Judge merges Wilson slate appeals into one court case

2013-01-09T13:12:00Z 2013-01-10T00:40:04Z Judge merges Wilson slate appeals into one court caseGregory Tejeda Times correspondent nwitimes.com
January 09, 2013 1:12 pm  • 

CHICAGO | A Cook County judge on Wednesday consolidated into one court case a series of appeals against the Calumet City Electoral Board by allies of mayoral hopeful Brian Wilson.

All of the aldermanic, city clerk and treasurer candidates who wanted to run aligned with Wilson’s mayoral campaign had been removed from the Feb. 26 Democratic primary ballot on grounds their nominating petitions were not notarized in accordance with state law.

Each of those candidates had filed an appeal to the Cook County Circuit Court, and those cases had been assigned to six different judges.

But on Wednesday, attorneys for Wilson’s slate and for the Electoral Board presented arguments to County Division Presiding Judge Edmund Ponce de Leòn, who ultimately merged the seven aldermanic candidates, along with city clerk candidate Rita Cortez and city treasurer hopeful Anthony Smith into one case.

Attorneys also set a schedule in which Wilson attorney John Jawor will present written legal briefs outlining his case to have his clients reinstated to the Calumet City municipal ballot, and in which attorneys for the Electoral Board will justify their actions in removing those candidates.

Jawor said that schedule will take up the rest of January, and the first court hearing where oral arguments will be heard will be on Feb. 5 before Ponce de Leòn in his courtroom at the Daley Center.

All of this legal preparation comes while Wilson’s own political fate has yet to be determined by the Electoral Board in Calumet City.

Wilson avoided being removed from the ballot along with the rest of his slate last month when he voluntarily withdrew from the Democratic primary, and later filed new nominating petitions to run as an independent candidate in the April 9 general election.

But two challenges, by supporters of Michelle Markiewicz Qualkinbush and mayoral hopeful Victor Green, have been filed against Wilson’s independent bid as well.

The Electoral Board is scheduled to consider those challenges on Monday at City Hall, 204 Pulaski Road in Calumet City, although attorneys could not say whether a decision would be made at that time or at a future date.

The Electoral Board also is scheduled on Friday to decide the fate of Green and that of 6th Ward aldermanic candidate Hope Allen. Critics claim their nominating petitions share the same flaws as those of the Wilson slate.

Allen’s petitions also had been challenged on the grounds that she did not have enough valid signatures of support. But a records check by the Cook County clerk’s office confirmed that she did.

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