(CBS) — Thaddeus Jones, a Democratic state lawmaker, Calumet City alderman and a mayor hopeful, is accused of misusing campaign funds in a recently filed complaint with the Illinois State Board of Elections.
The complaint uses words like “highly suspicious” and “truly unbelievable” to describe Jones’ use of campaign dollars.
“The spending as reported is severe and outrageous,” says Ross Secler, a Chicago attorney who filed the complaint.
The complaint alleges that since Jan. 1, 2014, Jones’s campaign committees have paid more than $5,000 to Jones’ fiancée and more than $2,000 to his ex-wife for, among other things, “school” and “tuition assistance.”
“This isn’t just bad reporting or bad bookkeeping,” Secler says. “This is a clear violation of the law.”
Jones tells 2 Investigator Brad Edwards he’s done nothing wrong.
“There’s no campaign misspending,” he says. “We followed the law.”
The complaint also raises questions about the $95,000 in loans that Jones’ campaign committees reportedly made to a nonprofit Jones runs.
And then there are the frequent meals at a Hooter’s in south suburban Lansing.
The complaint claims Jones spent nearly $6,800 worth of campaign funds at the restaurant in a nearly three-year span.
Jones believes the allegations are politically motivated.
“You’re going to fight this?” asked 2 Investigator Brad Edwards.
“Of course I’m going to fight this,” Jones says. “There’s no truth to this.”
Jones later emailed a statement that said in part, “The allegations have nothing to do with my official duties as State Representative or as 3rd Ward Alderman in Calumet City. The allegations they raise are untrue and my campaign team is confident of overcoming these dirty tricks and winning election as Mayor of Calumet City.”
The Illinois State Board of Elections will hold a closed-door hearing next week to determine if the complaint will go forward. Ultimately, it will be up to the board to decide if wrongdoing was committed.