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  • Writer's pictureTricia Babischkin

Well, now this is interesting

So, yesterday, shortly after lunch, I had a knock on the door -- I had registered mail, from our village's law firm. Well, now that's interesting. Apparently, current Village Trustee Ryan Berman is objecting to my petition for candidacy for Village Trustee. Well, knowing that I followed the instructions, I am very curious as to what Mr. Berman would have to object to in my petition.

It appears that a mere 24 hours after a resident filed the objections to the 3 incumbents and one sitting P&Z board member based on missing documentation and altering their election packets after they were turned in, Mr. Berman submitted his own objection to the 4 candidates running against the incumbents.

What does Mr. Berman think is wrong with my petition? He claims that on the majority of pages that 1 person signed two people's names. In technical terms that's called forgery. He claims he "upon information and belief" that seven of my pages contain forged signatures. Interesting...since there are witnesses to every signature with the circulator. The notarized signature at the bottom of the page is that circulator certifying that:

  1. They reside at their address.

  2. They are 18 years of age (or 17 and eligible to vote in IL)

  3. They are a citizen.

  4. The signatures were signed in the circulator's presence.

  5. The people signing to the best of the circulator's knowledge are registered to vote in the area that the candidate is seeking office.

So -- if I understand this Mr. Berman is alleging that 20 signatures on my petitions are forged and that 5 people who circulated my petitions lied when they certified that the signatures were personally witnessed by them. Based on this, he believes I should not be on the ballot.

That's a very interesting tactic that Mr. Berman is taking. There is absolutely no basis to his claim. I know for a fact that the signatures I witnessed are genuine and were not forged, and I have full faith in all those who circulated for me. But every step to Election Day has a process. Remember he did what he did to me to three other people, so multiple all of this by 4. So, let's review the steps that have and will happen:

  1. The objection goes to the law firm that represents the Election Board -- that would be the village's law firm that has benefitted so much for our legal issues this year. Legal Billable hours for a baseless claim.

  2. Every objection has to be copied and mailed via registered mail to the candidate and the members of the Election Board. My packet cost $21.60 just in postage -- that's nearly $100 in postage just to the four candidates and the Board members would get packets that are all four of our sets of paperwork. A day later I got a certified mail that repeated all the paperwork I got yesterday for another $9.00 -- bringing my personal postage total to over $30.

  3. A sheriff is sent to all of our homes to serve us with what is called "The Call" -- it is basically my personal invitation to the hearing with a set of proposed rules and such. There is often a fee for service and certainly an opportunity cost to send out a trained and armed police officer to serve me with paperwork.

  4. We sit for a hearing. It's Saturday at RedTail at 9am. (There's a Zoom Link in case you might be interested in watching this....please join us.) That's more billable hours by the attorney.

The back of my envelope math on this is that it is going to cost the village at least $5,000 and depending on how this drags on, it could go much higher, to represent the Election Board on something that has absolutely no merit and is likely only filed because a resident (not any of the candidates) filed against his buddies. Do not forget that this is the same sitting Trustee who blames residents for the legal fees due to FOIA requests, but we've proven repeatedly that our legal fees are not high due to FOIAs. This is the same sitting trustee who told the public during the last board meeting that he didn't feel it was important to do oversight on the spending in the village. So, it's not important for a sitting trustee to know why the village paid a $2,700 late fee on leased equipment, but it's just fine for a sitting Trustee to waste village money to hold a hearing on a completely baseless accusation?

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