Gurnee mayor targeted in blackmail plot
By Frank Abderholden firstname.lastname@example.org April 23, 2013 12:44PM
Gurnee Mayor Kristina Kovarik. | Sun-Times Media file
Updated: May 25, 2013 6:28AM
While Gurnee Mayor Kristina Kovarik focused on her re-election campaign, she was fighting off another — a blackmail campaign full of false allegations.
Starting in February, she received a letter that threatened to expose her for trading sex for favors and having multiple affairs. More letters followed.
“They said if I didn’t withdraw they would run a smear campaign against me. It’s pretty ugly stuff. They wanted to hurt me, they wanted to hurt my reputation,” said Kovarik, 55, who won her re-election campaign this month.
The first letter arrived at the end of February, then similar letters were sent to her boss at a Bannockburn mortgage company. On Feb. 23, some residents received fliers made to look like a Daily Herald article that said her husband was charged with domestic battery and criminal trespass to vehicle after he discovered one of her affairs. Both the article and the allegations are false, she said. The letters were turned over to the United States Postal Inspector, and if the person is found, they would be charged with a federal offense, said police.
“They’re cowards, despicable cowards,” Kovarik said of those responsible for the anonymous letters.
Kovarik has been married for 21 years and has four children. She said a small group of people oppose her and were hoping to distract her.
“I focused and stayed on message,” she said, adding that she thinks she knows who was behind the smear campaign. “They’ll never get over the fact that they were beaten by a girl. It’s a small sliver of people,” she said. “It’s behind me. I won. Now I’m going to do the job I was elected to do,” said Kovarik.
Comdr. Jay Patrick of the Gurnee Police Department confirmed the blackmail plot.
“They stated that if she didn’t withdraw they would start releasing details to the media,” he said. The letters also went to some people in the the village and some village employees. The investigation is closed for now with the Gurnee Police Department and has been handed over to federal authorities.