The three candidates set to square off in a February primary election for the mayor’s office will first have to clear a hurdle with the local election board.
Allegations that incumbent Anthony Calderone and challengers Patrick Doolin and Terry Steinbach collected invalid signatures for their nominating petitions were filed with the village clerk recently. In her objections, Deborah Cole also alleged that Steinbach and Calderone forged a Cook County stamp certifying that certain paperwork was in fact filed with the county clerk’s office.
Candidates wishing to run for public office must file a disclosure of their financial interests with Cook County Clerk David Orr, according to state law. A receipt of that filing must then be turned in to the municipality where the candidate is running for office. For both Calderone and Steinbach, Cole’s petition challenges “whether the authenticity of the seal is the official seal from the Cook County office of David Orr.”
A spokesperson for the county clerk’s office confirmed on Thursday that it received a statement of economic interest from both Calderone and Steinbach.
Cole is also challenging the validity of each of Calderone’s 185 signatures collected in support of his nomination.
“This challenge includes claims that some of the signers were not registered to vote at the addresses they listed; that some of the signers’ signatures were not genuine and some of the signers’ addresses were not genuine,” Cole stated in her written objection.
Similar issues were raised in connection with 65 of the roughly 180 signatures turned in by Doolin and 151 of the roughly 200 signatures turned in by Steinbach.
To appear on the 2007 municipal ballot candidates needed to collect only 16 signatures, according to Village Clerk Vanessa Moritz.
Calderone, a two-term incumbent who has served in public office since 1992, said Cole’s objections mark the first time his paperwork has been challenged. The mayor said he has no doubt he collected enough signatures from registered voters to withstand a review.
“I went to the clerk in Maybrook and filled out my statement of economic interest,” Calderone said. “I’ve been doing this since 1992 when I first served on the Fire and Police Commission.”
Doolin and Steinbach did not return phone calls seeking comment.
In filing her objections, Cole identified herself as a member of the public and as the executive director of the Forest Park Restorative Institute. That organization is listed on the Main Street Redevelopment Association’s Web site with an address of 324 Marengo Ave.
The same Marengo Avenue address was listed by mayoral hopeful Negale Jackson on his nominating papers filed with the village clerk. Jackson, however, will not be certified to appear on the ballot for failing to submit a receipt from the county clerk’s office confirming that he filed a financial disclosure statement, according to Moritz.
The county clerk’s office also confirmed that it received a statement of financial disclosure from Jackson. The political hopeful has said he will challenge Moritz’s ruling and recently turned in a copy of his disclosure receipt that appears to be stamped by the county.
Moritz declined to comment further on her concerns with the document, but said she is not reversing her decision.
“It’s not consistent with every other receipt I received,” Moritz said.
Neither Jackson nor Cole responded to requests for comment.
Two months ago Jackson was linked to an alleged underage drinking party at 324 Marengo Ave. by an unidentified man who was allegedly stabbed in the face during the event. Police dropped their investigation into the incident after witnesses refused to cooperate. According to a police report on the stabbing, Jackson was identified by the victim as the host of the party. Authorities said Jackson was not a suspect in the stabbing.
The municipal electoral board will likely hold a hearing on Cole’s objections sometime during the first or second week of the new year, Moritz said. Calderone is the chairman of that board, but because the matter involves him directly, Commissioner Mark Hosty will serve as chairman, in accordance with state law.
In the meantime, Moritz, who is also a member of the electoral board, will begin investigating Cole’s objections.
“It has to be a very quick process because the election is in February and the Cook County clerk has to print the ballots,” Moritz said.