It’s the ultimate David vs. Goliath political battle that could now involve criminal charges. A 19-year-old college student is running for alderman in Chicago’s 13th Ward, challenging incumbent Ald. Marty Quinn, one of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s top allies.
David Krupa, a freshman at DePaul University, alleges that Quinn and Madigan forces have committed fraud to muscle him out of the race, and on Monday, Krupa and his attorney met before Chicago election authorities.
The rub, first reported by Carol Marin on “Chicago Tonight” last week: Quinn and Madigan allies got sworn affidavits from nearly 2,800 residents to withdraw signatures they gave in support of Krupa’s candidacy. The problem: Krupa only turned in 1,700 signatures. A further problem: after scouring through all of that, Krupa’s attorney found that only 187 people who signed affidavits revoking their signature on Krupa’s petition had actually signed Krupa’s petition. So hundreds, if not thousands of people potentially committed perjury in saying they signed something they never actually did.
In comments to “Chicago Tonight” on Monday, Quinn sought to play up Krupa’s stated support for President Donald Trump.
“I guess the better question is: a self-described, ‘day-one Trump supporter’ gets 1,700 signatures in the 13th Ward, without being disingenuous? That’s the question that comes to my mind. Have a good day.”
Quinn walked away and did not respond to a follow-up question asking how there could have been more revocation signatures than people who actually signed Krupa’s petition in the first place.
Krupa alleges that Madigan precinct workers went door to door and tricked residents into signing the affidavits.
“What people have told me is that, when they were approached, it was for something like ‘verifying my signature,’” Krupa said. “Well it wasn’t for verifying their signature, it was for taking me off the ballot. I’ve had family friends who have known me their entire life who have signed one of those revocation papers because they were told it was something it wasn’t, and they are furious.”
Krupa’s election attorney Michael Dorf says the behavior not only reeks of corruption, but incompetence. He is asking the election board to throw out all of the revocations, and is threatening legal action in state and federal court.
“Candidates steal yard signs, they do smear campaigns, they do things where their fingerprints aren’t on it,” Dorf said. “Here’s a case where we know there were at least 2,600 false affidavits filed. It’s such overkill that wasn’t necessary.”
There will be another election board hearing on the matter Saturday. Quinn is represented by Madigan’s go-to attorney, Mike Kasper.
Mayor’s race challenges
Also on Monday, mayoral candidates whose signatures are being challenged by some of their competitors began their hearings. Election hearing officers, who are essentially lawyers hired by the election board, heard from a litany of attorneys representing various campaigns which are challenging their opponents.
Most notably, there is Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s challenge of Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza. Attorneys for those campaigns went head-to-head Monday. Preckwinkle’s team says they’re confident Mendoza does not have the requisite amount of valid signatures to make the ballot when all is said and done – the Mendoza campaign has expressed confidence they do.
Those hearings will continue Tuesday and throughout the week.
Follow Paris Schutz on Twitter: @paschutz