Markham, IL. (ECWd) -
The City of Markham's Electoral Board decided to permit Roger A. Agpawa's name to be placed on the ballot for City Mayor - even though he is a federally convicted felon, who was allegedly granted a "Restoration of Rights" by Governor Rauner - which, in our opinion, flies in the face of Illinois law.
The Illinois Municipal Code, Section 3.1-10-5, prohibits convicted felons from holding office.
According to the Objection filed against Agpawa's petitions, basing their objections on his felony conviction:
- Agpawa plead guilty to a federal felony of "Mail Fraud" in the United States District Court of Northern Illinois in 1999.
- He admitted that he used his position as Fire Chief to defraud insurance an insurance company by writing and cashing forged checks because he was "strapped for cash, using drugs and going through marital problems."
- Prior to Governor Rauner leaving office, and without going through the correct processes, Rauner granted Agpawa a "restoration of rights" which purported to permit him to run for an elective office again
- Rauner did not possess the authority to restore the rights of a person convicted in federal courts (just like the POTUS cannot pardon a person convicted in a state court)
According to the Electoral Board, Agpawa's name will appear on the ballot because:
- Gov Rauner issued his a Restoration of Rights letter
- Cook County Circuit Court vacated its previous ruling based on that letter
- Objectors state that Rauner did not have the power to restore the rights of a federally convicted felon
- Electoral Board stated it did not have the authority to make such a determination since the Cook County court made its decision
- The Electoral Board then went on to quote the constitution's provision granting the governor powers to grant reprieves, commutations, and pardons (even though we believe that provision only applies to state convictions)
There are a lengthy findings and conclusions (decision) paper below, but in our opinion, the question of whether a governor, any governor, can grant pardons, etc for federally convicted persons was never ruled on by any Illinois Court for this purpose, and we believe if the correct question appears in front of the appellate or supreme court, this "restoration of rights" will be overturned as an act in excess of the powers of the Governor.