How to Question a Candidate’s Residency

Gus Philpott

Kieth Nygren

A little while ago, Green Party Sheriff’s candidate Gus Philpott sent out the press release at the bottom of this article.

It questioned Sheriff Keith Nygren’s eligibility to be on the ballot.

I knew that such a challenge was too late, so I didn’t run his release.

The time to challenge is right after the filing of petitions, as was made evident in the challenge to Independent judicial candidate Sally Wiggins’ petitions this summer by Sharon Maroni.

But now advice as to how to challenge a candidate’s residency has come from an Illinois State Board of Elections attorney, Ken Menzel.

Addressed to Philpott and McHenry County Clerk Katherine Schultz, it appears below:

RE: Nygren ineligibility due to Florida residency
Ms. Schultz and Mr. Philipot

I would note a few comments about the avenues provided under Illinois law to deal with issues regarding allegations of disqualification on the part of office holders, and the diffusion of authority among the levels of government in Illinois.

The State Board of Elections does not have any authority over ballot access as to officers at the county or local level.  The SBE’s authority as to candidate ballot access is limited to federal, state, judicial and certain multicounty offices.

Ballot access as to county offices is dealt with at the county level (and review of county decisions goes to the court system).  The state has an interest in officers holding the requisite qualifications for their respective offices, but the SBE is not the agency through which such interests are enforced regarding county offices.

Further, ballot access matters involve a balance of several public interests.

The propriety of a candidate’s appearance on the ballot is balanced with the need for finality (so as to permit a ballot to be printed at all) and the rights of the voters to have their ballots available in a timely fashion.

At a certain point, the makeup of the ballot lineup is (and must be) fixed.  We have essentially past that point in the election process for the November 2010 election.

In the event that an allegedly unqualified candidate does win an election, the appropriate avenue to testing the candidate’s qualifications is through a “quo warranto” proceeding (see Article XVIII of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure).

A person asserting that an officer is not qualified to hold office may inform the appropriate State’s Attorney and the Attorney General, which offices have the option to pursue the quo warranto action.

If those offices decline to do so, the person may seek leave of court to undertake such action on behalf of the public’s interest.

While I have some passing knowledge of the allegations in this instance, I don’t know enough to opine as to whether such an action offers a likelihood of success, nor would it be appropriate for me to so opine in any event.

If you have any further questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Ken Menzel
Legal Counsel
Illinois State Board of Elections
100 W. Randolph Street, Suite 14-100
Chicago, Illinois 60601

Here’s is Philpott’s press release from a couple of weeks ago:

Photo found on the Lee County assessor's web site.

Green Party candidate for Sheriff of McHenry County, Gus Philpott, has filed a complaint with McHenry County Clerk Katherine C. Schultz, asking her to remove Keith Nygren’s name from the November 2, 2010 General Election ballot in the race for Sheriff of McHenry County.

Nygren and his wife purchased a home in Cape Coral, Florida in September 2006. Although they declared it to be a “second home” in mortgage papers at Home State Bank (Crystal Lake, Ill.), Mrs. Nygren obtained a Florida driver’s license in 2006 and applied for the Florida Homestead Exemption on the Cape Coral home.

A requirement was that they give up the Illinois Homestead Exemption on their Hebron property. They “forgot” to do this until it came to light earlier in 2010 that they were claiming homestead exemptions in two states. The McHenry County Assessor quickly sent a letter to Florida officials that the homestead exemption was being removed from the Hebron property.

Nygren has claimed that only his wife is a Florida resident, but that he is not. How creative! The dollar amount of the Florida homestead exemption is substantially larger than the Illinois exemption, but the few dollars saved in real estate taxes should cost Nygren his eligibility to run for re-election.

Because the facts are already well-established and documented in McHenry County government records, he could be ruled ineligible in a matter of hours.


How to Question a Candidate’s Residency — 9 Comments

  1. Cal, this is just silly and you know it. A person can waive a tax credit, deduction, or exemption and it doesn’t mean anything except that person is waiving that tax credit, deduction or exemption. If a person doesn’t take his minor child dependent’s deduction does that mean he doesn’t have any children? No. Domicile and residency is more than a tax empetion. Where does person live, vote, pay income taxes, receive mail, have a driver’s license? Gus makes baseless and scurrilous accusations on a tax exemption technicality. Silly, silly, silly!

  2. Earth father you did miss the point of the story.The point is that Philpott is a moron and his real name is CRACKPOTT…….

  3. EF, you are correct in some ways. Here is the bottom line on this deal.

    Mrs. Nygren, in perfectly legal fashion, declared herself a Florida Resident. Documents prove this fact. No problems there for either she or Mr. Nygren.

    (However, BOTH Nygrens violated the 2nd home mortgage rider on their Home State Bank, Federal Mortgage Documents as they PROMISED to NOT claim the Florida home as “Homestead” by EITHER party.

    Just ten weeks after signing this promise not to claim Florida as Perm. Place of Residency, Marge in fact violates the terms of the Federal Mortgage Document Ryder.)

    Here is where the problems come into play for BOTH Nygrens.

    Per Florida Statute regarding Homesteading, yes, ONE party to the marriage may in fact claim Florida as “Homestead.”

    BUT, in doing so, the Other party to the marriage (keith Nygren) who was NOT going to claim “Homestead” in Florida, must, along with the party who IS claiming the Homestead Tax benefits of the Great State Of Florida, (Marge Nygren) must sign a document that stipulates that “NEITHER” party to the marriage, “WILL TAKE ANY HOMESTEAD TAX CREDITS IN ‘ANY OTHER STATE.”

    Further, at the very moment Marge Nygren became a Florida, Resident in November, of 2006, BOTH Marge and Keith had a legal obligation to immediately inform the McHenry County offices of Donna Mayberry, that their Hebron home is no longer “Entitled” to “ANY” further Homestead exemption.

    Neither Marge nor Keith took this legal step.. and therefore, were KNOWINGLY, violating FLORIDA LAWS, for over 2 years.

    For 2 full years, Keith and or Marge, walked out to their mailbox, took out the envelope from the McHenry County Tax office of Donna Mayberry, opened the envelope, wrote out a check for what THEY THEN KNEW, was a lowered tax payment than what they were legally entitled to!

    “They knew, and they took the prohibited (per their Florida Homestead Agreement) it anyway!!” (When Nygrens got called out on this, Donna Mayberry comes up with this silly “Note” of excuse for Keith and Marge.)

    Very soon AFTER Donna Mayberry gave into Nygren and provided the bogus letter of excuse, a “Retirement” party was held for Donna Mayberry.

    “Trust?” “Integrity”…………………. You be the judge.

    This being said, will Keith Nygren offer up his FEDERAL tax return for public view… so we can see which state “HE” claims for his FEDERAL Income Tax Returns?

    If Keith Nygren claims FLORIDA on his Federal Income Tax return, then Keith Nygren has a serious problem in several venues. One of which would in fact be whether or not he is a resident and legal office holder in McHenry County Illinois.

    Show us your “Trump Card” Keith….. Are you or aren’t you showing Illinois as your home on your Federal Tax return? If you are, you’re all good and home free.

    Well Keith.. here is your chance to put this issue to bed.

    If Keith Nygren is showing his Cape Coral, Florida address on his Federal Income Tax Return, and he has signed it… THEN KEITH NYGREN IS NOT ELIGABLE TO RUN FOR SHERIFF OF MCHENRY COUNTY ILLINOIS.

    THIS MUST be brought to light NOW!

  4. No, Cal, I do not miss the point. You continue to take cheap shots at Sheriff Nygen by posting this garbage. Why did you rush to post Mahon’s Chicago Tribune endorsment? But, you have not mentioned Sheriff Nygren’s NW Herald endorsment. Similarly, you post an article about Philpot’s response from the Board of Elections, but nothing about Nygren’s endorsement. You post an article about last nite’s debate, but nothing about Nygren’s endorsement. No, Cal, I did not miss the point of the Philpot story.

  5. EF: You are always such an unhappy chap on Cal’s blog. Why do you even post here? You rock, Cal.

  6. ef -Endorsement from a paper you have in your pocket does not count.
    You are really getting unglued!!

  7. EF… Take a look around you…. The NW Herald has ZERO credibility! Nobody cares what it thinks or prints. A NW Herald endorsement holds no weight!

    This is why nobody is talking or writing about it you fool!

    PS. Still waiting on the tax return Keith?

  8. there is a reason many move their primary residence to Florida.

    Such infamous home owners include O. J. Simpson.

    Florida law exempts a primary residence from being seized as an asset in litigation or criminal proceedings.

    It is why Mrs. Bernie Madoff lives there now and not in Manhattan.

    For some, this act would be called preplanning.

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