LINCOLN SQUARE — Pat O'Connor has held the office of 40th Ward alderman since 1983, but his latest bid for re-election was no sure thing until Board of Election Commissioners tossed out an objection to his candidacy earlier this week.
The objection asserted that O'Connor was ineligible for municipal office due to outstanding payments owed to the city by a condo association of which he is an member.
The condo property, at 5321 N. Lincoln Ave., and its owners, including O'Connor, "have been arrears on debts owed to the City of Chicago arising from elevator inspections, permits, failed inspections, citations, violations and fines," the objection stated.
An outstanding $1,025 fine, of which O'Connor's share would be $57.40, was offered as an example.
The commissioners ruled in O'Connor's favor, noting that no evidence had been presented that O'Connor was personally indebted to the city. Fines levied against the condo association, its builder, contractor, developer or vendors can't be "imputed to the individual candidate," according to the ruling.
Furthermore, the commissioners stated, the section of the Illinois municipal code related to a candidate's debt was modified in 2013 and no longer bars an individual from the ballot if, at the time of filing his nomination papers, he owes money to the city.
O'Connor, who serves as Mayor Rahm Emanuel's council floor leader and has run unopposed in the 40th the previous two election cycles, will now face off against Dianne Daleiden on Feb. 24.
In races where no candidate earns 50 percent of the votes cast, a runoff between the top two candidates will take place April 7.
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