Maywood man paid to object at board meeting - New York News

Man admits to being paid for board meeting vote

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By FOX 32 News Investigative Reporter Dane Placko & the Better Government Association

Like many suburbs, Maywood has a municipal election coming up and already the political wrangling has begun. But, what was seen at last week's electoral board meeting in Maywood may turn even the most idealistic voter into a cynic.

Maywood Mayor Henderson Yarbrough gaveled to order the Maywood electoral board Tuesday, which heard objections to candidates running for office in Maywood.

About the only people in the room are the candidates themselves and the people objecting to them, like Levon Simpson. Simpson filed objections against four trustee candidates, signing his name to legal petitions that look like they were written by a high-priced attorney.

So after Simpson made his appearance, FOX 32's Dane Placko asked if he was making the objection himself or is getting some help.

"Well, you can put it like this. I was asked to do this," Simpson admitted.

Simpson says he was walking home from work in Maywood when a woman approached him with some papers.

"She asked me would I go up here and object to it and I would be given a donation," Simpson explains. "And I told her yes I would."

Cheryl Ealey-Cross is one of the candidates Simpson is objecting to.

"If you have a legitimate reason for objecting I have no problem with that, but to just solicit someone off the street and give them $50 or a $100 or whatever, or promise them a job just to challenge me and others like me, I think it's totally unfair," Ealey-Cross says.

That's not the only problem FOX 32 and the Better Government Association uncovered. At least one other objector is related to a Maywood village official.

Mayor Yarbrough runs the electoral board, which means he sits in judgment of candidates running against his slate. When asked about this, the mayor turned his back and walked away.

"This is Illinois. We get it. We're not naive. Politics here is rough and sometimes dirty," Bob Herguth of the BGA says. "But the people of Maywood deserve better than this."

As for Levon Simpson, he says he's just trying to make a buck.

"Everybody has a price and I cannot tell a lie here," Simpson says. "It's just a matter of how many zeros behind it and what situation you're in at the time you're approached with that."

Simpson says $50 was the amount he was offered and accepted.

When we asked Simpson who paid him the $50, he said he would tell us for $150.

Amazingly, Illinois election law allows for objectors to be paid, saying the motivation of their objection doesn't matter.

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