GENEVA – Fifth Ward Alderman Tom Simonian filed a complaint for administrative review March 22 in Kane County Circuit Court, seeking to reverse its dismissal of his ethics complaint against Mayor Kevin Burns.
Simonian’s court filing also challenges the standing of the Geneva ethics commissioners and seeks a new hearing.
Both Simonian and Burns are candidates for Geneva mayor in the April 4 consolidated election.
Simonian had alleged a city firefighter did campaign work for Burns in uniform while using a city vehicle.
Deputy Fire Chief Mark Einwich testified at the March 16 ethics hearing that one of Burns’ campaign signs had become lodged under his fire department vehicle in a convenience store parking lot. Einwich said that he had texted Burns to ask what he wanted done with the sign. Burns responded in a text to drop it off at his residence.
The commission dismissed Simonian’s complaint, finding a lack of evidence that Einwich intentionally distributed political campaign signs using the city’s resources, or that he was intentionally campaigning for Burns.
If the commission had found Einwich’s actions to be intentional, the punishment could have been up to 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,500, according to the city’s code.
Included in Simonian’s request for administrative review were allegations that that the appointment of Timothy Moran as commission chairman had expired; that all three commissioners should have recused themselves or should have allowed an examination on the issue of recusal or change of venue; and that the commission was wrong to deny his request for a continuance.
Simonian sought to have commissioners recuse themselves because each had been appointed by Burns and possibly had already voted for him during early voting, records show.
Simonian’s filing seeks to remand the matter for further proceedings before a disinterested body to hear his ethics complaint.
Simonian’s filing names the city, Burns, Moran and Einwich as defendants.
The case is scheduled to be heard July 6 before Kane County Judge David Akemann at the Kane County Courthouse, 100 S. Third St., Geneva, court records show.
Burns said by his actions, Simonian will cause the city to spend money on litigation.
“Given Tom’s history of filing lawsuits, I’m not surprised by his actions, but I am disappointed,” Burns said. “Because this lawsuit will cost the taxpayers of Geneva – those he claims to want to support – unnecessary money, time and resources.
Burns characterized Simonian’s court filing, which seeks to force the ethics commission members to recuse themselves, as disparaging to citizen volunteers “who serve the community with integrity and objectivity.”
“Tom has shown his true colors," Burns said. "If he doesn’t get what he thinks he deserves, he sues.”
Simonian said the ethics commission hearing was a "kangaroo court."
"And the reason I'm doing what I'm doing, is because the city of Geneva deserves an honest and fair process and can trust that the government – especially having to do with ethics – is not perceived as corrupt," Simonian said.
Simonian said the only time he sues is to protect the interests of individuals and small businesses.
"Burns should be ashamed of himself to make the comments that he did regarding me and lawsuits," Simonian said. "And you wonder why the citizens of this country have no trust in their government."