Exclusive Norridge trustee appointment fuels calls for nonpartisan elections


Only Norridge Improvement Party candidate was considered for Norridge Village Trustee appointment

The Village of Norridge board approved the appointment of Andy Ronstadt for the trustee vacancy caused by Daniel Tannhauser’s resignation last month.

Ranstadt is appointed to the Norridge Village board

Except – nobody else was allowed to apply for the position.

The Village of Norridge did not accept applications to be considered from members of the general public.

Tannhauser’s official resignation was timed and structured such that only NIP trustees were allowed to submit a candidate.

Ronstadt had been a Norridge Improvement Party loyalist for many years, often seen stumping for candidates, and harassing voters outside polling places as they came in to vote.

The Norridge Improvement Party has gone to great lengths to ensure its members exclusively occupy all Village seats.

The NIP turned back challenges by Tom Benigno in 2013 and 2017, after anonymous mailings, under fictitious names such as “Citizens for a Better Norridge” and “Concerned Citizens Committee”, made unsubstantiated allegations against Benigno and, in 2017, his slate of candidates.

Earlier this year, NIP operatives Melissa Poulos and Richard Massaro filed objections to the petitions of two independents – Joe Rizzi and Gus Rapatas – that ultimately led to their removal from the ballot.

As a Village employee, taxpayers are already financing Massaro… will Poulos now be appointed to fill Ronstadt’s vacancy on the zoning board?

NIP takes cash from corporations… and felons

Such kind of undemocratic behavior has generated calls for the Norridge Village board to ban political parties from Village elections and elect nonpartisan independents, as Mount Prospect did in 2010.

For the NIP summer fundraiser in 2019, the party raised $35,000 in a single quarter, with most contributions coming from corporations the Village does business with, including a $4,900 contribution from H&H Electric Company alone.

Some came from a political action committee attached to Dominic Longo, a felon convicted of voter fraud.

Others came from Chicago-aligned Democratic operatives such as Frank Avino –  the Norwood Park Township Democratic Committeeman and Norwood Park Fire Department trustee, and Robert Martwick – the Chicago 38th Ward Democratic committeeman and IL senator appointee.

Further reform proposals would prohibit campaign contributions from companies the Village does business with, as Des Plaines does with vendors who earn $1,000 or more in City contracts.

With these monarchical actions, the calls for change… will only get louder.

Recording of the October 23 2019 Village of Norridge Board Meeting (full video – 10 minutes)

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