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Find Violations Against Bury

But Oak Lawn Mayoral Candidate Says Larger Issues Are at Stake

The Illinois State Board of Elections found following a hearing on Jan. 23 that Oak Lawn mayoral candidate Dr. Sandra Bury was guilty of several violations in failing to properly disclose her campaign expenditures last September.

Candidates are supposed to file financial statements quarterly with the state Board of Elections, disclosing contributions and expenditures. Bury, a local optometrist who is running against Mayor David Heilmann in the April election, announced her candidacy on Sept. 5.

She stated in her filings that she did not have any expenditures, although documents show she had paid a political consultant $2,500, and incurred costs for mailings, $1,500 for an attorney and other expenses. The state board found in favor of the claimant, attorney Norman Chimenti, of Westmont, and against Bury.

ÒIt was just a matter of paperwork,” said Bury on Wednesday. She said she made a mistake filing the documents because she is a newcomer to politics and was unfamiliar with the forms and procedure.

ÒThis was vindictive,” said Bury. ÒIt was just a nuisance case,” she said, which required her to take two days away from her business to go to Springfield for the hearing.

ÒI just refiled the documents correctly and that is the end of it,” she said. The Board of Elections decision required her to refile within 15 days or face up to $5,000 in fines.

Bury maintained that the filing procedure, which is now done online, was confusing. ÒIf you ever filled out a government form, you know what I mean.”

ÒI am not a politician. Inexperience is no excuse, but it wasn’t that I was trying to be secretive. But I presented documents to the board. I will do better. I am learning.”

She said her accusations that Heilmann is being secretive and non-transparent do not compare to the finding against her.

ÒHe is a two-term incumbent and an attorney who has held elective office before,” she said.

She pointed out that Chimenti, who filed the complaint, is an attorney and longtime associate of Heilmann’s whom she has criticized in her campaign literature. Bury maintains that the two men have a conflict of interest, which should have been divulged when Chimenti was hired to do legal work for the village in the past.

Bury said that taking cases such as this to the Board of Elections is just taking attention away from issues affecting Oak Lawn residents.

ÒIt distracts from the real issues, such as keeping taxes low, keeping and attracting businesses, and government transparency. These issues need to be discussed.”

She said she decided to run against Heilmann in large part because she wants to bring a transparency to village government that she feels is lacking now.

The candidate said she filed several Freedom of Information requests to get access to village documents, and was denied. She accuses Heilmann of working to keep the documents out of her hands, and said that among other things, he wrongly used the village seal on ads for a fund-raiser at St. Linus Church, which amounted to campaign ads because they included his running mates, who are not elected officials.

ÒAll of this is more serious (than the financial filings issue). I didn’t run to the Board of Elections. The thought crossed my mind but it costs the village money and distracts from the real issues.”

ÒThe village has incurred thousands of dollars in legal expenses on FOIA’s from Ms. Bury, asking our staff to search for records so she can try and dig up some dirt for a political attack,” said Heilmann. ÒI am sorry that she feels that that conduct is acceptable while violating state election laws is a ‘nuisance.'”

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