Nance candidacy challenge hearing continues after he asks mayor to testify
By Mike Danahey firstname.lastname@example.org December 7, 2012 1:54PM
Elgin Municapal Officers Electoral Board meets on objections to the candidacy of Anthony Nance who they say is ineligible since he owes the city more than $8,000 in past due bills. December 7, 2012 | Michael Smart~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 10, 2013 6:28AM
ELGIN — A hearing challenging the city council candidacy of former downtown nightspot owner Anthony Nance was continued until Tuesday after he requested that Mayor Dave Kaptain testify in the case.
Nance, who once operated a restaurant and jazz club called Anthony’s at 213 Douglas Ave. was set to subpoena Kaptain, but the mayor on Friday agreed to voluntarily testify when the hearing resumes at noon Tuesday.
The city’s electoral board consists of Kaptain, City Clerk Kim Dewis and the senior council member not running for office in the upcoming cycle — John Steffen. After agreeing to Nance’s request to testify, Kaptain recused himself from the panel. He will be replaced by either council member Tish Powell or Anna Moeller, both of whom are not up for reelection in 2013.
Nance’s right to run has been challenged by former Mayor Ed Schock and resident Nikki Scott, with both claiming Nance is ineligible because he owes the city about $8,400 in overdue bills, plus interest. When asked by The Courier-News after the Friday session if he did owe the money, Nance said, “I won’t be talking to you today.”
The Elgin Liquor Control Commission voted unanimously to revoke Anthony’s license in December 2004, citing fights, shootings and other unlawful activity that had occurred in and around the club.
Nance and his wife sued the city in 2006 and eventually lost in a jury trial in the autumn of 2010. The suit contended that the city’s decision to strip them of their liquor license constituted racial discrimination. Nance is black.
The original lawsuit named Schock, who in his role as mayor at the time also chaired the liquor control commission; former Police Chief William Miller; and then-City Attorney Rick Kozal, who is now assistant city manager. It did not name the other liquor commissioners, who also serve as city council members. They were former Councilman John Walters and current council member Robert Gilliam.
Both Schock and Scott in their objections alleged that Nance, by law, cannot run since he is in arrears to Elgin for almost $8,400, plus any interest that might be due, stemming from losing the lawsuit.
According to documents filed with Schock’s objection, $382.91 of what’s alleged to be owed appears to be for the cost of printing documents related to the case. Another $8,009.01 is for 18 depositions — nine taken by the plaintiffs and nine taken by the defendants.
Among the plaintiffs’ depositions are those from Schock, Gilliam, Walters, Miller, then-city Manager Femi Folarin, and Kozal.
On Friday, Schock said he objected to Nance’s candidacy because “I think people should have to meet the requirements.”
Schock claimed he spent a week in federal court because of the lawsuit. That lawsuit cost the city about $500,000 in expenses related to the case, $250,000 of which were covered by insurance. A provision allows the city to collect recoverable expenses from the suit, he said.
When he heard Nance was running, Schock said he felt it was doubtful Nance had paid the city, so he filed a Freedom of Information Request Act request, which provided him documents leading him to believe Nance still owed the money in question.
“There is no evidence he paid it. This rubbed me the wrong way,” Schock said.