Markham, Illinois - A county prosecutor has vowed to remove Roger Agpawa from his recently elected position as Mayor of Markham, a Chicago suburb. The reason? Agpawa is a convicted felon.
According to CBS News, Roger Agpawa was convicted in 1999 after pleading guilty to felony mail fraud in a federal medical insurance case. He won the mayoral election on Tuesday, April 4, and is currently the fire chief of another Chicago suburb, Country Club Hills.
By law, his felony conviction prevents him from holding municipal offices such as mayor unless he receives a presidential pardon.
In a statement, State's Attorney Kim Foxx said that Agpawa was not eligible for the office of mayor based on his criminal history. She said that her office was prepared to file suit seeking his immediate removal if he takes the oath of office.
Markham's current mayor, David Webb, Jr., said that he wasn't happy about the controversy surrounding Agpawa, but that the people had spoken about which candidate they wanted.
It is not clear when Agpawa is scheduled to be sworn in for his office. His supporters said that they are willing to take his case to court if needed. He received 42 percent of the vote.
Attorney John Murphey who is the attorney for Country Club Hills has wrote a letter which he gave to Agpawa suggesting the law be amended. The letter said that the amendment he is proposing was designed to amend the law just for cases such as Agpawa's.
The amendment specifically said that someone could hold municipal office if their felony conviction was for a non-violent crime and at least 15 years had passed from the date of conviction until they took office. It would apply to Tuesday's election and all future elections.
Murphey said that he did not send his letter to legislators but only gave it to Agpawa, who said he was able to get it into the hands of four legislators. In the letter, he attested to Agpawa being a dedicated public servant and that the current law serves as a punishment to Agpawa. He said that no one asked him to write the letter.
After his conviction, Agpawa did not serve any jail time. Instead, he served three years probation and performed a certain amount of community service hours.
Markham's municipal attorney said that it would ultimately be the decision of the City Council to decide whether Agpawa should be eligible for his mayoral seat.