"Its time to fight fire with fire:" Opponents of Hinsdale tax hike referendum ask police to investigate threatening social media posts
Opponents of a $166 million Hinsdale District 86 ballot initiative have asked police to investigate social media posts threatening them.
Zach Mottl, chairman of District 86 Can Do Better, a grassroots group that opposed the referendum, said that he spoke with Burr Ridge police on Nov. 12 about a series of disturbing posts on social media that allegedly targeted him and other volunteers.
The referendum was rejected by voters last week.
He said that police have agreed to look into the matter and would get back to him in a day or two with their findings. Mottl said that he’s looking into civil charges as well.
“Instead of accepting that no means no, they have continued to ramp up their bullying,” Mottl said, referring to some supporters of the “yes” movement represented by the Vote Yes For 86 group. “They used social media as their echo chamber of evil to bully us.”
The series of threatening Facebook postings allegedly appeared on the "D86 Strong" Facebook page, run by the Vote Yes For 86 campaign.
The messages came in response to a posting of an invitation to a cocktail reception Mottl sent out celebrating the defeat of the referendum, and a separate posting of Mottl’s home address. Mottl said that the invitation to the reception was inadvertently sent to a supporter of the referendum.
The event was scheduled for Friday at Butterfield Country Club in Oak Brook; it had to be canceled after posts that threatened to picket the entrance to the club, crash the party and boycott future events at the club.
Ann Kiperman, 48, of Hinsdale posted on Facebook that "being nice will get us more (property tax) cuts" and that the scheduled celebration was cause to "fight fire with fire."
John Czerwiec, 51, of Clarendon Hills responded with a photo of charred bodies.
"Fire fighters save lives," Czerwiec wrote. "Arsonists are murders (sic) who prefer smoke to blood."
West Cook News obtained photos of the posts before they were removed from Facebook.
Karen Warner, spokesperson for the D86, said that Superintendent Bruce Law and members of the board were unaware of any threatening posts from supporters of the referendum.
“Of course we do not condone violence or threats of any kind,” she wrote in an email.
The district’s referendum went down with 55 percent of the vote in an election with near record turnout.
The district argued that its two high schools, Central and South, needed the additional funding for updates and repairs. The Do Better D86, campaign said that the district had a history of over spending, and for decades has showed favoritism to Central over South.
The referendum, with interest, would have cost taxpayers close to a quarter of a billion dollars.
Hinsdale South High School was built in 1965 at a cost of $4.5 million, or $36 million in today's dollars. It has a capacity of 2,500, but currently houses 1,483 students, according to the Illinois State Board of Education.
Hinsdale Central High School has 2,786 students.
In 2017, the two schools received $90.2 million in tax revenue-- $84 million from property taxes-- and spent $94 million, or $22,913 per student.