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Zahm Calls for Resignations Following Release of Burns' E-Mails

Chris Lauzen political consultant Jon Zahm releases 116 pages of e-mails sent by Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns using a city e-mail account, then calls for the resignation of Burns and other Republicans.

Kane County Conservative Coalition Chairman Jon Zahm called for the resignation of Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns, Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady and Batavia Township Chairman Ellen Nottke on Wednesday after he released 116 pages of e-mail transcripts showing that Burns conducted campaign-related business using a city of Geneva e-mail address.

Zahm held a press conference at 4 pm. Wednesday at Cabooses Bar & Grill at the Geneva train depot. Zahm is a paid political consultant for state Sen. Chris Lauzen, who is running against Burns in the GOP primary race for Kane County Board chairman.

"What we have here is an inside look at how this group plays politics," Zahm said in a prepared statement. "The mask is off, and the taxpayers of Kane County can read for themselves the vulgarities, the hatred, the manipulation, the depravity that some Republican Party insiders practice.

Zahm filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the city of Geneva on Feb. 10, and the city turned over the documents on Feb. 17.

Zahm said he gave Lauzen copies of the e-mails prior to Wednesday, but stressed that Lauzen did not know Zahm was holding the press conference.

"Chris did not direct me to do this," Zahm said.

The FOIA request was for e-mails to or from Brady and Nottke, as well as St. Charles Township Chairman and Kane County Board attorney Ken Shepro, Kane County Republican Chairman and County Board member Mike Kenyon and Kane County Board Chairman and 33rd Distict state Senate candidate Karen McConnaughay.

At the press conference, Zahm went over some of the "key components" of the e-mail packet, which included Burns planning to "crash" a Lauzen press conference and some nasty references by Nottke regarding U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren, who endorsed Lauzen a day after he went campaigning with Burns.

"As long as that weasel has decided to crawl into his hole, maybe we should dig it a little deeper for him," Nottke wrote.

There are also some harsh digs at Lauzen's wife, Sarah, who is active in her husband's campaign. "She's wearing a ratty old pink sweater! She looks like she just exited a gang fight!" Burns wrote in a Feb. 2 e-mail to Nottke.

Zahm also pointed to what he called evidence of collusion between Burns, McConnaughay, Kane County circuit court clerk candidate Kathy Hurlbut, Kane County auditor candidate Laura Wallet and Kane County coroner candidate Rob Russell in an e-mail thread with the subject line, "the good guys are getting together again."

According to Zahm, Burns started forwarding private e-mail messages to his public account on Aug. 16. "This shows his intentional misuse of public resources," Zahm said.

Burns said Wednesday night that the e-mails were defaulting to his city address.

“I acknowledge the technical snafu, and I was glad it was brought to my attention," he said.

Burns also decried the Wednesday press conference.

"Jon Zahm’s circus underscores his personal and professional history to intimidate and threaten anyone and everyone who stands in his client's way," Burns said. "Mr. Lauzen should be ashamed of himself to esconce himself with someone as discreditable as Mr. Zahm. For Mr. Zahm to thump his chest on ethics is like Michael Vick teaching a course on the humane treatment of animals.

"Let’s face it, Jon Zahm and Chris have always been about search and destroy," Burns said. "If this is how he's going to run a campaign, God help Kane County." 

Paul Rogers February 24, 2012 at 03:15 AM
This story, and many of the comments from others, remind me of what David Letterman said in describing the world of show business: "It's like high-school with money." On the other hand, that comparison might be unfair to high-schoolers...at least they can legitimately claim immaturity...a defense that doesn't apply here.
Henry T February 24, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Considering the effort to get this information on a campaign is minimal (submit a request) it is a standard thing most candidates do. The results can not only provide interesting tactical insight (campaign plans if they are dumb enough to use the wrong account to send the e-mails) you can also get nice gifts like the one Burns served up here ("there is no God") for example. It also gets into the other guys head (classic Sun Tsu)
Political PR Machine February 25, 2012 at 02:45 PM
After reading the poem, I had to copy it - great words.
Al Schroeder Jr. February 25, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Looks like Jon really stepped on the ant hill with this one. It really sent the little insects scurrying. My question is while Kevin “Monty” Burns is social networking courtesy of his taxpayers supplied email address who’s minding the store in Geneva? Now the GOP good ole boys are trying to paint Zahn, and any of us who respect Lauzens record and his ideas for better and reformed Kane county government as some kind of hideous ogres living in Lauzens basement waiting for marching orders. This of course is pure rubbish, we want answers to red light camera’s and pension reform in Kane county not some snide email telling us what sweater Sarah Lauzen was wearing. By the way Ellen, I am wearing green sweat pants with a hole in the knee should you want to make a campaign issue out of it. Bottom line is that Chris Lauzen is running for chairman here and not Jon Zahn. Kevin, for once in your campaign try taking the high road, don’t worry you won’t get nose bleed!
Justin Eggar February 25, 2012 at 08:25 PM
Al, Your post has be scratching my head. 1. You just referred to anyone who disagrees with you as a scurrying insect. Really? 2. What does "social networking" have to do with "minding the store". Are you saying that somebody can't email and run their township at the same time? Doesn't this statement come across as a little strange to you in hindsight? 3. Is his name Zahn or Zahm? Anyways, are you familiar with who he is working for? With that in mind, are you really taking Kevin to task for not taking the high road in light of Zahm (who works for Lauzen) taking this whole thing off topic with this email junk? The bottom line is, do you know where the buck stops for these candidates? Yeah, with them. Thus, Burns is accountable for his campaign and his staff... as is Lauzen. You can't distance yourself from your employees that are acting on your behalf, it just doesn't work like that. Anyways, this campaign has had enough drama. I've finished my tub of popcorn... can we get back to stuff that actually matters? That's what needs to be taking place. Not this.

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