Business owner Jamie Mathy has communicated with Bloomington City Council members regarding a news release that accuses him of avoiding a full background check. (Photo by Zach Dietmeier/WJBC)
By Beth Whisman
BLOOMINGTON - An anonymous group that identified itself as the "Committee for Fair Politics" sent a news release to members of the Bloomington City Council Monday that suggested the mayor's nominee for the open Ward 1 city council seat has a criminal background.
The group initially accused Jamie Mathy of hiding a conviction for theft of cable services when he was a Heartland Community College student. However, the group then corrected its news release to accurately reflect that Mathy was never convicted of a crime and instead entered a plea deal and paid a fine to Comcast.
A list of members on the Committee for Fair Politics was not available to WJBC at the time of this publication. No contact information was listed on the news release and the group was not registered with the Illinois State Board of Elections.
Mathy sent his own statement to city council members on the eve of their vote whether to approve his appointment to the council. The memo stated that Mathy never hid the incident which was easily found during a search of public online records in McLean County. Mathy explained he didn't realize that he was breaking the law when he and a neighbor agreed to share a TV cable line during a football game in 1995. When his landlord reported the crime, he entered the plea agreement and eventually paid his fine in full.
"I guess it caught me off guard," Mathy said. "I was a little surprised and I had kind of forgotten about it myself, it happened so long ago. Seventeen years is a long time to drag a misdemeanor out of the closet."
The city council will vote Monday night whether to accept Mathy as the mayor's nominee to replace Bernie Anderson who stepped down due to illness. Mathy is also a write-in candidate on the April ballot against Kevin Lower.
Mathy said he hopes the mistake from 1995 will not sway the council.
"Since then I've started two businesses, I've married an awesome woman. I've donated tons of my time and dollars all over this community and I hope it doesn't come down to little things like college indiscretions," he said.
The Committee for Fair Politics release also accused Mathy of filing under his legal name of Jamison to avoid being detected by a background search that could be associated with the city’s application process to be considered as a potential fill-in alderman. Mathy filed as Jamison “Jamie” Mathy instead of his legal name of Jamison Joseph Mathy.
Mathy also addressed that allegation in his note to the council. He said he was instructed by election officials to file that way because it was likely voters would use his nickname “Jamie” when writing down his name on the ballot.
Beth Whisman can be reached at Whisman@wjbc.com.
Zach Dietmeier contributed to this report.