He runs the town. He's accused of doing crack. And he won't step down. Welcome to Hebron, Illinois

A small town in Illinois is facing its very own Rob Ford-type political crisis. Police arrested the village president a few weeks ago and charged him with possession of crack cocaine. But, despite the allegations, John Jacobson is adamant he won't quit.
John Jacobson, the village president of Hebron, Illinois, has been charged with drug possession and unlawful possession of a firearm. (McHenry Country Sheriff's Office/villageofhebron.org)

Robert Kruse now knows how people in Toronto felt when Rob Ford was mayor.

"We all made our jokes about it. But now, of course, the joke's on us," he tells As It Happens host Carol Off.

Kruse lives in Hebron, Illionois, where the village president is resisting calls to resign, after being charged with possession of crack cocaine.

Rob Ford also resisted calls to step down, during his term as mayor of Toronto, when faced with allegations of crack use. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)

Police charged John Jacobson in late March — after they found the village president unconscious in his bathroom in his underwear — with cocaine possession and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Despite a petition calling for him to step down, Jacobson says he's not going anywhere. He told residents at a public meeting Monday that the alleged wrong-doing has nothing to do with his ability to govern.

Kruse doesn't buy that argument.

"We're in a tornado zone. What if a disaster hits in the night time?," he says. "We've got an old downtown district, what if there's a fire? What's he going to do? Wake up after he passes out at night and get up in the morning and read about it in the papers?"

Some people in Hebron, Illinois would prefer the village be known for Monique Weingart, who was a contestant on America's Next Top Model. (Instagram)

Kruse says the village president is an embarrassment to a town that has lots to be proud of. The water tower commemorates the year that the high school basketball team became state champions. Native daughter Monique Weingart was on America's Next Top Model. Resident Ian Johnson was on America's Got Talent for yo-yoing. And a local man has one of the world's largest collections of barbed wire.

"That's the kind of people we have in our town and that's what we want to be known for," he says.

Kruse says people around town are now joking about painting their water tower to look like a giant crack pipe.

The village of Hebron, Illinois is facing a political crisis not unlike the one in Toronto during Rob Ford's term as mayor. (villageofhebron.org)

Jacobson was elected in 2013, shortly after an earlier charge of cocaine possession. He plead guilty to a lesser misdemeanor charge. In 2014, he plead no contest to reckless driving to resolve a drunk driving case. He also lost his job at a local college for viewing pornography at work.

But he cannot legally be removed from his post as village president unless he is convicted of a felony. Kruse is skeptical that the trial will conclude before Jacobson's term is up in 2017. He says his only hope is to shame Jacobson into leaving.

"If enough people start talking about it, I'm sure we can put some pressure on him."