At a hearing that lasted a little more than two minutes Thursday evening, the North Riverside electoral board voted unanimously to disqualify six candidates from appearing on the April 2013 ballot.
The electoral board, comprising Mayor Ken Krochmal, Clerk Queenella Miller and Trustee Thomas Corgiat sustained the objections made by North Riverside resident John Beresheim to the nominating petitions of independent mayoral candidate George Georgopoulos and the entire slate of candidates nominated by the Transparency and Accountability in Politics Party, headed by mayoral hopeful Rocco DeSantis.
DeSantis reacted to the vote by immediately standing up and accusing the electoral board of playing politics. All of the members of the electoral board are members of the VIP Party which, as it stands now, has the only candidates on the ballot.
“Go back to Australia where the kangaroos are,” said DeSantis, who sat directly in front of Krochmal at the hearing, just a few feet away.
Krochmal declined to elaborate on his reasons for sustaining Beresheim’s objections. The electoral board’s rulings were laid out in two separate documents, which determined that Georgopoulos’ and TAP’s nominating petitions were defective.
In addition, the board ruled that DeSantis, who is an elected trustee of the village board, was not eligible to run for mayor, because he is on a duty-related disability pension and is, therefore, eligible to return to his job as a police officer. The electoral board also believed TAP village trustee candidate Marybelle Mandel was not eligible to be on the ballot, because she would not have lived in North Riverside for one year prior to the April 9, 2013 election.
All of the candidates thrown off the ballot by the electoral board have the right to appeal those decisions to the Cook County Circuit Court. Richard Means, attorney for DeSantis and TAP, declined comment, saying he had not read the electoral board’s decision and needed to consult with his clients.
DeSantis said he would huddle with his colleagues, but appeared ready to take the fight to the courts.
“We’re going to talk as a group and see what our next step is,” said DeSantis. “I don’t want to run from a bunch of thieves, because their backs are against the wall, too. Someone’s got to put them in jail, and it’s going to be me.”
It appears unlikely that Georgopoulos will fight the electoral board’s ruling, which disqualified him for failing to number the pages of his nominating petition. Georgopoulos previously has stated he wouldn’t fight the board’s ruling, but would likely mount a write-in campaign.