Buffalo Grove Village Board candidate removed from April ballot
Updated: January 8, 2013 9:20PM
BUFFALO GROVE — Though he called the law “Draconian,” Village President Jeff Braiman also said that it offered him no choices.
Village Board candidate Jeff Battinus’ paperwork was deemed out of order, and Braiman ruled that his name had to be held off the April 9 ballot. The decision leaves Buffalo Grove’s Village Board race uncontested for the three incumbents.
Braiman, who convened the Local Electoral Board on Monday night, ruled that because Battinus filed his statement of economic interest days after its deadline, his candidacy was invalid. Braiman told Battinus that the law governing the matter was harsh, inflexible and clear.
“We, as an electoral board, have no discretion,” Braiman said. “We have no right to do otherwise.”
Battinus, currently a member of the village’s Board of Health, had planned to become the fourth candidate for three Village Board seats up for grabs April 9. Those seats’ current occupants — Andy Stein, Les Ottenheimer and Beverly Sussman — have filed the necessary paperwork for re-election.
All of the paperwork was to be filed with the clerk at Village Hall by 5 p.m. Dec. 26. After the deadline, the public is allowed to look through and possibly challenge any candidate’s packets. Trustee Stein did so, and noted that Battinus’ filing lacked the statement of economic interest.
At the hearing Monday, Battinus admitted that he had left it out. He explained that when he turned in the paperwork, he asked if everything was in order, and a clerk mistakenly assured him that it was. Regardless, he took note that the fault began with him.
“This was my error, for which I am accountable,” he said. “I opened myself up to this self-serving objection by Mr. Stein, and for that, I apologize to the (people) of Buffalo Grove.”
In his closing argument, Battinus testified that Stein had warned him on three different occasions last year not to run for office, even telling him to expect a challenge to his filing. Battinus called the forgotten document a technicality, considering that he had no economic interests to disclose.
“The form is blank,” Battinus said.
Because Battinus was the last to speak, Stein could not respond under oath. Stein later told the Countryside that he talked with Battinus only twice, and that he advised Battinus to wait until 2015, when his resume might be stronger.
“I do look at everyone’s papers, when I run,” Stein added. “I not only told him about the instructions and the rules, I even told him about the statement of economic interest. There’s no way I would have told him to withdraw before he even filed.”
Battinus submitted the form to the county and village on Jan. 2. Braiman said Illinois case law dating back to 1994 demanded he strike Battinus from the ballot.
“If the people don’t have a choice, it’s because you failed,” Braiman concluded. “That’s why we have to do what we’re doing.”
Stein was seated on the board in April 2011, when he won election to a two-year term created by the recall of former Trustee Lisa Stone.