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Nance removed from Elgin City Council ballot

ElgMunicapal Officers Electoral Board meets objections candidacy Anthony Nance who they say is ineligible since he owes city more than

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

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Updated: January 13, 2013 6:17AM

ELGIN — Barring a court appeal, Anthony Nance’s name won’t appear on the April 9 ballot among candidates seeking a four-year term on the Elgin City Council.

The city’s electoral board — city clerk Kim Dewis and council members John Steffen and Anna Moeller — came to that decision Tuesday after concluding a hearing in which Nance alleged that Mayor David Kaptain had told him by phone and in person that the city would waive a $8,400 in bills and any interest Nance owes the city.

Nance’s right to run had been challenged by former Mayor Ed Schock and resident Nikki Scott, with both claiming Nance can’t legally run because he owes the money stemming from an unsuccessful lawsuit he filed against the city.

Nance and his wife once operated a downtown restaurant and jazz club called Anthony’s at 213 Douglas Ave. 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.

The couple 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.

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.

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, from the lawsuit.

According to documents filed with Schock’s objection, $382.91 of what’s said to be owed are 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.

Nance called Kaptain as a witness Wednesday.

Kaptain said he had told Nance more than a year ago that the city would be willing to work with him about paying off his debt and to contact corporate counsel William Cogley about the matter.

While the testimony was stricken from the record, Elgin CFO Colleen Lavery did say the city had not sent any bill to Nance for owing the money. However, when asked by Moeller if the federal court had provided him documents to that effect, Nance said it had.

Further, Moeller asked city attorney Michael Gehrman if waiving such debts was within the mayor’s authority. Gehrman said it was not.

While not recalling the specific time and date of the conversation with Kaptain, Nance said that after that talk — and since he had not heard from the city — he assumed the debt had been waived.

Nance, who represented himself, objected to Lavery testifying because he had not been told in advance she would be doing so.

Nance also had asked the case to be dismissed because he was not served official notification of the scheduled Friday hearing until after 6 p.m. Thursday. He said that did not give him time to prepare or get legal representation.

But the electoral board ruled that while the document may not have been served in a timely matter, its arrival did follow the rule of law. And, citing case law, Nance’s appearance Friday “waived any such jurisdictional infirmities.”

Friday morning, during a behind closed doors case management session Nance called Kaptain to testify in the matter.

The city’s electoral board first consisted of Kaptain, Dewis and the senior council member not running for office in the upcoming cycle — Steffen. Since he agreed to Nance’s request to testify, Kaptain recused himself from the panel. He was replaced Moeller, who along with council member Tish Powell is not up for re-election in 2013. Moeller said Tuesday she lost a coin toss with Powell and thus took the spot.

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