Thursday, June 25, 2015 || Originally Published: School Board Focus West || By Jean Lotus
After Lindop School District 92 write-in coup, lawyers submit bills for residency, criminal record checks
The new board president of Broadview’s Lindop School District 92 was shocked to receive a $1,426 bill from a lawyer investigating herself and another board member.
A bill for 12 hours of surveillance of Board President Princess Dempsey (pictured below left) to see if she lived in the district and an investigation into an alleged felony charge for a newly elected board member Anissa Cubie were submitted for payment by the district’s lawyers at the June 16 board meeting.
Both investigations were found to be unfounded, documents show.
Dempsey alleged at the meeting that outgoing nine-year President Carla Joiner-Herrod (pictured below) was behind the investigations along with Superintendent Dr. J. Kamala Buckner – who abruptly quit.
“I live in Broadview, period. That’s where I live. The investigation found that,” Dempsey said. “It was a waste of the district’s dollars to pay for me to be followed by investigators.” She suggested the board send the bills to Joiner-Herrod to pay for personally.
Dempsey led an overthrow slate of write-in candidates in the uncontested board elections April 7. Dempsey, Anisssa Cubie and Shyrl Griffin were elected with a total of 37 write-in votes. Griffin is the mother of new Vice President Tamara Whitfield.
According to a memo from the district’s lawyers posted on the D92 website, on April 28 – three weeks after the election, but before new board members were sworn in – representatives of the Lindop Teachers Association requested Buckner investigate the residency of Dempsey and investigate rumors Cubie had been convicted of a felony.
“Additional investigation was conducted under authority of the board president,” wrote Franczek Radelet attorney Dana Fattore Crumley. Crumley did not return emails or phone calls for comment.
The bill also showed a half-hour of research billed at $76.50 April 9 for “review for write in candidates to the board.”
“I’m a mandated reporter for the state and I’m fingerprinted every year. My-ten-year old daughter attends school in the district,” Cubie said. “I could have lost my job.”
Documents show the district’s residency investigator billed for an online search of Dempsey and 12.4 hours of surveillance. The law firm enclosed correspondence with the State’s Attorney’s office confirming no felony conviction existed for Cubie.
LTA Co-President Diane Schoenheider said in an email the union had no comment.
“I had no idea I was being followed,” Dempsey said. “I have a busy life and I run a business. I didn’t even notice.”
In a statement, outgoing nine-year Board President Joiner-Herrod denied she authorized an investigation of her fellow board members.
“The allegations concerning this situation are misguided and false – including the authorization of any alleged investigation,” she wrote (See statement here).
“This is the first time in my 9 years of serving on the Lindop Board School Board that our district has been faced with such chaos. The level of turmoil that has occurred over the past 45 days has been unprecedented,” she wrote.
“[Dempsey] has chosen to publicly humiliate the district that she serves and herself by fueling division between board members, LTA and district administration,” she added.
Dempsey said the new board majority got rid of the old guard with close ties to Broadview Mayor Sherwin Jones. Board member Tanya Taylor is married to Broadview Trustee Lincoln Taylor.
In the April 7 election, Jones supported unsuccessful referenda for home rule and dissolving the Broadview Park District. He also supported failed candidates for library trustees.
Wins by write-in candidates in suburban Cook County elections are not uncommon, said Cook County Clerk Election Spokesperson Courtney Greve. In the April 7 election many write-in candidates won uncontested positions including races in 17 school districts and multiple library and park district boards.
Dempsey said the board has already found a new superintendent.
“We want to keep this district moving forward and make sure everyone knows we are watching district dollars,” she said. VFP
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