Two former Oswego candidates charged with destroying election forms
Two former Oswego political candidates face felony charges in connection with the mutilation of election materials, according to radio station WSPY.
Martin Flowers, 43, a Montgomery resident and former candidate for Oswego Township road commissioner, and Herman Johnson, 77, an Oswego resident who was a candidate for Oswego Township trustee, were arrested following an Oswego Police Department (OPD) investigation into allegedly forged petitions before the April elections.
A third man, Kenneth Musich, 66, of Montgomery, was charged with disregarding the election code, a misdemeanor.
After receiving a complaint about allegedly forged petitions, OPD began an investigation in January. Flowers and Johnson withdrew from their races eight days after the complaint was filed.
OPD said both former candidates' petitions contained “falsified signatures,” as did Flowers' petitions in 2015 for a Oswego Library District board seat. Flowers, a former Kendall County Democratic Party chair, won that election.
The three men were charged and released from Kendall County Jail. Bonds were set at $10,000 apiece for Flowers and Johnson and $2,000 for Musich.
The OPD investigation lasted about six months, WSPY reported.
Kendall County State's Attorney Eric Weis told the Chicago Tribune that each candidate's packet had the same allegedly false names. Weis said each packet had at least a page of allegedly falsified names, with some of the signatures appearing to have been written by the same person. The police did not disclose how many allegedly falsified names the petitions contained with the pending court proceedings, the Tribune reported.
John Sackman is the attorney for the three defendants.
The penalties for mutilation of election materials, a Class 4 felony, include being “ineligible for public employment for a period of five years immediately following the completion of his or her sentence.” In Illinois, a Class 4 felony carries a term of imprisonment of one to three years.
The Tribune said Musich is accused of falsely claiming to be Flowers' petition circulator when Flowers was running for road commissioner. Disregard of the election code, a Class A misdemeanor, involves “any person who knowingly … does any act prohibited by or declared unlawful by, or ... fails to do any act required by this code.”
The maximum penalties for a Class A misdemeanor are one year of prison and a $2,500 fine.
In March, 61-year-old Rafath Waheed of Lisle was charged in DuPage County after allegedly turning in forged petitions for a seat on the College of DuPage board of trustees.
Waheed was charged with two felony counts of issuing a forged document and two felony counts of perjury. She allegedly made photocopies of signatures from other petitions, notarized the petitions as authentic and filed them.
She posted $1,000 bond and was released.
According to the Edgar County Watchdogs, as with the Oswego case, it was an objection that led to the uncovering of her alleged scheme.
“The bedrock of our entire system of government is free and fair elections,” DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said, according to the ECW. “It is alleged that Mrs. Waheed, in an effort to win a seat on the COD board of trustees, attempted to circumvent one of the basic requirements for candidacy – filing petitions with the correct number of authentic signatures. I would like to thank investigator Jim Duffy as well as Assistant State’s Attorney Diane Michalak for their work on this case.”