Accountant not accountable?

  • Written by Bob Rakow

Desmond to fight $4,100 fine from State Board of Elections

  An Oak Lawn trustee faces a $4,100 fine for failing to file the required paperwork with the Illinois State Board of Elections before running for office.
  The board on Sept. 16 found that Trustee Tim Desmond violated campaign disclosure laws by failing to file a statement of organization on time.
  Desmond was fined $50 for each day the statement was delinquent, a board of elections official said. He also was fined $325 for failing to file quarterly campaign disclosure reports on time, board of election officials said.
  Desmond said he plan to appeal the penalty by the Oct. 12 deadline and blamed an accountant error for the paperwork snafu.
  He said Tuesday that he was not aware of the fine. “It was the first I heard of it,” he said.
  A statement of organization must be filed within 10 days of the creation of a campaign committee or within two days if the committee is created within 30 days of an election.
  The complaint was filed in July by former Trustee Cindy Trautsch, who Desmond defeated in the April election.
  “Desmond mailed multiple literature pieces which stated that (they) were paid for by the Friends of Tim Desmond committee. However, there was no such committee created with the board of election,” Trautsch said in a statement.
  “State laws require him to create a committee and then report his expenditures and contributions in the first quarter by April 15, 2013. Desmond not only did not disclose his expenditures for the first three months of the year, he didn’t even bother to create the committee which his literature claimed was in existence,” Trautsch said.
  Desmond did not file a statement of organization until July 12, according to forms on file with the board of elections. He filed campaign disclosure statements for March 13 through 31 and April 1 through June 30 on Aug. 1, records show.
  Political committees are required to disclose their financial activity on a quarterly basis. The reports are due by the 15th of the month following the end of the quarter.
  Desmond blamed his accountant for failing to submit the paperwork on time.
  “The accountant I used didn’t do what he was supposed to do,” Desmond said. “I expect an accountant to do his job.”
  He said he filed the required forms shortly after receiving the complaint from the board of elections.
  Desmond added that he does not understand Trautsch’s motivation for filing the complaint.
  “I’m not sure what she’s trying to gain by all this,” he said.
  He said the voters will decide if the error reflects poorly on his performance as a trustee.
  A statement of organization requests information concerning the structure and purpose of a political committee, including the date the committee was created; the amount of funds available for campaign expenditures; information on the candidate supported by the committee, names of the committee’s chairman and treasurer and the financial institution where funds will be deposited, according to Illinois election code.
  Desmond is the owner of Jack Desmond’s Irish Pub in Chicago Ridge. He was member of Mayor Sandra Bury’s slate that was swept into office.
  Trautsch was appointed in October 2011 to replace Jerry Hurckes, who resigned in earlier that year. She opposed Desmond as a member of former Mayor Dave Heilmann’s slate.