Finds that Douglas Williams and William McNeil had no “justifiable grounds” for complaint
(From a Press release dated 4-4-2013)
A complaint filed by Douglas Williams and William McNeil against the Avon Action slate was rejected this afternoon by the State Board of Elections. The complaint is the latest in a long string of futile efforts by Williams to discredit Lisa Rusch, the Avon Township Supervisor and his opponent in the April 9th election.
“Since Williams can’t run against my record, he’s running on lies,” said Rusch, “it’s a travesty he used government resources to try to get some attention. I’m glad the State Board of Elections acted quickly to stop him.”
Doug Williams was joined by Bill McNeil and Jeanne Kirby, both candidates for Avon Township Trustee, and their attorney, Dan Venturi, the former Lake County Republican Chairman and the Lake Villa Township Supervisor. Venturi has been a vocal opponent of township reform and consolidation, an issue the Avon Action team has supported.
“This was a blatant attempt to distract from other serious issues,” said Avon Township Assessor Chris Ditton and a respondent to the complaint, “Doug Williams is using smoke and mirrors. He wants taxpayers not to notice the pink elephant, the fact he has cheated on his property taxes by taking multiple homestead exemption for ten years. He doesn’t want people talking about the fact his residency is in question, that he has claimed Chicago as his primary residence since 1997.”
Williams stated publically that a special meeting called to notify the Avon Township Board of his multiple homestead exemptions and questions about his residency was done for political reasons. Lisa Rusch flatly refutes this, saying his logic is “all turned around;”
“I think people understand that the Avon Township Board appointed Mr. Williams to a trustee position last year in good faith. Once our assessor, Chris Ditton, was notified of Mr. Williams’ wrong-doing, specifically the question of his residency, we had a fiduciary responsibility to notify the Avon Township Board. We were required to do so at a public meeting so the Board had the option of taking action. I didn’t contact press, I believe Mr. Williams or his attorney did so, nor have I spoken or made any statements about this until today. “
Nonetheless, it’s political silly season and the truth matters less than a good headline.
“Voters will choose Avon Action because we have a record of fighting for lower tax levies and less government spending. They’ll vote for us because we tell the truth and have done the right things.”
Another news release received today on the same topic but with a different view on the results
April 4, 2013
Results of Preliminary Hearing Does not Answer all the Questions
State Board of Election has ruled on the recommendation from Hearing Officer, James Tenuto. The lawyer, Dan Venturi, representing current Trustees Bill McNeill and Douglas Raul Williams presented our position and outlined the evidence we had available to us at the time of the Hearing.
Regarding the request for a continuance and allegations that Lisa Rusch, Chris Ditton, Tom Brust and Elena Hamilton were not legally served, the Hearing Officer denied the continuance and upheld that three of the four were legally served. As for Mr. Ditton, The Hearing Officer stated that he did appear and he did participate. This ruling was in favor with Trustees Williams and McNeill’s positions.
There was no evidence to prove or disprove that Avon Action Party was involved in producing or distributing the newsletter. Suggestions made by Lowell Jaffe that the Avon Community Foundation paid for the newsletter has been proven to be false. Who has paid for the newsletter and developed the newsletter are still unanswered questions and as of today, no bill was available upon Trustee inquiry. Because as of yet there is no evidence of who wrote or developed the newsletter, we will pursue this issue once the evidence that has been requested is provided.
In our attempts to prove that the newsletter was indeed a piece of campaign literature, the hearing Officer ruled that because the writers didn’t state” Vote For” or urge the voters to support or oppose the candidates, it could not be classified as a campaign piece of literature. We leave this up to the voters. There was no reference in the Hearing Officers position as to the timing of the literature, the fact that Trustees were absent from the literature, or to the tenor and tone of the literature. The voters will need to make a decision when they enter the voting booth. Was the newsletter politically motivated to enhance the political futures of the current Supervisor, Assessor, Highway Commissioner or Clerk? Was it a calculated manipulation to not include the Trustees, even though it has been done in past, because some of the Trustees were not running on the same slate as the Supervisor, Assessor, Highway Commissioner and Clerk?
There is more to be done and so many unanswered questions. This decision does not put to rest the cost, payment or who actually wrote this newsletter. If this was on the up and up, why was the campaign consultant, Lowell Jaffe present at the hearing? Why didn’t Rusch, Ditton, Brush and Hamilton present any evidence?