* Last week was supposed to be a triumphant time for Congressman Chuy Garcia. He was about to be sworn in to Congress, his nemesis Ald. Ed Burke had been indicted and Garcia gave his full backing to one of Burke’s opponents…
On Wednesday, Congressman Jesus “Chuy” Garcia endorsed 28-year-old Tanya Patiño to unseat Burke, Chicago’s most powerful and longest-serving alderman. Patino is the girlfriend of Aaron Ortiz, the Garcia-backed political newcomer who defeated Burke’s brother, State Rep. Dan Burke (D-Chicago), in a primary race dominated by Edward Burke’s property tax reduction work for the riverfront hotel and condominium tower bearing the name of President Donald Trump.
Burke has run unopposed in 10 of the last 11 elections. He now has four challengers and has been targeted since his brother’s primary defeat.
On Wednesday, Garcia was asked whether he expects Burke to drop out of the race if he faced federal charges.
“It’s hard to say. Someone who has been a member of the Council for 50 years may not have considered how to live life differently,” Garcia said.
“He is having deep letting-go issues as it relates to the City Council. It’s what he knows. It’s what’s made him breathe for a long, long time.”
* But then this happened to one of Garcia’s closest allies…
Ald. Ricardo Munoz was arrested without incident at his 22nd Ward office Wednesday morning after physically assaulting his wife on New Year’s Eve, Chicago police said.
Munoz’s wife, Betty Torres-Munoz, filed Wednesday for an order of protection in Cook County Domestic Violence Court. She asked a judge to order Munoz to stay away from their residence and mixed breed dog, Rambo, and to pay her $1,000 a month in temporary support beginning next month.
In those court papers, she alleged that during a heated argument Monday night her husband “forcibly” grabbed and pushed her, causing her to fall and hit her back and head as well as twist her left arm.
“Ricardo had been drinking all day + was drunk,” she wrote.
* And then…
In a petition seeking an order of protection, the wife of Ald. Ricardo Munoz (22nd) claims she feared not only physical abuse at the hands of her husband but threats from gang members connected to him.
“Ricardo has connections (with) local gangs (and) individuals with criminal pasts who … have threatened my family in the past,” Betty Torres-Munoz wrote on the form she filled out Wednesday, seeking a court order barring the Munoz from having contact with her, the couple’s 16-year-old dog, or visiting the Little Village home they shared.
That order was granted by a Cook County judge on Thursday, a day after Munoz was arrested at his ward office on a misdemeanor domestic battery charge stemming from an alleged New Year’s Eve altercation.
Munoz, who announced this summer that he would not seek another term, pleaded not guilty and is free on bond. As he left the courthouse Thursday, Munoz told reporters he would “talk tomorrow,” but did not return calls from the Chicago Sun-Times on Friday.
* And then…
Bill Velazquez, the chief of staff to freshman Rep. Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia, D-Ill., resigned on Friday in the wake of a New York Times story detailing the account of a female staffer who worked with Velazquez on Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign and said he “laughed” after she brought a complaint to him about being sexually harassed.
Velazquez was a manager on the Latino outreach team of the Sanders campaign.
Garcia’s communications director Fabiola Rodriguez-Ciampoli said Friday in a statement that Garcia had accepted Velazquez’s resignation.
“They both agreed that the recent media stories that involved Bill had become a distraction from the work the Congressman needs to do for the people of Illinois’ 4th Congressional District, and from the work Bill was brought in to do,” Rodriguez-Ciampoli said.