Nameoki Township Highway Commissioner Donald Moore said he expected his misdemeanor criminal past to come back to haunt him during his campaign to get re-elected April 4 to the $30,000-a-year job he has held for four years.
But when shown a court record that is part of a package of photocopied documents being circulated by Moore’s opponent Charles Luehmann and his supporters, Moore admitted it was disturbing.
“I don’t remember saying anything like this,” said the 59-year-old Moore as he read a page from a 1995 emergency order of protection filed in Madison County Court on a complaint by his wife, Melanie Moore, 61. It stated that he, “... threatened to kill petitioner and to disfigure her by cutting off her breasts.”
Luehmann is a former Pontoon Beach police chief and member of the township trustee board, whose term expires in April. He was a cop for 27 years.
As Moore read the order, his wife sat beside him Thursday at the highway department garage on Illinois 162. She, too, said she could not remember a specific threat about disfigurement or making a claim as stated in the court document that her husband was “unstable.”
Melanie Moore did recall a 2007 order of protection where she wrote that her husband, “... began yelling threats that he was going to kill me.” None of the orders of protection were extended beyond a short emergency period for which they were issued.
Donald Moore was charged four times in Madison County with misdemeanor domestic battery, pleaded guilty twice and was fined. He said he wasn’t guilty but twice admitted guilt, “Just to get it over with.” The two remaining charges were dismissed.
Picking up trash, that’s part of the job. I saved his job. They want to come in and collect a paycheck and do nothing. I feel like they let me down and the township down. I don’t feel like they’re working for the people of Nameoki Township.
Don Moore, Nameoki Township Highway Commissioner
The Moores said their marital problems are behind them and that they work well together. Donald Moore created a secretarial job for his wife when he was elected with her pay set at $30,000, about what he makes as head of the road department.
“I have very little respect for men that abuse women. I think it will be up to the voters to decide if this affects their decision to vote for Mr. Moore,” Luehmann said regarding the domestic battery convictions and the orders of protection. “I have recently seen these documents myself and they are very disturbing.”
There are other issues that have caused controversy in the relatively small township highway department. Luehmann cites “nepotism” because of the job Donald Moore got for his wife and worries about legal liability stemming from what he and a township highway department mechanic described as a possible free speech violation.
The mechanic, Ron Farrington, said he placed a pro-Luehmann political sign on his front lawn and a few days later found himself assigned to pick up trash along a lonely section of township roadway.
“He does that to people for punishment. Without a doubt,” Farrington said, referring to his boss, Donald Moore. “I was told I’ll be picking up trash until election day.”
Donald Moore, however, said all that he intended when he set up the trash route was to prevent a layoff in his department.
“Picking up trash, that’s part of the job,” Donald Moore said, “I saved his job. They want to come in and collect a paycheck and do nothing. I feel like they let me down and the township down. I don’t feel like they’re working for the people of Nameoki Township.”
Luehmann saw the trash assignment differently.
“I believe that Mr. Moore’s actions could be a liability issue for the township. If what I hear is true, punishing someone for their political support is a violation of their constitutional rights.”
Meanwhile, township officials on Friday received a letter from the union that represents road department workers concerning a failure to file health insurance papers that resulted in the workers going without coverage. According to a copy obtained by the BND, the letter from the Teamsters & Employers Trust of Illinois warned that if a required report for January was received by Thursday, insurance would be reinstated through March 31, otherwise it would remain expired. And if a February report due March 15 was received, then coverage would be continued through April, the letter said.
Luehmann said it was Melanie Moore’s failure to file proper paperwork that caused the insurance gap as well as a temporary hold up in paychecks last week.
“It is nepotism, and I think it’s wrong. Mr. Moore created this position for his wife. The position did not exist until he was elected four years ago. ... I view this as the worst kind of nepotism when an elected official hires their wife. People are tired of this type of wasteful spending,” Luehmann said. He has promised not to hire his wife if he is elected road commissioner.
Donald Moore said his wife is not to blame for the paperwork glitch that he believes is due to “front office” employees refusing to work with Melanie Moore. His wife agreed.
“They planned out a political attack,” Donald Moore said of Luehmann and his supporters. “They’ve been pulling this stuff for the last six months.”
It is nepotism, and I think it’s wrong. Mr. Moore created this position for his wife. The position did not exist until he was elected four years ago. ... I view this as the worst kind of nepotism when an elected official hires their wife. People are tired of this type of wasteful spending.
Charles Luehmann, road commissioner candidate
Donald Moore said the township board is against him because he refused to go along with spending $25,000 of state motor fuel taxes on an access road project in nearby Granite City. “There is no way I was going to go along with that.”
Township Supervisor Randall Viessman said he supports Luehmann for road commissioner because, “Of the way Mr. Moore has handled business in the road department.” Viessman, who said the cancellation of the health insurance was of particular concern, said he believes the remaining three trustees also support Luehmann.
Other members of the township board could not be reached for comment.
The Moores said their marital problems have been resolved for years and may have occurred in the past because of tension when Melanie Moore’s two sons from another marriage were serving in Iraq, where the oldest was wounded by a rocket propelled grenade.
“I just wanted to be alone at the time. It was very trying for me,” she said.
Donald Moore said his main accomplishments during his four years were getting storm drains cleared out to prevent flooding and filling potholes and patching surfaces on township roads. He said he won election by just 11 votes out of 1,043 total cast four years ago.
Luehmann claimed that Moore “waited until six months before an election to start working on road and drainage projects.” He promised to be “fiscally responsible to the taxpayers.”