MARKHAM | Kenneth Williams, the former Thornton Township High School District 205 president who was removed from office because of a 29-year-old felony conviction, said Wednesday he wants to be reappointed to the School Board.
Such circumstances are possible, Williams said, because he said an Allen County, Ind., judge issued an order granting an expungement of his conviction in 1985 for aiding, inducing or causing a forgery.
That conviction was the justification in October for Cook County Judge Rita Novak to rule Williams ineligible to serve on a School Board.
A copy of the order provided by Williams to The Times indicates he was granted the expungement Feb. 14 by Allen Superior Court Judge Wendy Davis because Williams’ offense — for which he served 22 months in prison — was nonviolent, at least eight years old and he has no criminal record since then.
Since Williams’ removal, the School Board has become split into a six-member board with equal-sized factions of members who support Williams and those who oppose him. That split has prevented much business from being conducted by the board in recent months.
When the Chicago Heights-based South Cook Intermediate Service Center tried to appoint a replacement for Williams, it resulted in a lawsuit now pending before Judge Moshe Jacobius.
That lawsuit motivated Wednesday’s hearing, which was part pretrial court hearing and part School Board meeting. School Board Vice President Darren Robinson insisted on running through the usual board format for its public meetings — including a portion in which the public was allowed to speak.
It was during that time that Williams made a statement, with Jacobius listening, in which he said he thinks the expungement makes it possible for him to return to the board.
“If someone needs to be appointed, then I’ll apply,” Williams told the judge. “I no longer have a felony, so if I choose to run, I’ll run.”
Jacobius said he believes it would take an interpretation by the Illinois appellate court overturning Novak’s order for Williams to be considered, although he said he’s prepared to do so if that ultimately happens. Williams has such an appeal pending, although no hearings have yet been scheduled in the case.