The Alton Electoral Board has decided businessman Brant Walker's name should not appear on the April 9 ballot. After a brief meeting Wednesday morning, the board rendered a unanimous decision. Walker has promised to take his case to court, in an effort to run against incumbent Mayor Tom Hoechst.
Past due bills are the basis for the board's decision, as anyone with delinquent accounts with the city is not allowed to run for public office, per city ordinance. Walker (pictured) says the city records showed he didn't owe any money at the time he filed, so he has no other reason to believe that the entire process was politically motivated:
The Alton Electoral Board was made up of City Clerk Mary Boulds and Alton Aldermen Gary Flemming and Charlie Brake. Walker plans a court challenge to the ruling and has five days to file for a review in Madison County Circuit Court. Due to the pending litigation, Fleming declined an offer to comment. You can read Mayor Hoechst's comments below.
Statement for Tom Hoechst concerning objection to Walker’s candidacy
I became particularly concerned when it was brought to my attention that Mr. Walker had used the homestead exemption as a landlord on multiple rental properties as well as on his home. The homestead exemption is allowed only on the home where the taxpayer resides. While the Illinois Supreme Court has issued an opinion allowing a candidate to abuse the homestead exemption, I believe abuse of the homestead exemption by Mr. Walker cost the City of Alton and other taxing districts thousands of dollars over the years. When Mr. Walker failed to pay his portion of property taxes, all other taxpayers were left paying his share. The democratic process requires rules and it is everyone's duty to follow the rules to assure fair elections. Many candidates throughout the St. Louis area have been removed from ballots for failure to pay bills to the cities they hoped to represent.