Answer to 'Quo vadis, Burman?' Quo warranto

Investigation shows trustee no longer lives in township

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By DREW CARTER

The Cicero Township School Treasurer's Office plans to take legal action to remove one of its three trustees because it has reason to believe he no longer lives within the area he represents.

Information from a private investigator the office hired suggests Robert Burman no longer lives in Berwyn, which he was elected to represent in 2003, said William Sullivan, president of the Cicero Township Trustees of Schools, which governs the treasurer's office.

Burman listed a Chicago address when he recently renewed his driver's license, while mail has been returned from the last known address for Burman, Sullivan said. He has not provided a new address or phone number within the area.

The board?#34;composed only of Sullivan and Maureen Sherwood, the Cicero representative, in Burman's absence?#34;voted 2-0 on Monday to approve the measure that could mean the end of Burman's two-year tenure on the board.

The office oversees investments and disbursements of funds for schools in Oak Park, Berwyn and Cicero. Each member of three-member board typically represents one of each of the communities.

The office will ask the Attorney General's Office to file a quo warranto against Burman, which essentially would require him to prove that he still resides within the area. Sullivan said that if Attorney General is unable or unwilling to do so, the office will ask the Cook County State's Attorney to do the same, or have its own counsel file the quo warranto.

Sullivan could not say how long the matter might take.

A special meeting was called in September to accept Burman's resignation. Fifteen minutes after the meeting was supposed to begin, Chris Welch, the board's attorney at the time, arrived to say he did not have a signed resignation from Burman and needed one for the board to move ahead.

Treasurer Marty O'Connor received an e-mail from Burman Monday before the meeting in which Burman writes, "It has come to my attention that I am still a trustee. Confused? ... It is my intention to resign as I have said, and attempted on two different occasions. I guess it's easier not having a third person around to ask questions."

O'Connor replied that he would bring a resignation letter to Burman to sign, and offered to buy him lunch Tuesday.

Burman ignored the offer on the resignation letter, continued to ask O'Connor questions about the filings of Oak Park and River Forest High School, and said he could not make lunch on Tuesday.

Burman has not attended a meeting of the board?#34;which are typically offered as in-person or phone-in events?#34;since Sullivan was elected president of the board, shortly after his uncontested election to the board in April.

Burman, who was himself elected to the presidency shortly after his 2003 election, has a foot disease that limits his mobility, O'Connor said. Cook County Clerk records show that Burman has gone through a divorce, had a mortgage foreclosure, and business settlements with creditors in excess of $1 million in recent years.

Office to move

The treasurer's office plans to move to 1515 N. Harlem Ave. at the beginning of the new year. Lower rent and parking savings at the new space will save the office about $10,000 a year, O'Connor said.

Sullivan suggested the office search for a new home shortly after taking office, as its lease was set to expire at the end of the year. The office asked its member schools for low-cost space within their buildings before taking the Harlem space. The lease is for five years, two months and two days on the approximately 1,200-square-foot space, according to the lease. Rent begins at $1,660 and rises to $1,870 in 2010, with the first 2 1/2 months free.

CONTACT: dcarter@wjinc.com

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