Council candidate vows to fight to remain on the April ballot
By Bob okon firstname.lastname@example.org January 8, 2013 8:50PM
Updated: February 10, 2013 5:54PM
JOLIET — City council candidate John Gnutek said he plans to fight an attempt to throw him off the April 9 ballot even though he’s pessimistic about his chances.
Gnutek, a special agent for the Illinois Gaming Board, knows a bit about law — having made a stir in 2006 when he alleged in a federal lawsuit that Republican power broker William Cellini, now in prison, was wielding influence over hiring and firing of gaming police in Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s administration.
Gnutek said he spent up to $100,000 on his federal case and will fight the election challenge in Joliet on his own.
“I can’t even afford an attorney,” he said after a city electoral board hearing Tuesday.
Gnutek and candidate David Piekosz face an objection to their candidacy petitions. The electoral board will meet again at 11 a.m. Jan. 16 to consider the objections to their petitions.
Three city council seats are up for election. The current field of six candidates would be reduced to four if Gnutek and Piekosz are tossed off the ballot.
Council members Don Fisher, Jan Quillman and Michael Turk are seeking re-election. The other candidate is Troy Township Clerk Jim McFarland.
The challenge to Gnutek’s candidacy questions 141 of the 215 signatures on his petitions. If it succeeds, it could leave him with less than half the number of required signatures.
Attorney Brian Kopman, representing the objector, said the big problem with the petitions for Gnutek and Piekosz is that too many people who signed were not registered voters. Candidates were required to get the signatures of at least 157 registered voters.
“Both candidates submitted petitions that have in excess of the required number of signatures,” Kopman said. “But when you look at them, a lot of them are not registered voters.
Kopman represents objector Joseph Fischer of Timber Ridge Court, who was not at the hearing. Piekosz also was not at the hearing.