Illinois attorney general orders removal of Harvey school board president
BY TINA SFONDELES Staff reporter firstname.lastname@example.org January 30, 2013 7:26PM
Updated: January 31, 2013 9:02AM
The Illinois Attorney General’s office ordered the “immediate removal” of Harvey elementary school board president Janet Rogers on Wednesday. That’s the same office that prosecuted her for falsifying her income to get a better financial aid package for her son’s college education.
The Chicago Sun-Times last June exclusively reported Rogers was a felon sitting on a school board, in violation of state law.
The attorney general’s office filed the complaint to remove Rogers, saying she is “unlawfully holding and executing the office of a board member,” by having a felony conviction, which is against the Illinois Election Code.
Rogers was convicted in 2004 under her maiden name, Thomas. At the time, she was a member of the Harvey School District Board and a teacher at Bloom Township School District.
She voluntarily left the board after her conviction because she knew state law barred her from the position.
But using her married name, Rogers ran for and was elected president of the board in 2011, replacing her husband.
Rogers’ spokesman, Melvin Caldwell, said Wednesday that she had received two legal opinions which “cleared her way for her to be a candidate.” . He also said Rogers’ son died in 2010 of cancer at 29.
Rogers was convicted of falsifying three years of income on financial aid applications and getting false financial aid for her son’s college education.
“There were two legal opinions that were issued by attorneys that were comprised to look into the matter, and the public fully was aware of this matter,” Caldwell said. “It was not an issue. So she was standing on full legal ground when she ran.”
The Cook County state’s attorney’s office is investigating another south suburban school board leader, Kenneth Williams, the president of the Thornton Township High School District 205 board, because of a 1985 felony conviction for forgery.
Williams received a letter from the state’s attorney’s office on Dec. 21. He had until Jan. 15 to resign, but he did not. The state’s attorney’s office filed a complaint ordering his removal on Jan. 16.
Williams could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Bob Storman, Thornton Township spokesman, said Rogers and Williams intend to fight their removals.
“From what I am hearing, they are going to fight back by challenging their boards and challenging their school districts,” he said, adding that both did not think their convictions affected board responsibilities.
He said Rogers has done a “credible job with a lot of integrity.”