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Aurora alderman-at-large rips opponent

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM

AURORA — Richard Irvin, the incumbent candidate in the alderman-at-large race, questioned opponent Judd Lofchie’s record as an attorney Tuesday night.

In a letter Irvin says he plans to mail to voters, he highlights the 1994 suspension of Lofchie’s law license.

“We cannot afford to have anyone in a position of such power who has been disciplined for being unethical and dishonest,” Irvin wrote. Both Lofchie and Irvin are attorneys.

According to Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission records, Lofchie was suspended in 1994 for six months and ordered to give $27,500 in restitution to Lucyna Ostrowska. The suspension was lifted in 1995.

The suspension involved a case where Lofchie represented a seller in a real estate transaction. Before the sale, Ostrowska put $27,500 in a holding account as a good-faith deposit that she would buy a building from Chicago Title. But she backed out just before the deal closed.

According to court records, Lofchie still paid $25,500 to his client, and retained $2,000 in attorney fees. Lofchie said a senior attorney had advised him that Chicago Title could keep the buyer’s money.

“My clients threatened me that if I gave it back, against the terms of the contract, they would sue me,” Lofchie said.

Lofchie said the suspension has been public knowledge for 17 years.

Irvin also wrote that Lofchie had been suspended for more than two decades in the District of Columbia.

Lofchie said, and records confirm, that he wasn’t suspended. His membership to the D.C. Bar had been canceled because he hasn’t practiced law there since 1987. Lofchie said he failed to pay dues of $262.

Irvin stood by his claims in the letter, which he expects to mail next week.

“When a person’s integrity, honesty and truthfulness is questioned, I think it’s important for voters to know,” he said. “I expect my opponents will be making differences between me and them as well.”

Lofchie was disappointed with Irvin’s letter. “I am not surprised by Mr. Irvin bringing this up at the last minute in another attempt to distract voters from the issues, which he seems uninterested in addressing in a fair and open way,” Lofchie said. “I do not plan to stoop to his level.”

Irvin took softer jabs at candidates Kevin Mathews and write-in Matt Harrington.

Irvin said he did not agree with Mathews on a few issues in the letter, ranging from public-private partnerships to federal and state grants. Mathews said that he has no problem with businesses and charities doing good work. “If the city wants to create connections and facilitate events without our tax money, that’s fine,” Mathews said.

Irvin wrote that he disagreed with Mathews’ position on grant funding, stating that Mathews believes the city should not accept grants. Mathews concurred.

“We have no right to take money from the state and federal government and redistribute (the funds) on articles of benevolence in this community,” he said. “Our children and grandchildren are the ones that will be paying that debt.”

Irvin claims Harrington has not lived in Aurora long enough to hold public office.

Harrington said while he has not lived in Aurora his whole life, he has been aware of Aurora’s problems for more than 10 years. He moved to Aurora in November 2009, he says.

Irvin said this letter will be mailed to about 10,000 Aurora households next week.

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