Candidate's complaint goes nowhere

2014-04-15T16:30:00Z 2014-05-01T19:29:11Z Candidate's complaint goes nowhereBill Dolan bill.dolan@nwi.com, (219) 662-5328 nwitimes.com
April 15, 2014 4:30 pm  • 

CROWN POINT | Lake County officials have again rebuffed a woman whose campaign for public office has become a repeated source of irritation for them.

The county elections board dismissed an election complaint by Lita M. Iatarola Filippo about her opponent's re-election billboard after she failed to appear before them to explain why she thought a political billboard violated "state, city and federal laws," according to a her letter.

Filippo is challenging Commissioner Roosevelt Allen Jr. in the May 6 Democratic primary. She claimed his billboard, which went up at 73rd and Broadway in Merrillville in early March, violated laws forbidding political signs on public property and 30 days before the election.

Merrillville town officials said last month the billboard isn't subject to regulations meant for yard signs.

Tuesday's dismissal comes four days after she was ejected from the Lake County Government Complex for causing a disturbance over demands for documents of public payments of veterans burial benefits to Allen's funeral home.

It also comes one month after Filippo similarly failed to appear before the election board over a complaint the board's lottery to choose ballot positions for candidates was rigged because board members could see candidates names on scraps of paper drawn from a clear plastic jar.

Allen's name was chosen to appear above Filippo's. The elections board dismissed that complaint as well.

"I'm not trying to cause trouble," Filippo said after the meeting.

Filippo said she wasn't given advance notice to either meeting. Election officials said Tuesday she received notice for both meetings and acknowledged receiving the March notice to Dana Dumezich, a Republican member of the elections board.

Filippo also said she feared she would be arrested if she tried to re-enter the Government Complex. Filippo said she called the Indiana State Police, who assured her she cannot be arrested, but it was too late to attend Tuesday's meeting.

The elections board also voted not to impose a $150 fine on former county Surveyor George Van Til for failing to file his last campaign finance report. He apologized to the board, saying he has been in the hospital and his campaign treasurers had made errors in previous reports he had correct.

Van Til is awaiting sentencing following his guilty plea Dec. 5 in U.S. District Court in Hammond to public corruption charges he put re-election campaign workers on his public payroll.

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