SPRINGFIELD – An Ohio attorney asked the State Board of Elections on Thursday to investigate whether Republican candidate for governor Andy Martin actually lives in Illinois, but the request came two days too late.
"No action will be taken unless an objection is filed, and the objection period closed Tuesday," said Steve Sturm, legal counsel for the State Board of Elections.
Andy Martin, also known as Anthony R. Martin-Trigona, told The News-Gazette last week that he was living in Chicago. And his campaign Web site lists an address on Ontario Street in Chicago.
But when the Stark County, Ohio, clerk of courts attempted to send Martin some court documents to that address via certified U.S. mail, the envelope was returned unclaimed on Dec. 16 with a sticker from the post office listing the new address as a post office box in New York, N.Y.
Ohio attorney Craig T. Conley, who is involved in litigation both from and against Martin, said he received that envelope back from the Clerk of Courts on the same day that he stumbled across Martin's Illinois candidacy on his Web site.
"And I thought, boy, he's living in New York," Conley said. "How can he run for governor in Illinois?"
Conley said he decided to notify the State Board of Elections "because, as a citizen, I want to assure that the electoral process is protected."
Calls on Thursday and Friday to Martin's Chicago campaign number seeking confirmation of his residency were not returned.
The Illinois Constitution states that to be eligible for governor, a person must be a U.S. citizen at least 25 years old and be a resident of Illinois for the three years preceding his election.
Although the residency question could become a campaign issue for Martin, it might not be a legal problem unless he wins.
"If he is actually elected, he could be ejected through quo warranto," Sturm said. "That is Latin for 'by what authority,' which basically means that you are holding your office without satisfying all of the prerequisites for holding the office. Literally anyone could file that after the election."
Martin, who calls himself "the most notorious graduate" of the University of Illinois College of Law, is one of five Republicans seeking the party's nomination for governor. His primary opponents include Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka, state Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, businessman Ron Gidwitz and dairy owner Jim Oberweis.
In the past, Martin has run unsuccessfully for offices ranging from Champaign County clerk to governor of Florida to U.S. senator. He even announced plans to run for U.S. president at one time.
Although the Illinois Supreme Court refused to grant Martin a law license in 1973, he has referred to himself as "The People's Attorney General," and filed hundreds upon hundreds of lawsuits during the last three decades in a number of states, so many that he has drawn sanctions from both federal and state courts.
The Florida Supreme Court wrote that Martin "has clearly abused the judicial system by both the extremely excessive amount of litigation he has filed as well as the extremely malicious nature of his pleadings."
According to Martin's Web site, "his efforts to develop new legal theories are frequently misunderstood, because consumer advocacy by its very purpose seeks to change the system and to upset the status quo."