Last week, a three-person panel voted to remove one candidate’s name from the April election ballot.
A decision was also made to postpone until Wednesday, after press time, the decisions on challenges to two other candidates for commissioner.
Connie Custardo, a part-time bus driver who was running for Forest Park commissioner, was removed from the ballot on Jan. 4 due to flawed petitions.
The day of reckoning for incumbent Commissioner Rory Hoskins and Jon Kubricht,
owner of Da Beads, a Chicago store that sells imported jewelry, is scheduled for Jan. 12, per a request from attorney Steven Laduzinsky, who is representing both candidates.
Mayor Anthony Calderone, Village Clerk Vanessa Moritz and appointed member
Michael Davies make up the election board that voted unanimously to remove Custardo. They will also determine whether Hoskins and Kubricht can run for commissioner in the April 5 election.
Davies was appointed to the board by Tim Evans, chief judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, in place of Commissioner Mark Hosty who could not sit on the board because he is up for re-election.
The board removed Custardo for her failure to bind her paperwork, explicitly stating the office she was running for and to number the signatures she collected, among other violations.
“Any of these issues alone would be enough to invalidate her petitions,” said attorney Keri-Lyn J. Krafthefer, representing Elsie Radtke, the local woman who filed all three challenges. Radtke is the mother of another candidate for commissioner, Tom Mannix.
Custardo said she “respected” the decision of the board but added that her mistakes were “peripheral” and that the issues “bordered on ridiculous.”
“These are things you hate to see stop a candidacy,” Custardo told the board.
Before voting in favor of her removal, Davies said Custardo “made no attempt to limit the confusion” of election officials by handing in such disorganized paperwork.
Several of the objections against Hoskins and Kubricht also cite technical errors in their petitions although Kubricht is accused of turning in petitions with forged signatures.
Laduzinksy discounted the objection and pointed to Hoskins’ signature on both Kubricht’s petition and his own, as a small example.
Hoskin’s signature on Kubricht’s petitions “is a perfect match for Rory Hoskins’ signature on his own statement of candidacy, loyalty oath and eight of his own petition sheets,” states a motion to dismiss objections against Kubricht that Laduzinsky filed with an attorney making recommendations for the board.
Laduzinsky filed a motion to remove objections against Hoskins as well. Some of those objections allege Hoskins did not properly list the office he is running for and that the address of a signee is not provided and some of the language in his paperwork is not in conformity with election code.
Kubricht, who was out of the country during last week’s hearing, faces several other charges, in addition to forgery. He is accused of presenting petitions with the names of persons who are not registered to vote, providing printed names, rather than signatures, and not providing the 29 necessary “valid” signatures, among other violations.
Laduzinsky also asked that Calderone and Moritz be removed from the board due to “bias.” No ruling on that request was available at press time.
The alleged bias stems from a 2009 lawsuit between Calderone and Kubricht. Kubricht filed suit against the village after Moritz denied Kubricht’s written request for documents, and the village did not respond to an appeal under the Freedom of Information Act, addressed to Calderone.
The judge refused Kubricht’s request for the records, according to the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County.
Hoskins said he thinks the challenge against him is politically motivated.
Kubricht could not be reached for comment.
Presently, there are 16 candidates in the race – two are running for mayor and 14 for commissioner.