Colatorti campaign signs vandalized; Woodstock attorney charged

Inset of Robert T. Hanlon in front of Northwest Herald file photo of the McHenry County courthouse.

A Woodstock attorney accused of vandalizing and damaging campaign signs belonging to a McHenry County sheriff’s candidate turned himself in to police Wednesday night, according to jail records.

Robert T. Hanlon, 55, of the 3700 block of Beresford Drive in Woodstock, is charged with misdemeanor criminal damage to property of less than $500, according to a criminal complaint filed in the McHenry County courthouse by the Crystal Lake Police Department.

The attorney is accused of “damaging numerous campaign signs located at 770 S. Virginia Road,” promoting Tony Colatorti who is running for McHenry County sheriff, according to the criminal complaint.

The damage consisted of two stickers put on the signs, Crystal Lake Police Patrol Cmdr. Rick Neumann said. It was not known at the time exactly how many signs were damaged, Neumann said

Hanlon, a supporter of Robb Tadelman, another candidate for McHenry County sheriff who currently is the agency’s deputy chief of operations, posted bond and was released from McHenry County jail Wednesday evening, jail records show.

Hanlon has represented the Algonquin Township Road District and most recently McHenry Township as well as local blogger and former state Rep. Cal Skinner and McHenry County Clerk Joe Tirio’s election campaign over the years.

According to the Illinois State Board of Elections, Hanlon donated $1,000 on Jan. 10 to Tadelman’s campaign in the name of “Law Offices of Robert T. Hanlon and Assoc.”

He also donated to past campaign funds of McHenry County Sheriff Bill Prim, who is not running for reelection and endorsed Tadelman as his successor in March.

Hanlon made a $500 donation as an individual to Prim’s campaign in 2013. His law office donated $200 in 2017 and $1,250 in 2014 and contributed just more than $830 in-kind donations of food for a meet-and-greet in 2017, according to state election filings.

Tadelman responded to request for comment Thursday evening, saying that he instructed his campaign treasurer to refund Hanlon’s donations “in full” and to take no further donations from him. He also said Hanlon “has played no role in my campaign” other than making donations.

“I condemn the recent vandalism of my opponent’s signs, allegedly perpetrated by someone who has previously donated to my campaign,” he said. “Going forward I would urge everyone to be respectful of all candidates and the process by which we elect individuals to office.”

“Multiple campaign signs” were “vandalized in Woodstock with libelous stickers” on Jan. 25, according to Thursday’s news release from the Colatorti campaign.

Days later, more vandalized signs were found in Woodstock, as well as in Algonquin, Crystal Lake and Lake in the Hills, according to Colatorti’s release.

“The chief law enforcement officer in this County needs to be someone who exemplifies integrity and who inspires others to act with honor,” Colatorti said in a statement. “As the head of my campaign, I set the tone and will continue to ensure that my supporters help me run an honest, positive and law-abiding campaign. I regret to say, my opponent does not seem to be instilling the same standard.”

Attempts to reach Denise Ambroziak of Ambroziak & Associates, who is listed as Hanlon’s attorney in court filings, were not successful. When reached by phone Thursday evening, Hanlon declined to comment.

McHenry County Sgt. Eric Ellis said Prim had no knowledge of the incident and therefore declined to comment.

Tadelman is an 18-year veteran of the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office.

Colatorti is an Algonquin restaurant owner with 22 years of law enforcement experience. He was with the Prairie Grove Police Department for 11 years, the last 3½ serving as the department’s police chief. Before that, he was the Holiday Hills police chief and also has worked for Towers Lake Police Department.

Candidates currently are in the process of collecting signatures in order to appear on the ballot this year. The primary is June 28.