McHenry County Courthouse Blizzard Closing Results in CL City Council Challenger Being Taken Off Ballot in Repeat of 2014 Petition Challenge

For a second election cycle, incumbent members of the Crystal Lake City Council eliminated ballot competition.

The result is that Ellen Brady, Cathy Ferguson and Brett Hopkins will have no opposition on the ballot…unless challenger Robert S. Miller wins a court case.

Election law is convoluted.

The inability of Council challenger Robert S. Miller to file his required Statement of Economic Interest at the McHenry County Clerk’s Office because the office was closed as a result of a blizzard proved fatal to his effort to get on the April ballot, according to a panel of other elected Crystal Lake officials.

This 2014 Crystal Lake Electoral Board consisting of Councilman Ralph Dawson, Mayor Aaron Shepley and Clerk Nick Kachiroubas denied Council challenger Jeremy Krick the opportunity to run against incumbents Cathy Ferguson, Ellen Brady and Brett Hopkins.  As a result, the three incumbents got a free ride. to re-election.  Four years later, a similar objection was filed against Council candidate Robert S. Miller’s petition filing by Ferguson, Brady and Hopkins,  An Electoral Board consisting of the same people kicked off him the ballot, in all likelihood giving the same elected officials another four years in office.

Miller’s wife Dianne explains what happened last night:

They won.

There were three issues on the table.

The first issue was the timely filing of Robert’s “Statement of Economic Interests” receipt.

Robert wasn’t able to obtain the receipt from McHenry County on the last day of filing, because of the blizzard.

Their offices were closed.

He was able to obtain it the day after the blizzard and the County Clerk backdated the form to be in compliance.

The County Clerk called the City to advise them of the problem.

The receipt was submitted to the City the morning after the last day of filing.

The attorney for Hopkins, Brady and Ferguson [David McArdle] argued that the law doesn’t allow for things such as bad weather.

Unfortunately the Election Board agreed and voted that Robert should not be allowed on the ballot.

The second issue was the specification of the office sought.

Robert wrote on his papers “City Council”.

The argument was that this wasn’t specific enough because the Mayor was a member of the City Council.

Mayor Shepley agreed with Robert that everyone in Crystal Lake understands the difference between City Council and Mayor and they voted in favor of Robert.

The third and last issue was the Election Date on Robert’s paperwork.

The Election Board found that the incorrect date was only on his Statement of Candidacy, not the signature papers, so voters signing the signature papers could not have been confused.

So the gang of three wins again.

It was noted at the meeting that there were document submission problems with the paperwork filed by the other candidates.

Had Robert known to obtain their paperwork, he would have made challenges and their names might have been removed from the ballot as well.

They are hypocrites.

I spoke at the end of the hearing and chastised them saying they are abusing the process just to keep qualified candidates off the ballot.

That way they don’t have to run a campaign, spend any money or debate the issues that are important to the citizens of Crystal Lake.

My closing line was, “Shame on each and every one of you!”

Robert is reviewing all of his options and will make a decision in the next few days.


McHenry County Courthouse Blizzard Closing Results in CL City Council Challenger Being Taken Off Ballot in Repeat of 2014 Petition Challenge — 17 Comments

  1. Maybe don’t be an incompetent fool and have your paperwork reviewed by a qualified attorney ahead of time instead of submitting right at the wire?!

  2. LESSON:

    (1) Don’t wait until the last day to file your Statement of Economic Interests.

    (2) Get the date of the election right. (although the Statement of Candidacy was held in the Nunda and AL township elections in 2017 not to have to be precise).

    (3) Name the office correctly.

    (4) Pull the paperwork filed by other candidates and have an attorney review them for errors if you don’t know enough about it.

    Get an attorney to review everything BEFORE you file. It’s much cheaper than paying one to do a court challenge.

    Many attorneys who do election cases will look over your paperwork for free, but they will not do a court challenge without charging big bucks.

    These requirements may seem technical, but so are a lot of the issues you will be facing if elected.

    If you can’t get the paperwork right, you may not be right for the job.

  3. Don’t give sleazy politicians any excuse to abuse their power.

    They will take it with open arms.

    Remember WWSPD?

  4. Hey Cal, ever wonder why more people don’t get involved in local elections?

    Even if they win, they have to sit down with the petty whiners that are left.

    It’s comforting to know that they are experienced enough to know how to manipulate the crony system, and the honorary pie judges are safe for the next four Johnny Appleseed Festivals.

    MMmmm…warm apple pie.

  5. But the best part of City Council hobbies, is you can’t be fired from them.

  6. I was absolutely abhorred by Mr. Miller being refused due to a petty excuse.

    It should have been MANDATORY for the office to be open since it was the last day to submit the proper paperwork, ESPECIALLY following a holiday week, when they already had limited hours.

    I had to go to work, regardless of road conditions, and so did a lot of people.

    There is ZERO excuse for this blatant incompetence.

    Every City Council meeting I have been to has left me extremely disgusted with the people who are hogging the seats, only voting in favor of agenda items that favor them and their cronies.

    None of them want what is best for the city and it’s populace, just their own self interests.

    Furthermore, Sheply should have recused and not have been part of the decision making, considering that the attorney representing the opposing council members, was from the same law firm as his wife.

    I agree fully with Mr. Miller’s wife, and applauded when she publicly shamed them.

    I’ve had more than enough of their deceitful ways.

    God forbid they would have to debate the issues regarding the city with a new candidate.

    They are lazy, self centered, and to me, unfit to sit in those seats due to their blatant abuse of power.

    I hope Mr. Miller fights this.

    It’s not his fault that the offices were closed because city workers couldn’t be bothered to show up and do the jobs that we, the taxpayers, pay them to do.

  7. The day of the 1967 blizzard, when there was only one lane on Route 14 at the curve which now goes to McHenry County College, my Treasurer’s Office was open.

    There was very little, if any business.

  8. What Clerk altered record by Backdating a document? The old Clerk or the new Clerk? I would think technically that would be illegal.

  9. I believe there was a bill presented a year or so ago, possibly by Althoff, that would have taken these election boards out of the units of government that are involved.

    There is always cronyism involved or reasonably suspected when sitting Board members, who may themselves be running on a formal or informal slate with others, are asked to pass on the petitions of challengers.

  10. Just another horror tale — McHenry County government is the pits.

  11. So… Miller waited until the last minuted to file paperwork, and then couldn’t because of the weather.

    Miller wrote the wrong date on forms.

    Miller wrote the wrong position he was running for.

    But sure – its the other people’s faults.

  12. “McHenry County has too many self seeking crooks, and I should know! I’m an expert.”

    –Mary McClellan

  13. “Alabama Shake” is obviously a City Councilmen who filed the challenge and afraid of being exposed !

    Last I heard one can file on the date of the deadline !

    It was pretty self explanatory that Mr. Miller is running for City Council or why didn’t the “Mayor” file the challenge instead !

    The Date was wrong ?

    Next these self serving lackeys will be challenging that someone didn’t ” dot the i” and/or “cross the t” !

    If the Mayor loses a election or Council cronies to outsiders who aren’t his school buddies, in my opinion the truth of what been going on at City Hall for the past couple of decades is going to come to light .

    It’s time for this self serving cabal to be held accountable and exposed so the legal system that they intentionally manipulate and abuse can have its full force turned on them !

  14. Hey everyone!

    Robert has decided to appeal the Election Board hearing decision in McHenry County.
    It hasn’t been an easy decision. He wants to be your voice on the Crystal Lake City Council but
    the cost of appealing the decision is HUGE. We aren’t rich people. We live in a small home in
    Crystal Vista and drive vehicles that are over 10 years old.

    The real reason Hopkins, Brady and Ferguson challenged Robert was to eliminate the competition
    and automatically be re-elected to another 4 years on the City Council. No need for them to run a campaign
    or debate the issues. No costs of a campaign either (other than paying their attorney for the hearing).

    The cost of Robert appealing the decision will be between $5000 and $7000.


    We have started a Go Fund Me Campaign.
    The blatant abuse of the electoral process in Crystal Lake MUST STOP!
    If you want a choice on the ballot this spring, please consider making a contribution.

    Click on the link:


  15. Interesting comments regarding past Crystal Lake Elections.

    Something isn’t right in Crystal Lake!

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