A former president of the Park District of Oak Park is pushing to get three park board candidates knocked off the ballot in the April election.
David Kindler, who served on the park board from 2002 to 2006, filed his challenge at village hall shortly before the deadline Dec. 28. He's asking the county to end the candidacies of Diane Dunn, Thomas Finch and Julie Grossman MacCarthy—who are all running to fill three spots on the Park District of Oak Park Board of Commissioners.
Kindler, 46, circulated petitions for another candidate, incumbent Jessica Bullock. He was curious who the three challengers were, and started delving into their petitions, he said last week. That's where Kindler claims he found that about 70 of each candidate's roughly 160 signatures weren't from registered voters, according to his complaint.
The group of three candidates allegedly had the same people circulate their petitions, according to Kindler, which he believes indicates that they're running as a slate. Illinois election law states that park board candidates can't form a political party.
"You want to give voters a fair election, a ballot that has people that deserve to be on there," Kindler said. "The system is set up to make sure that people who end up on the ballot have done what's required to get there."
Reached the day after Kindler filed his objection, Dunn, 51, said it's "unfortunate" that Kindler decided to challenge her petitions. Dunn believes that Kindler is mistaken in claiming that her signatures aren't legitimate. She declined to comment when asked whether the same people circulated petitions for all three candidates, but said she doesn't know Grossman MacCarthy or Finch personally, and the trio is not running as a slate.
"I just want to bring some fresh ideas and come with an open mind to the board, and at this particular point, that's my main objective," she said.
Grossman MacCarthy and Finch could not be reached for comment on Monday.
Cook County will start holding hearings on petition challenges on Jan. 10 at 69 W. Washington in Chicago, according to Courtney Greve, spokeswoman for the county clerk's office. A date for the hearing was not yet determined as of Tuesday morning. Challenges will be heard by the three-member Cook County electoral board, which includes representatives from the clerk's office, the county circuit court and the Illinois attorney general's office.
Paul Aeschleman and Victor Guarino are also competing for spots on the park board of commissioners.