A Buffalo Grove trustee running for re-election filed an objection Wednesday to another candidate’s petition, saying Jeffrey Battinus did not file all of the required paperwork needed to place his name on the April 9 ballot.
Andy Stein, who also filed for candidacy, challenged Battinus on Jan. 2 after noticing that his statement of economic interests was missing. Candidates are required to submit the form during the election filing period. The State Board of Elections’ 2013 candidate guide outlines all paperwork requirements and filing deadlines.
“The statement [of economic interests receipt] must be filed during the calendar year in which the nominating petitions are filed. While the receipt need not accompany the nominating petitions at the time of filing, it must be filed no later than 5:00 p.m. on the last day for filing the petitions,” the guide states.
Filing for the 2013 municipal election ended Dec. 26. Battinus announced on his “Elect Jeff Battinus” Facebook page that his filed his paperwork Dec. 17.
On the afternoon of Jan. 2, the Cook County clerk’s office did not have a statement of economic interests on file for Battinus, spokeswoman Courtney Greve said. However, Buffalo Grove’s deputy village clerk, Jane Olson, said she received a copy of the statement Wednesday at Village Hall. Battinus confirmed that he filed the form with the county that day.
“As far as the form itself, I can’t speak to it,” said Battinus, who said his attorney is looking into the matter. “It was a technicality on my part, which I’ll have to be accountable for.”
While the form is listed among the requirements for local election candidates, failure to submit it would not prevent one from running unless someone files an objection and that objection is upheld.
“It’s disappointing that he’s opposed to allowing the voters of Buffalo Grove to actually have a choice,” Battinus said. “What Andy Stein is doing is trying to have the courts decide the election instead of having the people of Buffalo Grove decide it.”
Voters will elect three trustees this spring. If Battinus is removed from the ballot, three candidates will remain. In addition to Stein and Battinus, Beverly Sussman and Lester Ottenheimer — two other current trustees — filed to run in the election.
Stein said he reviewed the paperwork filed by all of the candidates.
“After much careful consideration I decided that I must take this action to protect the integrity of the election process,” he wrote in an email to Patch. “This failure by Mr. Battinus is not just a clerical error. This is part of the State Election statute that was put in place to try and give the voters some assurance that elected officials do not have personal economic interests in the decisions they make for the residents. It is important that we as public officials, potential or existing, do everything we can to uphold the trust placed in us. That includes being certain that a critical, required, document be properly filled out and filed to ask for the votes of our fellow residents.”
"I find it disingenuous that when somebody does something wrong, they try to shift the blame," Stein said in response to Battinus' comment. "If anyone deprived the residents of Buffalo Grove of a choice, it was him when he didn't follow the rules."
Stein said he called Battinus Jan. 1 to alert him that someone was planning to file an objection. He did not disclose that he was the objector, and he said he “suggested that [Battinus] consider withdrawing from the election instead of going through the process.”
That process includes a review with Buffalo Grove’s electoral board, which is made up of Village President Jeff Braiman, Village Clerk Janet Sirabian and Jeff Berman, the longest-serving trustee. If the board finds fault with Battinus’ paperwork, Battinus has the option of appealing its decision with the Cook County Circuit Court.
Battinus said he won’t withdraw from the race.
“I will fight it,” Battinus said. “If I’m unsuccessful, I’ll come back another year. I want to serve my community.”