March 01, 2024
Election


Election

Objectors challenge McHenry sheriff candidate Tony Colatorti, alleging he lacks proper credential

McHenry County sheriff candidate Tony Colatorti, right, and his campaign manager Kevin Byrnes look over the candidacy forms the morning of Monday, March, 7, 2022, at the McHenry County Clerk's Office in Woodstock. Monday was the first day for candidates to file ahead of the June primaries. This election season includes all McHenry County Board seats, the clerk, sheriff and regional superintendent of education. The candidates were trying to get the first slot on the ballot by filling at 8 a.m. When more than one candidate applies at a time, a lottery is held.

A McHenry County Sheriff hopeful is facing a challenge to his candidacy alleging that he lacks sufficient law enforcement credentials to hold the office, according to paperwork filed this week.

Tony Colatorti, one of two Republican candidates running for McHenry County sheriff, is alleged to have not completed a training course that is required for the office, according to the objection filed Monday by former Winthrop Harbor Police Chief Joel Brumlik and former McHenry Police Chief William Brogan.

Brumlik and Brogan alleged in their objection that Colatorti is ineligible for the office because he did not complete the Minimum Standards Basic Law Enforcement Officers Training Course.

“In fact, the Candidate has no such certificate because he has never completed the Minimum Standards Basic Law Enforcement Offices Training Course or a substantially similar training program of another state or the federal government,” according to the complaint.

Colatorti’s campaign, however, disputed the notion that he’s unqualified and in a statement to the Northwest Herald said that the objection a “baseless legal challenge” and that he does have the needed certificate.

Colatorti and Robb Tadelman, who is an undersheriff in the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office, are the lone candidates seeking the GOP nomination in the June 28 primary election. No Democratic candidates filed to seek the office.

The requirement was created as part of the state’s 700-page criminal reform bill Illinois lawmakers passed in 2021, which can be found near the end of the legislation. The law does not apply to those already holding office.

In the objection, Brumlik and Brogan assert that Colatorti’s nomination papers, which include signatures from residents and a statement of economic interest, among other things, do not contain a certificate showing he completed a necessary training course.

The objection also accuses Colatorti of knowingly skirting the requirement.

“His Statement of Candidacy is fatally defective as he states under oath … that he is ‘legally qualified’ to hold the office … while knowing that he is not legally qualified,” according to the objection.

Brumlik, who said he is supporting Tadelman in the race, told the Northwest Herald Tuesday that Colatorti’s certificate included in his election papers is for a part-time officer but the state’s requirement calls for a full-time certificate.

“It’s a very simple thing,” he said. “If you didn’t understand the rules of how to run, how will you run a major department?”

Brogan could not be reached for comment.

McHenry County’s electoral board is expected to hold a hearing and vote on whether the objection stands. As of Tuesday morning, no date had been set, officials said. After the hearing, there also is a window for appeal.

McHenry County sheriff candidate Robb Tadelman files his candidacy forms the morning of Monday, March, 7, 2022, at the McHenry County Clerk's Office in Woodstock. Monday was the first day for candidates to file ahead of the June primaries. This election season includes all McHenry County Board seats, the clerk, sheriff and regional superintendent of education. The candidates were trying to get the first slot on the ballot by filling at 8 a.m. When more than one candidate applies at a time, a lottery is held.

Tadelman said in a news release that he supports the challenge against Colatorti’s candidacy.

“If he cannot even follow the basic laws to get on the ballot as a qualified candidate, how can the public have any confidence in him to uphold the very same laws that protect them and this great community?” Tadelman said in the release.

Colatorti has been in law enforcement for more than two decades and was police chief at two different McHenry County police departments. In recent years, he’s been a business owner in lieu of law enforcement.

In a statement, Colatorti hit back at Tadelman, saying he is “not ready to serve as sheriff, but evidently he’s ready to play Chicago-style politics.” He called the challenge a “pathetic attempt to deface the democratic process.”

“My opponent has inadvertently drawn yet another contrast between our two campaigns,” Colatorti said in the statement. “I’m running against a ‘good ole boys club’ that has unfortunately chosen to resort to Chicago-style political tricks.”

The race has been a contentious one that has seen many in the Republican establishment inside and outside of the county split on their endorsements.

While Colatorti has been backed by McHenry State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally and McHenry Mayor Wayne Jett, Tadelman has been endorsed by current McHenry Sheriff Bill Prim, as well as sheriffs in Boone, DeKalb and Winnebago counties.

One person, an attorney, also was arrested for defacing Colatorti’s signs in February.

In addition to the new training requirement, a candidate for sheriff must be a U.S. citizen, have been a resident of the county they are running in for at least one year, and is not a convicted felon, according to the bill.

There were no other objections filed for the upcoming primary election, McHenry County Clerk Joe Tirio said.


James Norman

James T. Norman

James also goes by Jake and became a journalist to pursue a love of writing. He originally joined the ranks to be involved with football, but over time fell in love with community reporting and explaining policies. You can catch him at his computer or your local meeting.