Two candidates for Grayslake office cry foul after they're removed from April ballot
Two first-time candidates in Grayslake who lost their chance to be on the April ballot at a hearing last week say they were given little notice that issues with their paperwork would cost them the chance to run.
At a 9 a.m. meeting Jan. 4, the village electoral board decided Grayslake residents Michael Muno, who was running for mayor, and Paul Skorupa, who was running for village trustee, would not be on the ballot. Both men learned of the electoral board meeting via email Dec. 31, and neither attended.
Muno called the timing "convenient." But village attorney Vic Filippini said the timing was determined by state code and the outcome was "straightforward."
"The village has no dog in the fight and is just doing what statutes required," Filippini said.
Though both candidates filled out and returned the statement of economic interest form to the village, neither filed a statement of economic interest with the Lake County clerk, which is required. In addition, Skorupa did not properly number the pages of his petition.
Muno said he tried over the four-day weekend to hire a lawyer to represent him at the hearing but was not able to find one. He said he chose not to attend the meeting because he wasn't prepared and he was on vacation.
"I think it was scripted, calculated timing on the part of the village," Muno said. "I think I was just used."
Skorupa also decided not to attend, saying spending money on an attorney would not have helped. He said the experience left a bitter taste in his mouth.
"It became quite obvious to me that it was their sandbox and they didn't want to share with anyone else," said Skorupa, who acknowledged that he made mistakes on his petition. "I've got nobody to blame but myself, but in the back of my head it seems like they've created their own little fiefdom in Grayslake."
Filippini said Trustee Ron Jarvis, the chairman of the village's electoral board, notified Muno and Skorupa on Dec. 31 because he was required to alert them within 24 hours after he was told that an objection had been filed. Notice of the objections, which were received by the village Dec. 28, was hand-delivered by Deputy Village Clerk Jennifer Hess to Jarvis on Dec. 30, Filippini said.
Filippini said state rules require the meeting notices be sent via certified mail and by the county sheriff's office. Filippini said Jarvis decided to email the message as well because he believed physical letters might not arrive in time.
The timeline is backed up by village documents reviewed by the Daily Herald.
Filippini said the electoral board meeting was scheduled for Jan. 4 because state statutes require the meeting to take place three to five days after the letter goes out, and Jan. 4 was the latest date under the rules.
The objections to the paperwork were filed by Grayslake resident Philip S. Howe.
"Given the merits of the objections, the outcome was pretty straightforward," Filippini said.
Now, Mayor Rhett Taylor will be the only candidate for mayor left on the April ballot. Four candidates will appear on the ballot for village trustee: incumbents Shawn Vogel, Adam Shores and Lalena Zoe Magnetta and challenger Laura Dias.