The race for the Proviso Township High School District 209 school board came to an end for John Wicks Sr. of Bellwood on Jan. 14 after a panel found he had failed to turn in the required paperwork to the Cook County Clerk.

Then-District 209 board President Emanuel “Chris” Welch headed a three-member panel, which determined that Wicks had failed to get a receipt from the clerk’s office for his filed statement of economic interest.

“It was a unanimous decision of the panel,” Welch said. The panel was composed of Welch, board member Theresa Kelly and volunteer Paul O’Grady.

Wicks was school board president of Proviso Township District 88 Elementary Schools.

Wicks’ petition was challenged by Maywood resident Terry L. Gilford, who also challenged the petitions of three Maywood Parks Commissioner candidates.

Gilford was questioned in 2006 in the shooting death of Maywood police officer Thomas Wood. He was charged with drug and weapons possession, but not the murder, which is still unsolved.

Wicks issued a statement calling Gilford’s arrest history “a very disturbing and reckless criminal background.”

“I don’t even know Terry Gilford,” Wicks said. “To me it appears he was put up to this from another source with political agendas not in the best interest of [the district]. It makes no sense to me at all. All I have to say is, what’s done in the dark will surely come to light.”

Welch said failure to file the statement was, “apparently just an oversight on [Wicks’s] part, and I know he felt terrible about it.”

“I was his lawyer when he served as board member for District 88,” Welch said.

“John would have made a great candidate for District 209 because of his experience,” Welch added.

There remain six candidates who will appear on the April 9 ballot for four positions on the D209 school board. These are incumbents Dan Adams (the new board president), Brian Cross and Kevin McDermott. The three other candidates are Theresa McKelvy of Berkeley, Jorie Wright of Bellwood and Arbdella “Della” Patterson of Maywood.

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...