Tag: Election 2017

District 209 School Board Campaign Shows Lots of Outside Cash, Stark Funding Disparities

Cash.jpgMarch 14, 2017 || By Thomas Vogel for Forest Park Review || @maywoodnews

The latest available campaign finance disclosures for a pair of political action committees backing competing slates in the upcoming April 4 Proviso District 209 school board election show a wide gap in funding and, for one slate, thousands of dollars from groups and individuals outside Proviso Township.

Proviso First for School Board 209 — which supports three incumbent candidates and a fourth newcomer — has $11,250 in funds. The other committee, Proviso Together — which supports four challengers, supported by Forest Park board members Claudia Medina and Ned Wagner — has reported just $2,000.

The total amount of funding for each committee is unclear. But Illinois State Board of Elections records do show a web of connections between the incumbent candidate slate (Proviso First) and outside groups active in previous elections, including committees tied to former District 209 board president Chris Welch, longtime Melrose Park Mayor Ronald Serpico, and Cook County Board Commissioner and McCook Mayor Jeffrey Tobolski.

The Proviso Together and Proviso First slates were both created in January 2017. As a result, each committee does not have to file a quarterly disclosure report until April 1, just days before the election, according to Illinois State Board of Election rules. Contributions under $1,000 are listed on quarterly disclosure reports.

Connie Brown, a local Forest Park business owner and chairman of Proviso Together, said her committee has raised — through many small contributions — much more than the reports show.

All disclosures listed for both committees as of March 7 are Schedule A-1 contributions, meaning each donation is over $1,000 and must be reported within five business days. Schedule A-1 contributions given within 30 days before an election — any day after March 5 — must be reported within two business days.

“All of our money is raised through grass-roots support,” Brown said on March 9. “All of our contributors either live in the district or have friends or relatives within the district.”

She said Proviso Together has roughly 200 contributors, with the average gift between $50 or $100. Brown declined to give an exact total.

“We’re raising enough to do exactly what we need to do,” she added, mentioning printing costs for campaign fliers and signage. “It’s not about how much money is raised; it’s how the money is raised.”

Proviso First, by contrast, has received four A-1 donations totaling $11,250. The committee was created on Jan. 19. Teresa McKelvy and Brian Cross, both sitting Proviso 209 Board of Education members up for re-election, are listed as president and treasurer, respectively. McKelvy is currently the school board president.

Brian Cross, Proviso First’s treasurer and an incumbent school board candidate, did not return requests for comment.

Friends of Jeffrey Tobolski, created in June 2009 to support Jeffrey Tobolski in his bid for Cook County Board commissioner, gave $1,000 to Proviso First on Feb. 27. Tobolski is also the mayor of McCook. According to its most recent quarterly report, Friends of Jeffrey Tobolski has a $282,472.46 fund balance.

As Cook County commissioner, Tobolski’s 16th District includes parts of several Proviso communities, including Bellwood, Westchester, Melrose Park and Maywood. Tobolski mentioned that he got a message from Proviso First on Facebook asking for a contribution and said he knows Cross.

“I’ve known him for a number of years,” Tobolski said March 8. “We both went to St. Joe’s High School in Westchester.” He added that he tends to support incumbents.

“I didn’t see anything that they were doing wrong,” he said of the incumbents on the Proviso First slate. “The folks have a done a good job.”

D209’s 2016 four-year graduation rate was 73.5 percent, more than 10 percentage points below the state average, according to the Illinois Report Card, the state’s official source. Other metrics, including the rate of graduating seniors enrolling in two- or four-year colleges, are also below state average.

Tobolski said the $1,000 is a one-time contribution and that he was not a “kingmaker.”

Friends of Jeffrey Tobolski has been active in other elections, too. Since 2011, the group has given eight contributions totaling $2,700 to People for Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D209’s former board president. Welch’s tenure saw several controversies, including the possible use of taxpayer money to help pay Welch’s legal fees in a defamation lawsuit. Welch was elected as an Illinois state representative for the 7th district in 2013.

Friends of Jeffrey Tobolski has also, since 2010, given seven separate donations totaling $5,750 to Citizens for Christopher Getty, a committee created to support Getty’s village president campaign in Lyons. Getty was elected in 2009.

According to its latest quarterly report, Citizens for Christopher Getty has a fund balance of $99,055.47. Since 2010, Citizens for Getty has given Friends of Jeffrey Tobolski $2,400 in eight separate donations. The last, for $350, was in September 2016. Getty is also the chairman and treasurer of the United Citizens Party, a committee founded in 2004.

Since 2009, United Citizens Party, has given Friends of Jeffrey Tobolski nine separate contributions totaling $3,050. The most recent contribution, in March 2016, was for $1,000. According to its latest quarterly report, United Citizens Party has $101,554.56 as a fund balance.

Meanwhile, Citizens for Accountability, created in January 2015 and registered to a Michigan Avenue Loop address, gave $1,000 to Proviso First on Feb. 26. The committee’s purpose is listed as “Advocacy efforts around issues that help the citizens of Illinois.” Paul Rauner of St. Louis, Missouri is the committee’s chairperson.

On March 8, Citizens for Accountability reported a $22,200 contribution from Azavar Audit Solutions, a Loop-based municipal auditor with clients across Chicagoland, including Westchester. Since 2015, Azavar and another company, called Azavar Technologies, have given Citizens for Accountability $53,800 in contributions. Since 2015, Azavar has also given People for Emanuel “Chris” Welch $3,500 and $500 to Citizens to Elect Ronald M. Serpico Sr. Inc. Serpico is the longtime mayor of Melrose Park.

Also on March 8, Citizens for Accountability reported a $1,000 contribution from Del Galdo Law Group LLC. In 2013, Del Galdo Law Group gave Your Choice for Proviso a $9,387.83 in-kind mailing contribution. Del Galdo was D209’s counsel from 2007 to 2015. Your Choice For Proviso was created in March 2013 to support the candidacy of Teresa McKelvy in her 2013 D209 election campaign. Dan Adams, the D209 board’s current vice president, chaired that committee.

In September 2016, Citizens for Accountability gave $500 to People for Emanuel “Chris” Welch. That same month, Citizens for Accountability gave Friends of Jeffrey Tobolski $1,000. A month earlier, they gave United Citizens Party $1,000. According to its latest quarterly report, Citizens for Accountability has a fund balance of $2,361.21.

CashAmerica, a Texas-based pawn shop chain, gave Citizens for Accountability $2,000 in October 2016. In the past, CashAmerica has also contributed to a committee backing Ronald Serpico Sr. CashAmerica gave Citizens to Elect Ronald M. Serpico Sr. Inc. $250 in 2013. In November 2016, Citizens to Elect Ronald M. Serpico gave People for Emanuel Chris Welch $2,500.

Tuwanna Stewart, a JP Morgan Chase loan officer with a Glendale Heights address, gave Proviso First $5,000 on Feb. 24. Stewart’s donation is the only contribution given by her, according to Illinois State Board of Election records.

Wendy Smith, a Chicago resident and Chicago Police Department patrol officer, gave Proviso First $4,250 on Feb. 24. Smith’s donation is the only contribution given by her, according to Illinois State Board of Election records. City of Chicago records list Smith’s annual salary at $90,618.

Proviso Together, on the other hand, has received two A-1 donations totaling $2,000.

Linda Offenbecher of Westchester, an occupational therapist, gave $1,000 on Feb 13. David Grant of Kankakee gave $1,000 on Feb. 21. VFP

P A I D  A D V E R T I S E M E N T 

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Upcoming Forums in Maywood Will Bring Voters Face-to-Face with Candidates


Thursday, March 9, 2017 || By Community Editor || @maywoodnews || Updated: 3/10/17

A slew of forums in the coming days and weeks ahead of the April 4 elections will allow Maywood voters to connect with candidates running for various governing bodies in the village and Township.

Interfaith Illinois Inc. will host a forum on Saturday, March 11, 8:30 a.m., at Proviso Baptist Church, 1116 S. 5th Ave. in Maywood. The religious organization is chaired by former Proviso Baptist pastor and PLCCA founder Bishop Dr. Claude Porter.

For more information on this event, call (708) 397-6944.

The Neighbors of Maywood Community Organization, Maywood Chamber of Commerce, the Maywood-Proviso Rotary Club and Maywood Toastmasters will host will host forums on Saturday, March 18 and Sunday, March 19.

Both events will be held at the Quinn Community Center, 1832 S. 9th Ave. in Maywood, from 3 p.m. until 6:30 p.m.

The schedule for both days follows:

Saturday, March 18

  • 5:15  | School District 209
  • 4:20 | School District 89
  • 3:50 p.m. | Maywood Park District
  • 3 p.m. | Maywood Park District

Sunday, March 19

  • 3 p.m. | Maywood Village Clerk
  • 3:50 p.m. | Maywood Village President/Mayor
  • 4:45 | Maywood Village Trustees

Volunteers are needed from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m. on both days. If anyone would like to volunteer, please contact Vicki Haas, forum committee chair: victoriahaas@cs.com or (708) 289-7105.


The Village Free Press and Wednesday Journal will co-host a forum featuring District 209 school board candidates. The event is tentatively scheduled for either March 21 or March 22 and is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. A definitive date and a location will be determined shortly.

The Village Free Press will host a forum for candidates running for Maywood mayor, trustee, clerk, library board, and park district board seats on Saturday, April 1, 11 a.m., at the Maywood Public Library, 121 S. 5th Ave. in Maywood. An agenda for this event will be finalized and released soon.

If you know of any candidate forums, or similar informational events regarding the upcoming April 4 election (whether in Maywood or surrounding suburbs: Bellwood, Broadview, Melrose Park and Stone Park), please email us at thevillagefreepress@gmail.com. The events must not be sponsored by any political committees or parties with candidates running in races. 

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Maywood’s Political Landscape Has Changed Since 2013, State Records Show

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Thursday, March 9, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

The latest available State Board of Election campaign filings made by political committees comprising candidates running primarily for mayor, trustee and clerk seats in Maywood show an evolving political landscape in the village.

The documents show that four political committees represent the four mayoral candidates, three clerk candidates and 10 trustee candidates in this year’s race. No candidates for board seats whose names will appear on the April 4 ballot are unaffiliated with any committee.

Three of the four committees that have filed state election paperwork ahead of this most recent election are no older than a year old.

The last mayoral election in 2013 featured two political committees, the Maywood United Party — the village’s oldest active committee — and the All in for Maywood Party. Among the five mayoral candidates in that race, three were independents, including current mayor Edwenna Perkins.

Four years ago, the All in for Maywood Party captured one seat, with its candidate for clerk, Viola Mims, upsetting former trustee Audrey Jaycox of Maywood United. The Maywood United Party took all three open trustee seats in that race, with Michael Rogers, Melvin Lightford Sr. and Antonette Dorris winning their respective bids for the board.

The All in for Maywood Party last filed a state elections report in 2014, the same year that Mims resigned her position as treasurer of the committee, which has not been active in village politics since that 2013 election.

This election cycle, the Maywood United Party, which was established in 2004, is still a presence; albeit one that has changed shape. The party’s mayoral candidate, Henderson Yarbrough, who narrowly lost his bid for a third term in 2013 to Perkins, is now a sitting trustee seeking to unseat Perkins.

Dorris, who ran as a trustee on the Maywood United Party ticket, now heads her own — the Maywood Visionary Party — as that committee’s mayoral candidate and treasurer. Bellwood resident Charlie Miller is the chairman.

Trustee Lightford, who also ran on the Maywood United Party ticket four years ago, is running for another term on the board with the Maywood Visionary Party.

Perkins, who ran as an independent four years ago, is still technically an independent. The political action committee she supports, called People’s Choice, comprises candidates who are all considered non-partisan.

Trustee Isiah Brandon, who ran as a write-in candidate in 2013 after he had intended to run on the All in for Maywood ticket, is listed as chairman of People’s Choice. The committee, created in February, is the newest of the three parties formed less than a year ago. It had a starting balance of around $1,000 when it was formed.

Since it was created this year, it isn’t required to file a quarterly report disclosing its campaign expenditures until April 1. And so far, it has not reported contributions over  $1,000.

Mary “May” Larry, who garnered around 5 percent of the vote as an independent candidate for mayor in 2013, now heads up the My Maywood Party ticket and is listed as the committee’s chairman on state records. Sitting Village Clerk Viola Mims is listed as the committee’s treasurer.

The My Maywood slate also features trustee candidate Marcius Scaggs, who was appointed by Yarbrough to a trustee seat during the former mayor’s tenure and who came in fourth place as an All in for Maywood trustee candidate in 2013.

My Maywood had no funds available at the date of its creation last year, but its latest D-2 report, for the period between Oct. 1, 2016 and Dec. 31, 2016, showed a cash balance of around $1,000. The report also showed individual contributions ranging between $200 and $400 made by party members.

The Maywood Visionary Party, which formed last October, showed no funds available at the time of its creation.So far, the party has not reported contributions over  $1,000.

Yarbrough, Readith Ester, a candidate for clerk, and Audrey Jaycox, who is running for trustee, are the candidates running under the Maywood United Party banner who aren’t new to the ticket. Trustee Michael Rogers, who ran successfully with the party in 2013, will not seek reelection.

Since January, Maywood United has reported at least $14,000 in total donations of at least $1,000 each. Its latest D-2 report, for the period between Oct. 1, 2016 and Dec. 31, 2016, showed a cash balance of around $1,700.

Below are the most recent documents and campaign filings associated with each political committee that came up during a March 9 search on the Illinois State Board of Elections website (click here).


People’s Choice

My Maywood Party 

Maywood Visionary Party 

Maywood United Party 

Maywood United Party_Five contributions

Maywood United Party_Antonio Sanchez

Maywood United Party_Awin Management

Maywood United Party_Michael Rogers