*** UPDATE *** Uh-oh…
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Neighbors of state Sen. Suzi Schmidt claim the lawmaker has been harassing them for more than a year, including a confrontation with their 7-year-old son, according to a no-contact order issued against her in conjunction with her arrest Tuesday.
In the court order, the neighbors claim they received a series of harassing calls, texts and emails from Schmidt starting in December 2010 and continuing until this February, despite repeated requests to stop.
A woman states that on March 19, Schmidt “confronted my 7-year-old son and made inappropriate comments to him about an alleged affair I am having with her soon to be ex-husband,” according to the order. […]
In the no contact order, the neighbors also assert that, on June 2, Schmidt “trespassed on our property, removing property from our yard and discarding into the swampy cattails and then proceeding to damage personal property.”
State Sen. Suzi Schmidt, who faced questions last fall of abusing her political influence during a domestic dispute, was arrested Tuesday on charges of damaging her neighbor’s bag of feed, according to police.
Schmidt was also charged with criminal trespass to property and was served with an emergency stalking no-contact order, according to the Lake County sheriff’s office.
Schmidt’s Lake Villa neighbor had warned her to stay off his property in the recent past, and the sheriff’s office obtained a warrant for her arrest last week after she went back on his property and damaged the bag of feed, police said.
“They can warn you, you are not welcome here, then if you violate that, they can have you arrested,” said Lake County sheriff’s Police Chief Wayne Hunter. “There has to be some type of forewarning.”
* Ramifications? Maybe…
Schmidt’s arrest makes her the second sitting member of the General Assembly to be embroiled in an ongoing criminal proceeding.
State Rep. Derrick Smith (D-Chicago) was arrested in March as part of an undercover FBI sting that allegedly nabbed him accepting a $7,000 bribe in exchange for writing a letter of support on behalf of a purported daycare operator seeking a $50,000 state grant. Charged with bribery, Smith faces possible expulsion from the Illinois House.
News of Schmidt’s arrest traveled quickly in political circles, with one senior party official saying privately that this latest development warrants Schmidt’s resignation and harms GOP efforts to hold on to the Lake County Senate seat now being fought for by Republican Joe Neal and Democrat Melinda Bush.
“Her entire situation is just tragic,” said Neal, the GOP nominee who won his primary with Schmidt’s backing. “I have no comment on whether she should resign or anything beyond that at this point.”
State Sen. Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills), chairman of the Lake County Democratic Party, said Schmidt’s arrest — after the regret she expressed for her conduct in the 911 recordings — is jolting.
“The thing that surprises me is she did what she did with the 911 and all of that, and I know Suzi has repeatedly said to me she regrets that she did that, that she wishes she could take those words back,” Link said. “Doing something like this, well, it surprises me something like this could happen.”
Link said he did not think Schmidt’s arrest, based on the scant information released by the sheriff’s office, would be enough to warrant action under Senate rules to launch disciplinary proceedings akin to what Smith is facing in the House.
“She didn’t embezzle anything. She didn’t steal anything. I don’t think this is a Derrick Smith type of thing,” he said.
This latest incident comes on the heels of a very public domestic dispute with her now estranged husband. Late last year 911 tapes were made public where Schmidt could be heard telling the dispatcher that she was the former County Board Chairman and to “ignore her husband” who had called police after a dispute. Schmidt then announced that she would not be seeking re-election. Robert Schmidt told the Chicago Tribune that he has since moved out of their home and that they are in the middle of a divorce.
A spokesperson for the state Republican staff told WLS News that lawmakers would be dealing with the matter.
Do you think she should be forced out?
Two of the most powerful legislators in Springfield ran their private businesses out of the offices of a crooked government contractor, according to documents obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.
State Rep. Edward Acevedo and state Sen. Tony Munoz won’t say why they had desks and computers for their businesses in the Southwest Side offices of Azteca Supply Co., whose owner and her husband await sentencing in a minority-contract fraud scheme.
The two Chicago Democrats — who each hold the title of assistant majority leader in the Illinois Legislature — have never listed the 4500 S. Kolin Ave. address on any business filings with the state of Illinois. Nor have they reported any business ties to Azteca on the financial disclosure forms that they are required to file each year with the legislature.
But an Azteca employee-turned-government-informant told the FBI that Acevedo and Munoz kept the desks and computers for their businesses at Azteca’s offices, according to a recently unsealed search warrant that led to the indictment and convictions of Azteca president Aurora Venegas and her husband, Thomas Masen.
The informant told federal investigators that the two lawmakers “acted as consultants/lobbyists” for the crooked contractor, according to a sworn statement FBI Special Agent Julia E. Meredith wrote to obtain the search warrant for the July 17, 2008, FBI raid on the offices of Azteca, which got millions of dollars in work from the city of Chicago and was the largest female-owned subcontractor on Mayor Richard M. Daley’s O’Hare Modernization Project.
Despite that sworn statement, the FBI did not search the desks belonging to the two legislators because they were “not believed to maintain business records of Azteca.”