Roughly a year ago, a Cook County judge booted Kenneth Williams off the Thornton Township High School District 205 school board, ruling a felony conviction made him ineligible to hold the office.
On Wednesday, a different Cook County judge got to do it all over again.
Judge Thomas Allen issued an order removing Williams from office, less than a month after he was appointed to fill a vacancy on the board.
Williams, 51, was appointed following a series of “special” meetings that were held by three of his allies on the school board — among them his wife, Toni.
Armed with a recently granted expungement, sealing a 1985 forgery conviction that initially ousted him from office, Williams argued his new court order amounted to a pardon that wiped his record clean.
But Allen didn’t find Williams’ argument “persuasive” and wrote in a ruling that an expungement does not amount to a pardon.
Allen also went a step further in his ruling, siding with two rival school board members who filed suit last month, seeking to block Williams’ return.
Allen agreed with Edward Crayton and Bernadette Lawrence, who had argued that Williams’ appointment was not valid because the board did not have a “quorum” when the vote was taken. In order to have a quorum, four members must be present, Allen ruled.
Only Williams’ wife Toni as well as allies Darren Robinson and Judith Gibb were present during a series of special meetings that led to Williams appointment.
Those special meetings were purposely scheduled for times when Crayton and Lawrence could not attend, the two alleged.
At one early morning meeting on Oct. 21, the three interviewed potential candidates to replace former board member Lauren Green, who resigned on Oct. 15, their suit states. Williams was among those interviewed.
Then, at the Nov. 12 meeting, the three voted to approve Williams’ appointment.
Messages left for Williams at phone numbers listed for him were not returned. A man who picked up the phone at Williams’ business — the Silk N Classy Barber College — declined to comment.
A quirk in Illinois law allows felons to run for county and statewide office, but bars them from serving in municipal offices, like on a school board.
Williams was president of the board before his October 2013 ouster. Judge Rita Novak ruled his prior felony conviction disqualified him from serving under the state’s school and election codes.
Several board members supported the initial effort to oust Williams. In January 2013, they sent a letter to Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez. The letter said Williams and two other board members — including his wife, Toni — were trying to control the district’s ‘finances and “to employ family and friends.”