Editorials

Other political sins punished by pair’s sloppy campaign cash reporting

Where does Washington Park Mayor Rickie Thomas live? He owns this $221,659 house at 1180 Cromwell Lane in Shiloh and took the owner-occupied property tax exemption on it in 2014 while Washington Park village clerk. Two cars registered to his wife and one to him were parked outside. He also owns this $5,950 house at 1231 N. 48th St. in Washington Park. He said he lives there.
Where does Washington Park Mayor Rickie Thomas live? He owns this $221,659 house at 1180 Cromwell Lane in Shiloh and took the owner-occupied property tax exemption on it in 2014 while Washington Park village clerk. Two cars registered to his wife and one to him were parked outside. He also owns this $5,950 house at 1231 N. 48th St. in Washington Park. He said he lives there. bweisenstein@bnd.com

Illinois election law is often a convoluted mess, but the aspect that forces candidates to disclose their campaign finances, and thus their conflicts of interest and to whom they are beholden, empowers voters in a state with too few restrictions on the ability to gather power. Twice recently those disclosures delivered a little justice — on the side.

Washington Park Mayor Rickie Thomas claims to live in a $6,000 house in the village, not in the $221,000 Shiloh house where he claimed a homeowner’s property tax exemption in 2014 while village clerk and where his wife and family park their cars. You cannot legally live one place for taxes and another for elected office, but he’s not faced any back tax bills or prosecution.

So sympathy runs thin when he gets nailed by the state election board for failing to file his campaign disclosures on time, he pays the $23,000 fine but pays it too late to get on the ballot for precinct committeeman.

The second disclosure snafu was by East St. Louis Township Supervisor Alvin Parks, who hasn’t bothered to file campaign disclosures on time since 2011. He racked up $125,000 in fines, hasn’t bothered to pay up and so is ineligible to run for precinct committeeman. He told his fellow politicos that it was his decision ... personal reasons ... he personally doesn’t want to pay the fine?

Parks inherited the township trainwreck from his thieving predecessor, Oliver W. Hamilton, who went on a $230,000 spending spree with taxpayers’ money. Parks is tame by comparison, using the N-word when he couldn’t hire his buddies, threatening to break off an old lady’s finger and handing a felonious political buddy $550 for spreading a little salt on a dusting of snow.

Score 2 for karma.

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