Michael Carbone is running for Lake County Board.
Updated: December 26, 2012 1:25AM
Michael Carbone, a Lake County Board candidate, denied Friday that he was trying to hide changing his name and blamed enemies on the Grayslake Elementary School Board for divulging the information.
“The school board is behind all this, they’ve been trying to get rid of me,” said Carbone. “People knew I changed my name. It wasn’t sneaky.”
He is running for Lake County Board in District 16 on a promise to lower property taxes, create jobs and keep the workings of government transparent. But his critics say Carbone’s own past is murky.
For most of his life — including at Antioch High School, where he graduated — he was known as Michael Jorudd.
Under that name, he racked up criminal arrests and charges that include driving on a suspended license, criminal trespass to property, assault and two DUI charges.
Carbone insisted that the fact he’s now using a different name doesn’t mean he’s trying to hide anything. And he says his arrest record has nothing to do with his current race.
“We went through the process, and I came up victorious every time,” he said of his bouts with the law. “I was young, a different age. People aren’t perfect. I never said I was perfect. I am not a perfect person.”
Carbone, who lives in Round Lake, is 39. He says Askeland Carbone was his birth name, and he’d always vowed to reclaim the Carbone name to honor his grandfather. He said Jorudd was his stepdad’s name.
When asked about an arrest history, he described his brushes with the law as incidents in the mid 1990s “or early 2000.”
Carbone said he’s worked with Carbone Group Inc., for 10 years. Court records show that under the name Jorudd, he was charged with DUI in 1993 and received court supervision.
But they also show that in February 2006 — three years before he ran for school board — Michael Jorudd was charged with DUI. He later pleaded guilty to reckless driving, according to county records. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and fined $1,500, according to records.
Earlier this year, a Lake County Chancery Court moved to demolish a structure he owned in Ingleside because it was in a “dangerous, unsafe and dilapidated condition.” He later obtained a permit to remodel the structure, and the county subsequently dropped its bid to demolish.
The chancery court filing lists both names: Michael Jorudd with a notation that he is also known as Michael Carbone.
Carbone, who is running as a Republican, said he legally changed his name in 2009. That’s the year that Carbone won election as a write-in candidate for school board “citing his concerns over increasing property taxes and lack of transparency,” his Web bio indicates.
Lake County records show a civil filing to change the name of a minor related to Carbone, whose last name was changed to Askeland Carbone from Jorudd. The petition lists Michael Jorudd and his wife as submitting the request for the minor, but records in Lake County did not show Carbone’s own petition. His real estate broker license is listed under Carbone, but his 2011 tax bill is addressed to Michael Jorudd, records show.
On Friday, he said his name was officially changed in 2010 and he has the documentation to prove it. He said he had to submit both names in his statement of candidacy and his opponent in the race could have pulled his file, just as he pulled his opponent’s file.
“I also changed all the kids’ names,” he said.
He did notify the Illinois Secretary of State’s office of a name change on March 5, 2009 — from Michael R. Jorudd to Michael R.A. Carbone. “I had to submit the name change documentation to get the license,” he said Friday.
In 2003, he was charged with criminal trespass to land and assault for what he described as an incident at a bar.
“I was in a bar. There was a situation that occurred with an under-aged drinker giving me a hard time,” he said. “I said, I’m not going to leave. The law states that if somebody asks you to leave a business and you don’t (it’s trespassing). That’s the law. Assault was because two bartenders grabbed me. . . . I told them they didn’t have a right to hit me.”
Records show he was given 30 hours community service and one-year supervision on the trespassing charge and that the assault charge was dropped.
His opponent in the Nov. 6 election, however, said Carbone has been far from open about his situation.
“The only name we’ve ever known him by is Michael Carbone,” said Lake County Board member Terry Wilke, a Democrat whom Carbone is challenging. “I’m a little unclear if he were to win — how would he take the seat? It’s not his real name. . . . The whole thing is so weird that it’s disconcerting to me. It’s not for me to judge anybody, that’ll be up to the voters.”
Carbone’s name is well known in parts of Lake County, where he’s made headlines as a lightning rod as a school board member for Grayslake Community Consolidated Schools District 46. The board voted to censure him in 2011 because he allegedly tried to get a password to a district computer system to find out if teachers were ditching class to attend pro-union rallies in Madison, Wis. Carbone denied wrongdoing.
“The trouble with things is no one’s perfect,” Carbone said. “I’ve made my mistakes in life. I think what people will learn is hopefully you’ll learn from them and don’t repeat them over.” And he says his arrest record has nothing to do with his current race.
“I would think most people would be forthright about a name change or a criminal record — especially if I were running for office,” Wilke said. “I’ve had one name my entire life. I don’t change my name when I run for office to hide things or not to hide things.”
Carbone says he smells politics and he will continue in the race. “Absolutely, no reason for me to quit. I plan on winning.
“To come out 10 days before the election, you can see it’s pure politics. The problem is no one knows who he (Wilke) is,” he said.
“What’s important is what makes me different than my opponent, what I accomplished in three years on the school board,” he said.
Natasha Korecki, Dan Rozek and Frank Abderholden contributed to this report