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Mayor Acknowledges ‘Character Failures’

January 10, 1989

KEWANEE, Ill. (AP) _ Mayor Emerit Lindbeck says he knows he has some ″character failures.″

His indictment in a vote-fraud case caused a stir in this west-central Illinois community of 16,000 people. Then, he was accused of slugging a man dressed as Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.

″If I’ve done anything wrong, I’m sorry. And I will change,″ Lindbeck vowed at the close of Monday’s City Council meeting. ″I want you to know I wouldn’t do anything to harm this community in which I was born and raised.″

″I hate the publicity. I know I have certain character failures. Maybe at times I’ve displayed them - most recently, I’m sure,″ he said.

″A few days ago I visited my parents,″ the mayor said. ″I was embarrassed to go.

″They said ... ‘You’re getting to be known all over the state of Illinois and probably farther, and that may be good or bad. But there’s one spot where you’re not really known that well. And that’s church.’

″I accept that advice,″ he said.

Lindbeck has pleaded innocent to allegations that he struck Ronald Heal, Kewanee Township clerk and a political rival, in a dispute at a party on Christmas Eve.

Heal, who was dressed as Santa Claus, said he suffered a black eye, facial cuts and a split lip.

In the vote-fraud case, the mayor - charged with forgery and mutilation of election materials - was indicted along with several other current and former officials. They all pleaded innocent.

″As I said before, I’m confident this will all work out,″ Lindbeck told the council Monday. ″I’m very proud to have been elected to serve the community over the past 10 years, and I’m still the mayor of Kewanee. Hopefully, and proudly, I will continue to be.″

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