CHICAGO (CBS)– Convicted felons are not allowed to hold municipal office in the state of Illinois, but in suburban Bellwood, the election of a one-time burglar will be verified tomorrow.
Lindsley Griffin is a convicted felon and was appointed to the school board two years ago to fill a vacancy. Then he was elected to the position on April 2. In 1988, he was convicted of burglary and sentenced to two years probation.
Illinois law forbids a convicted felon from serving in an elected office.
“I feel like it’s not fair to the community to know that a convicted felon is sitting on the school board making decisions for our teachers, for our children,” said a Bellowood resident who chose to be disguised because she lives in the small suburb and is afraid of retaliation from those in power.
“I feel really perturbed to know that someone has won this seat and do not qualify for it,” the resident said.
When asked if he informed the school board of his criminal record, Griffin replied “I have no comment.”
“Mr. Griffin is a remarkable man and I’m glad he’s serving,” said Bellwood School Distrct 88 superintendent Mark Holder said.
When asked by CBS 2 whether he had done a background check, Holder did not respond.
Griffin is the latest elected official in the region under scrutiny for his criminal background.
In October of 2013, Kenneth Williams, school board president of Thornton Township, was ousted because of 1985 forgery conviction in Indiana.
Last year, Markham Mayor Roger Agpawa came under fire for a 1999 conviction on mail fraud but he’s still in office because former Governor Bruce Rauner gave him a pass.
In March, 20th ward Alderman Willie Cochran resigned after pleading guilty to extortion and bribery.
CBS 2 asked Griffin if he will take the oath.
“I surely will,” he responded.
A confidential letter from a Chicago law firm asked the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office to investigate whether Griffin “is eligible to continue serving.”
“It’s a felony, it’s a felony,” the Bellwood resident stated.
Unless action is taken, Griffin, along with other elected school board members will be sworn in May 2.