CHICAGO (CBS) — A south suburban mayor is fighting more than his political opponents on the ballot. A new lawsuit means the mayor of Markham could get booted from the ballot in April due to a felony conviction.
He spoke with CBS 2’s Jermont Terry about his questionable past and his political future.READ MORE: Feds Seize 65,000 Counterfeit N95 Masks At O'Hare International Airport
Mayor Roger Agpawa has no plans to wrap up his time at Markham City Hall. Around town there is clear support to keep him in office.
He touts the new Amazon facility opening this year and plans to attract more businesses.
“We’re going to let people take ownership,” he said. “It belongs to them. We’re just reminding them it belongs to them.”
Yet a new lawsuit keeps reminding the mayor of his past.
Agpawa is a convicted felon and served time for federal mail fraud.
He ran and won office in 2017 but spent half his time fighting to get sworn in. Then Gov. Bruce Rauner stepped in and restored his citizen’s rights.
But Agpawa said he does not tire of constantly defending where he stands as opposed to where he was in 1999.
“No, I think it’s good for me,” he said.READ MORE: Illinois Surpasses 3 Million COVID-19 Vaccinations; More Than 1 Million Residents Fully Vaccinated
Now Agpawa is fighting a lawsuit that claims Rauner’s orders don’t supercede a federal conviction, but he said he is not worried a reversal could happen and affect his next chance of remaining mayor.
“No, not at all,” he said. “I believe the governor had a battery of attorneys to look at it before he gave his signature to any document in Illinois.
While the mayor isn’t concerned about this 68 page suit, legal experts say it does hold merit and could decide if he continues to sit in the seat.
“I wouldn’t be optimistic at this point in time if i were the mayor,” said CBS 2 legal analyst Irv Miller.
He points out Agpawa’s rights were restored in Illinois only.
“there’s nothing in the governor’s order that says it’s OK for you to become mayor because frankly only the president of the U.S. can pardon someone for a federal crime,” Miller said.
Agpawa’s name remains on the federal clemency request list.
“Who’s to say what this president or the next would do?” he said. “I’m optimistic, but do I need it to serve? No, I don’t need it to serve.”MORE NEWS: 'I Feel Relieved': What People Are Saying And Doing After They Get Their COVID Vaccine
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