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City elects convicted felon as mayor, prompting threat from prosecutor

Roger Agpawa won election as mayor of Markham, Illinois, despite a state law barring convicted felons from holding some municipal offices.

CBS Chicago

CHICAGO -- The city of Markham, Illinois, has elected a convicted felon as its new mayor, prompting the county’s state’s attorney to vow to remove him from office.

Roger Agpawa pleaded guilty to felony mail fraud in a federal medical insurance case in 1999. He is currently the fire chief of neighboring Country Club Hills and won Tuesday’s mayoral election in Markham, a suburb south of Chicago.

By law, his felony conviction prevents him from holding some municipal offices barring a presidential pardon, CBS Chicago reports.

Cook County State’s Attorney says she will try to remove him.

“Based on his criminal history, Mr. Agpawa is not eligible to take the oath of office for Mayor under the Illinois Municipal Code,” State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said in prepared statement. “In light of his election, the Office of the Cook County State’s Attorney is prepared to file suit seeking his immediate removal in the event he takes the oath of office.”

Current Mayor David Webb Jr. said he wasn’t  happy about the controversy surrounding his replacement, but told CBS Chicago “[Agpawa] ran and he won, so the people spoke.”

Perry Browley, who lost to Agpawa in the election, told CBS Chicago he would still like to be mayor if Agpawa does not end up in the office.

“What we just want to do is to see what’s going to happen,” Browley said. We’re going to let it play out in courts.”

It’s not yet clear when Agpawa will be sworn into office. His supporters say they’re prepared to take the fight to court should he be removed.