An appeals court this week temporarily reinstated an Algonquin Township trustee after he was removed from office in June due to a prior felony conviction.
Edward Zimel Jr. was elected in 2021 as a trustee for Algonquin Township.
The McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office in August 2022 filed a complaint in court seeking the removal of Zimel from his position.
Zimel was charged with two counts of felony intimidation and one count of armed violence in 1990 in Cook County, prosecutors said.
He pleaded guilty to one of the intimidation counts and was sentenced on the charge, prosecutors said.
Illinois township code says that anyone convicted “in any court located in the United States of any infamous crime, bribery, perjury, or other felony” is not eligible to hold office.
“Although the felony conviction of Mr. Zimel stems from 1990, the statute does not contain any limitations or restrictions regarding the time frame for disqualification based on a felony conviction,” the state’s attorney’s office said in a statement.
Zimel’s attorney argued that a five-year statute of limitations applied from the time of conviction when considering a disqualification from office.
During a deposition, Zimel testified that he had no recollection of pleading guilty in the case and that his signature on the Cook County plea documents did not appear to be his.
McHenry County Judge Joel Berg in June issued a ruling in the nearly year-long case.
Berg declared Zimel ineligible to hold his position of trustee due to the felony conviction.
Berg said in his order that Zimel was to be removed from office effective June 20 unless a stay was issued by the appellate court.
Zimel appealed the ruling to the Second District Appellate Court of Illinois.
The appeals court on Wednesday – two months after Zimel’s removal from office – issued a stay on the McHenry County court order.
The McHenry County Blog reported Zimel appeared for the first time since being reinstated at the board’s special meeting on Thursday.