Rep. Schneider's house wasn't OK'd for occupancy until last week, documents indicate
The newly constructed Highland Park house that U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider listed as his residence on nominating petition sheets circulated this winter and on voter registration documents in January didn't receive a certificate of occupancy until late last week, city records indicate.
The certificate, a copy of which was acquired Thursday by the Daily Herald through the Freedom of Information Act, was issued by Highland Park's building division March 18.
Schneider's home is at the heart of an objection to his candidate petitions that seeks to remove the 10th District Democrat from the June 28 primary ballot.
That objection, filed Monday with the Illinois State Board of Elections, alleges Schneider doesn't live at the address he identified as his home on petition sheets and a statement of candidacy.
Those documents were submitted to the election board March 7, more than a week before occupancy was approved.
Objectors Alan R. Palmer and Laura La Barbera are asking Schneider's candidate documents be ruled invalid and for him to be knocked off the primary ballot.
Joe Severino, the Lake Forest Republican running for the 10th District seat, wants Schneider booted, too.
"When he circulated petitions with a false candidate address or a house he could not possibly reside in, it invalidated his ability to be on the ballot," Severino said Thursday.
Severino denied he's behind the objection.
Schneider has insisted the right address was listed on the documents. His campaign has pointed to previous cases in which the intent of a candidate to have a permanent home in a city and the abandonment of a previous home were critical factors for determining residency.
Residency is a frequent subject of petition objections.
"My candidacy paperwork includes the correct residential address," Schneider said on Facebook.
Schneider is in his fourth term serving the 10th District, which includes parts of Cook, Lake and McHenry counties.
His candidate statement, a copy of which was acquired by the Daily Herald, includes the Highland Park address in two places. It was signed by the congressman, notarized and dated March 4.
The Highland Park address also appears atop each of Schneider's petition pages as part of the printed form. They were signed by the people who gathered the signatures and notarized between January and March.
Earlier this week, Schneider said he and his wife sold their previous home in Deerfield in January and are "in the process" of moving into the new home.
They bought the property in 2019, had a house there razed and had the new one built. Demolition and construction permits were issued in late 2020, documents show.
The process took longer than the couple expected because of the COVID-19 crisis, Schneider said.
As of earlier this week, the house didn't appear lived in. The driveway wasn't finished, there was no grass where the front lawn should be, a large trash container sat on the driveway blocking the garage doors and construction debris was visible outside.
The elections board will meet at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, in Chicago and Springfield, to assign this and other petition objections to hearing officers. Participation in the meeting also is possible using Zoom. For more information on the meeting, visit tinyurl.com/5n7u5hk2.
If election officials uphold the objection, Democratic Party leaders could choose a nominee before the Nov. 8 general election. Schneider, hypothetically, would be eligible.