The whereabouts of Michael Walkup have become somewhat of a mystery.
McHenry County Board members who work with Walkup and consider him a friend have revealed to the Northwest Herald that the District 3 representative and former board chairman has left the state.
“My understanding is that he is in Minnesota in the Minneapolis area,” said County Board member Donna Kurtz, who considers Walkup a friend.
Kurtz talks with Walkup on the phone twice a week, she said. His whereabouts have come up in their conversations.
“His family has had some health issues. At this point, he’s up there. I don’t think he owns any property here,” Kurtz said.
Another County Board member who asked to remain anonymous said it was his understanding that Walkup skipped town for Minnesota.
In January, rumors surfaced that the County Board member representing District 3 residents had plans to sell the historic “Walkup house” at
5212 Walkup Road in Crystal Lake.
In March, that house sold to Keith and Christina Roth for $388,000. The couple now is transforming the property into an agriculture pad to house Madoli Farms.
The home telephone number listed for Walkup on the county’s website is disconnected.
The forwarding address listed on his most current property tax records is the home he sold to the Roth family.
When the Northwest Herald asked Walkup about the move in January, he would not comment.
On Thursday, he sent a text message that read: “I am temporarily out of town due to a serious health issue involving a family member. I have not relinquished legal residency in Illinois. I will have no further comment on this matter.”
Although Walkup now lives out of the state, he has attended the past several County Board meetings – but not in person.
He has requested in writing to attend remotely by telephone, a move approved every time by his board colleagues, County Board Chairman Jack Franks said.
“Mr. Walkup has been attending our meeting remotely, and has, pursuant to board rules, put his requests to do so in writing,” Franks said.
First elected to the County Board in 2012, Walkup was part of the first election that allowed McHenry County voters to directly choose their chairman. Walkup narrowly defeated incumbent Republican Joe Gottemoller in the March 2016 primary.
A month later, Franks announced his candidacy and withdrew from his race for a 10th term representing the 63rd Illinois House District. Franks defeated Walkup with more than
57 percent of the vote.
Gottemoller said he doesn’t have a problem with Walkup’s residency – as long as he plans to return.
“If you’re not coming back,” Gottemoller said, “you should resign.”