Residents Rally And Call On Ald. James Gardiner To Resign Amid Multiple Claims Of Abuse Of Power – CBS Chicago

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CHICAGO (CBS) — A rally was held on the Northwest Side Monday night, demanding the resignation of Ald. James Gardiner (45th).

As CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported, more residents are stepping forward with bold claims of aldermanic power abuse.

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The crowd in the rally outside Ald. Gardiner’s ward office at 5425 W. Lawrence Ave. chanted, “Hey hey! Ho ho! Gardiner has got to go!” They held signs – with one of them calling him a “liar,” a “stalker,” and a “misogynist,” and accusing him of “intimidation,” “homophobia,” and “abuse.”

“I’m raising three boys. I don’t want them to think this behavior is OK,” said 45th Ward resident Stephanie Livingston. “It’s absolutely not OK.”

Livingston is referring to a series of leaked text messages sent by Gardiner to a former staffer, who provided CBS 2 with screenshots.

Those who disagree with the freshman alderman are often targeted in the texts – among them a resident to whom he tried denying city services.

Gardiner also used slurs to refer to other city leaders such as Ald. Tom Tunney (44th), and expletives when describing women in Chicago politics.

James Suh was among those who rallied in front of Gardiner’s office Monday night, demanding that he resign.

Suh publicly opposed Gardiner on an issue, and the leaked texts show that the alderman wanted revenge — instructing a staffer to find and leak Suh’s criminal history and mug shot.

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The Office of the Inspector General is looking into the allegations.

“Those actions are currently under investigation,” Suh told the crowd.

Another constituent who criticized the alderman online had a brick tossed threw the window of a building she owns.

“This is like some gangster stuff, and it’s not OK,” Livingston said.

“We are fed up with his abuse of power, his misogyny, his harassment, and intimidation,” said Sara Gronkiewicz-Doran of United Northwest Side. “We don’t want excuses, and we don’t want apologies. We want him to quit his job because he is unfit to do it.”

Additional text messages and court documents that we had a chance to review today allegedly show Ald. Gardiner instructed a staff member to run a background check on a woman who has an order of protection taken out against him.

The alderman did not respond to our request for a comment Monday night, but The Network, a domestic violence advocacy group in Chicago, denounced the alderman’s behavior. Again, it appears the investigation into the alderman is just beginning and could be growing.

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Meanwhile, United Northwest Side has put together a Political Harassment and Information Toolkit, which offers advice if you feel harassed or retaliated against by an alderman.

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