflict of interest for Irvin because Woerman and his brother, Russell Woerman, are among the owners of Fox Valley Developers, which has received $16 million in aid from the city to redevelop the former Copley Hospital. Laesch also said Russell Woerman donated $12,340 to Irvin's political campaign fund in 2016 and 2017.

At last week's electoral board hearing, when asked what he did for a living, Woerman told the board he works for Spartan House and O'Malley's pubs in Aurora. He did not mention his involvement with Fox Valley Developers.

"Irvin's failure to recuse himself has put him in a position to uphold the law and rule against Woerman's '40% residency' or do what is in the best interest of 'the team' and the corrupt pay-to-play system in city hall," Laesch said.

Irvin could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon.

The electoral board also heard more on a challenge to the petitions of Joseph Grisson III, also running for the alderman-at-large seat. That hearing is continued to 2 p.m. Jan. 19.

Aurora candidate seeks ouster of 2 others from ballot

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