District 15 school board candidate sued by former campaign workers
A school board candidate in Palatine Township Elementary School District 15 is being sued by two former campaign managers who claim they are owed more than $220,000 for their work on his 2022 bid for a seat in Congress.
John Kieken and Tanja Biebel say they helped Chris Dargis of Palatine win the Republican nomination for the 8th District seat but were not fully compensated for their work.
Dargis went on to lose to Democratic U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi of Schaumburg in November's general election.
The suit alleges that Dargis owes Kieken about $111,971 and Biebel about $108,432 in consulting fees, expenses, mileage and interest on outstanding balances.
"The people he didn't pay were his two campaign managers who helped him win the primary election," said John O'Toole, the plaintiffs' attorney. "They were promised to be paid by this congressional candidate, either himself personally or through the campaign fund, and he didn't do it."
Dargis denied the accusations Thursday.
"It's a frivolous lawsuit from former employees," said Dargis, noting that Biebel was suspended from his campaign last year after a rival in the GOP primary accused her of unethical behavior.
"One can draw their own conclusions as to whether or not one would expect them to have continued employment," he added.
The lawsuit claims Dargis told Biebel her suspension from the campaign was "fake" and asked her to continue working for him from home.
According to the lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Cook County court, Dargis agreed to pay Kieken and Biebel $3,000 per week during the campaign. The suit states both worked 12 to 16 hours per day, seven days per week, beginning on March 20, 2022, and concluding on June 30, 2022, when both were dismissed without explanation.
Dargis is one of five candidates seeking three seats on the District 15 board in the April 4 election. The others are incumbent board members Samantha Ader, Wenda Hunt and Zubair Khan and fellow challenger Justin Hegy.