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Fox Lake faces lawsuit filed by two ex-employees

Fox Lake Mayor Donny Schmit

Fox Lake Mayor Donny Schmit

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Updated: January 19, 2014 11:51AM

Two former employees of the village of Fox Lake have filed a federal lawsuit claiming they were fired in retaliation for supporting an unsuccessful mayoral candidate.

Former Fox Lake Building Commissioner Francisco Urbina and administrative assistant Tina Williams filed the complaint last week in United States District Court in Chicago.

The suit alleges that they were fired by incoming Mayor Donny Schmit in retaliation for their political support of former Mayor Ed Bender in the April 2013 election, according to Chicago attorney Keith Hunt.

The suit also states that Peter Jakstas, owner of the Mineola Hotel in the village, “bartered his political support for Schmit and his slate in exchange for Schmit’s agreement to terminate Urbina and Williams if Schmit were elected,” Hunt said.

Schmit was “outraged” after Fox Lake issued building code violations to The Mineola hotel under the Bender administration, the suit states.

Urbina is a licensed architect and was employed by the village from 2008 to 2013 and served the village under two different mayors. Williams worked for Fox Lake from 2005 to 2013.

The suit seeks reinstatement as well as unspecified damages for lost pay and benefits, compensatory and punitive damages plus attorneys’ fees.

The case has been assigned to Judge Milton Shadur, and a court date is pending.

Jakstas said Tuesday he has not yet seen the suit and could not comment. Attempts to reach Schmit for comment were unsuccessful.

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