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State Board of Elections Rules on Sherman, Library Dispute

Indian Trails Public Library has been ordered to file amended reports pertaining to its 2011 referendum, following complaints raised by Rob Sherman.

A year-and-a-half-long dispute between Buffalo Grove resident Rob Sherman and Indian Trails Public Library may be nearing its end.

Sherman filed a complaint in 2011 alleging that the library misused public funds to promote its referendum. After a series of hearings and revised complaints, the State Board of Elections (SBE) on Monday ordered the library to file amended reports within 30 days disclosing all receipts and expenditures pertaining to .

Specifically, the order said, the library must detail payments to Holy Cow! Consulting and Donna Fletcher Consulting.

"While the library district and its attorneys disagree with those findings and recommendations, we will comply with all of the State Board's directives and hope that by doing so this matter will finally come to a conclusion,” Indian Trails Director David Seleb said in a prepared statement. 

SBE hearing officer Jim Tenuto said the board will review the library’s amended reports and determine whether any fines are warranted.

Although the board ruled in his favor, Sherman said the state “is sending a message to every single unit of government that … you can spend money to rig the outcome of an election and there’s no penalties.” The board made no ruling on Sherman’s allegation that the library misused public funds. Violations of related state laws carry punishments that the SBE is not authorized to impose, the ruling said. 

Sherman said he took exception to comments from officials who he said implied during the hearing that “the problem isn’t with the library for breaking the law, it’s with me for complaining about them breaking the law … because it’s going to cost the taxpayers money.”

“If the government doesn’t want to incur legal costs for defending themselves for breaking the law and violating Constitutional rights, then they should stop breaking the law and violating our Constitutional rights,” Sherman said.

“I know the board wanted to dispose of the matter,” Tenuto told Patch in response. “I think the board was just kind of exasperated. They felt that the matter had been dragging on too long.”

Typically, such complaints take only a few months to be resolved, he said.

In addition to his complaint with the SBE, Sherman filed a lawsuit last year in an effort to invalidate the referendum results. He lost his case in the circuit and appellate courts, and is now waiting to learn whether the Illinois Supreme Court will review it, he said.

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