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Governor Grants Pardon To Niles' Alpogianis

The former Niles trustee and owner of Kappy's received a full pardon from Gov. Quinn Friday. The removal of felon status would make him eligible to hold elected office again.

 

George Alpogianis was on his way to a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert Friday evening when he got a phone call from Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Church of America, who had been watching ABC7 news.

The archbishop conveyed news the Niles man has awaited for years: On Friday afternoon, Gov. Quinn granted Alpogianis a full pardon and expungement of felony crimes committed when he was a teenager. 

"I cried," said Alpogianis, 44, who owns Kappy's Restaurant in Morton Grove. "And then I felt a huge sense of relief.  I told my son 'I've worked 27 years to correct my wrong and be a better person.'"

Earlier:

The felony became an issue when Alpogianis ran for and was elected to a Niles trustee position in March 2009. He said he had been told by law enforcement that his six aggravated battery convictions for "a party that went bad" when he was a teen in 1984 would be reduced to misdemeanor level after he served probation back then. However, they were still classified as felonies in 2009, forcing Alpogianis to resign the trustee seat. Under Illinois law, felons may not hold elected office. 

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With the pardon, Alpogianis would be eligible to hold office. However, he would not say Sunday whether he'll run again in next spring's municipal elections, commenting that he has to assess his family and business situation first. 

After not being allowed to take office in 2009, Alpogianis hired an attorney to petition the Illinois Prison Review Board to clear his name. He had to write a detailed biography, and he submitted character reference letters from priests, school officials, government officials and people in law enforcement. He also in Springfield in January 2011 for a question and answer session. 

In recent years, Alpogianis has been active in starting a Cub Scout Pack and Boy Scout Troop at in Niles, putting up a and donating time and resources to many local charitable causes.

Alpogianis said that having the issue of his teenage transgressions brought up publicly in 2009 was difficult, because he thought he had served his time and put it behind him.

"It was hurtful," he said. "I had a hard time telling my children how to behave when they read all those articles about what I had done. As a son to my mother and father, I'm sure they were hurt by it. I made bad decisions as a teen, and hurt them."

Alpogianis feels grateful to people in the community for being supportive.

"We live in a great community," he said. "The people of our village are so great."

Alpogianis said his family planned to celebrate both the pardon and his grandmother's 98th birthday Sunday night. 

"It's a joyous occasion for my whole family," he said.

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Pat Craig July 16, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Americans believe in redemption. George Alpogianis' life as an adult shows the true character of the man and his pardon is well deserved. He has proven himself to be worthy of emulation and an upright citizen.
Malibu Bob July 16, 2012 at 02:54 PM
George has done so much for Niles. He got his act together years ago and it finally was recognized. I'd love to see him as Mayor of Niles!
Glenn Posner July 16, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Kudos to George. Good things happen to those who wait. Vindication.
Patch reinstates deleted accounts! July 16, 2012 at 03:49 PM
In the words of Rachel Green of Friends: Isn't that just kick-you-in-the-crotch, spit-on-your-neck, fantastic?
HARRY ACHINO July 16, 2012 at 05:13 PM
This is great news. George is a good man. If he does get back into Niles politics, it will be great for the village and he has my 100% support. Congrats George!
Jac Charlier July 17, 2012 at 02:46 AM
The lifelong effects of even a single felony conviction can be devasting. It is not a matter of "do your time and you are done"...it follows you wherever you go. Being held acountable for ones actions goes without question, yet with exceptions for violent, sexual and other very serious crimes especially when committed by adults, redemption must also be a trait of our justice system, and indeed our great American society. Our country does believe in second chances, and for that I am thankful.
George D. Alpogianis July 17, 2012 at 01:26 PM
Thank you to all for the wonderful comments and support! I will do my best on a daily basis to be a better person and keep to the American way.
Harry Gio July 17, 2012 at 01:47 PM
B R A V O !!!
Joe LoVerde July 17, 2012 at 02:09 PM
George, I said at the board meeting of JUne 23, 2009 in which you read your resignation; I look forward to the day this is behind you and I look forward to the day I work with you on this board. Please don't give up because the community needs people like you. Congratulations and thanks for not giving up! Joe

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