SOUTH HOLLAND | Thornton Township High School District 205 School Board President Kenneth Williams said Tuesday he has no intention of complying with the request of the Cook County state’s attorney’s office to resign his post.
Williams, in an interview with The Times, said he would send a letter to State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez by certified mail Tuesday, telling her that he will not comply with the demand she made in a letter she sent him last month because he has a 27-year-old felony conviction on his record.
That letter gave Williams until Tuesday to resign, or else face the prospect of a lawsuit that could force him out of office.
“I won’t be stepping down,” Williams said, adding that he has three different attorneys at this point working on his defense in what could become a case to force him out of his post.
Williams, 48, got into legal trouble when he was 20 and was found guilty of forgery in Indiana for which he served more than two full years in prison. He has said he was involved in “aiding and abetting” a crime.
Alvarez has said she believes that state law specifically prohibits convicted felons from serving on school boards, and that Williams is one of a few officials whom she’d like to see step down from posts to which they were elected. Spokesman Andrew Conklin could not say how quickly the state's attorney's office would act, but said, "We do plan to act as expeditiously as possible. We will act in accordance with the law."
But Williams, who was elected to the District 205 School Board in 2009 and became board president in 2011, said he does not understand why the state’s attorney is making an issue of this now.
“I wish she’d focus her attention on trying to reduce the number of young men out there who are being murdered,” Williams said. Conklin declined to respond to that comment.
Williams’ current term ends April 30, although he is on the April 9 ballot for re-election to a four-year term that would begin May 1. His campaign faces two challenges now pending before the District 205 Electoral Board scheduled to meet Jan. 28 at Thornton High School in Harvey.
Williams’ time on the District 205 School Board has caused conflicts with fellow board members.
In 2011, a faction of the School Board that opposes Williams’ leadership tried to pressure him to resign, and ultimately asked the regional superintendent of schools to conduct an investigation into Williams’ conduct in running the School Board.
But Williams, who is the founder of the Silk ‘n’ Classy barber college, 804 Sibley Blvd., in Dolton, survived that effort, and School Board members have said the effort by the state’s attorney’s office is separate from that past attempt to pressure Williams to resign.