In response to a recent article that raised questions about my candidacy for Belleville alderman, it’s not that there are any remaining questions. Some folks just keep hoping for different answers. My detractors are not right; they’re just louder. And the time allotted to legally voice any objections has long been over.
In early January I submitted to two public hearings regarding my residency, which were designed to strip me of my constitutional right to run for public office.
During the hearings a point was made of how many times my mother was married, who my father was and whether I reside with my brother or my brother-in-law. The deed to our house was pulled. Our utility bills were scrutinized. Under the auspice of a FOIA request for our trash bill (expedited just hours before the hearing) the city treasurer, in conjunction with the city clerk, released my brother’s and my mother’s confidential bank account information to the public, including a canceled check. Great latitude was extended to the petitioners by the assistant city attorney. The city treasurer was even allowed to leave the proceedings to obtain more documentation on behalf of the petitioners.
Most recently all of the court filings regarding my mother’s estate were pulled, the most sensitive of which were admitted by the city clerk into the minutes of the City Council meeting on March 16.
Never miss a local story.
For the record, my mother was widowed in 1966 then married my father in 1970. My father was Joseph McHugh, not Frank. My brother, with whom I reside, is in fact, my brother, not my brother-in-law. He and I don’t deliberate too much over which of us will pay the trash bill. (We do have fierce debates over whose turn it is to do the dishes.)
As the transcripts of the hearings show, I submitted as proof of residency: the final escrow statement on my previous home, which showed my last date of occupancy, a letter containing a check from the Federal Trade Commission and a stack of medical bills associated with an operation I had in December 2012 – all mailed to my Belleville residence. No “junk mail” was ever offered.
At no time did the petitioners ever allege that I resided at any other address.
The decision of the electoral board was unanimous in both hearings. Even if any one of the judges had recused himself, and assuming his replacement would have been of a different mindset, the decision still would have been 2-1, affirming my residency as of March 2013.
If you’re asking yourself what any of this has to do with my residency, consider the source. To my knowledge, Shiloh resident Rick Brown is the only person my mother ever publicly admonished – for reneging on a civility pledge he signed.
Yes, many years ago, there were some judgments against me associated with a protracted divorce. And yes, as part of a dispute with a former business partner and subsequent business dissolution, there were allegations of criminal wrongdoing on both his part as well as mine. My name was cleared in the most cost-effective and expeditious manner possible, with malice toward none.
I still believe in the inherent good in all people. I’m only left thinking, are there no depths to which some will not sink?