Letter: Council Wasting Taxpayer Money

Wellington Mayor Bob Margolis and Councilman John Greene want to know if taxpayers can pay their legal expenses for contesting the vote count. The law is crystal clear, and the answer is no.

The Wellington council will request an opinion from the attorney general, but ten minutes of research will disclose that the attorney general has already rendered an opinion in an almost identical case.

I rely primarily on Markham v. State By and Through Dept. of Revenue. There was a recount, Markham won and wanted taxpayers to pay his legal bills. Sound familiar? The attorney general said no. The circuit court judge said no, and the supreme court said no.

The fact is that the village attorney initially gave the correct legal advice, but some members of the council are not satisfied and want to spend taxpayer money for a private attorney to give a different opinion. If taxpayers end up paying any of these bills, there is likely to be a lawsuit and more wasted taxpayer money.

The judge in the Markham case wrote that an ordinance to reimburse legal fees of candidates is a wrongful appropriation of funds, and concluded, “We hold that an election contest between opposing candidates for an office, arising out of a challenge directed to specific votes sufficient in number to change the result of the election, is personal between the candidates and litigants and is not an official duty of the candidate holding the office and serves no public purpose justifying the expenditure of public funds incident thereto.”

Now is that clear enough for a fifth grader?

Frank J. Morelli, Wellington


  1. This council has still not healed. Just discussing this matter, one could sense the hate still seeping through the Council’s comments regarding reimbursement.

    In addition, there is not alot of emotional maturity on this council. The majority display childlike responses and unprofessional conduct.

    It’s political, too. The democrats on the council do not want to bad mouth the democrat Supervisor of Elections whose inexperience caused the problem. (This is what happens when a politician runs an office and not a professional manager with background experience.)

    It must be incredibly difficult to work for these Council members. Feel pity for the staff who are constantly belittled, talked down to and chastised by Council members during public meetings. The public should watch and listen to Agenda Reviews and Council Meetings to see and hear how the Council treats the staff. No wonder staff is unhappy. You can’t keep people when you treat them so poorly.

    Ultimately, this reimbursement fight will mean more money from Wellington residents going to pay for these matters.


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