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Ald. Gardiner messes around and finds out: Feds reportedly eyeing alleged constituent retaliation

Tuesday, Sep 14, 2021

* Tribune

Federal investigators have launched an inquiry into Ald. Jim Gardiner’s conduct in office, including whether he retaliated against constituents for political purposes, sources told the Tribune.

FBI agents recently spoke to a variety of individuals with knowledge of Gardiner’s conduct, and approached Gardiner himself last week, sources said.

The probe is just the latest controversy facing the first-term alderman, who has been under scrutiny in recent weeks after text messages he apparently sent were made public by an anonymous Northwest Side group, The People’s Fabric, showing he referred to one City Council colleague as “a bitch” and the top aide of another council member as “his bitch,” and also used the term to describe a political communications consultant.

Block Club Chicago also published a story containing allegations that Gardiner sought to withhold services to constituents of his 45th Ward who have been critical of him and similarly used derogatory language to refer to constituents in texts that were later leaked. […]

Gardiner is facing two federal lawsuits, including one filed by a man who claimed the alderman had him wrongfully arrested in 2019 after he picked up a cellphone that Gardiner’s ward superintendent had inadvertently left at a 7-Eleven in Jefferson Park.

* Block Club Chicago

A Monday evening rally, organized by independent political organization United Northwest Side, brought residents to Gardiner’s office at 5425 W. Lawrence Ave. They decried the alderman’s vengeful tactics used against his critics shown through leaked texts, allegations that he refused city services to residents, and his sexist and misogynistic language toward constituents and City Hall staffers that residents say make him unfit to serve in public office.

Constituents who say they have been harassed or targeted by Gardiner also spoke at the rally. […]

Last week, Lightfoot called for the city’s Office of the Inspector General to investigate Gardiner.

“No one should ever be denied access to city services because of their political opinion, whom they may have supported in an election. That’s just not how we do things,” Lightfoot said at an unrelated news conference. “We’re never gonna support any effort to deny people access to city services. It’s fundamental.”

* More…

* ‘Do Not Help Her’: After Texts Show Ald. Jim Gardiner Called Constituent A ‘C-nt,’ Council Members Want Him Punished

* Ald. Jim Gardiner Used His Power To Seek Revenge Against His Critics, New Texts Show

* A to-do list for Ald. Jim Gardiner - The alderman’s apologies for his stunningly hateful and misogynistic streak are not enough.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

31 Comments »
  1. - Yes, but - Tuesday, Sep 14, 21 @ 10:30 am:

    Gardiner seems to be a real scum. Just wondering, though, how they got his texts. Any clue?


  2. - Nagidam - Tuesday, Sep 14, 21 @ 10:38 am:

    I would bet a politician retaliating against an adversary has been going on since the beginning of time. Most aren’t stupid enough to put it in writing. None of this is acceptable. It will be interesting to see what the Feds come up with. I would also bet that if a person donates money to a politician they get calls back versus someone that doesn’t. Should this be looked at? In this instance it would be lack of providing a service without a monetary enticement.


  3. - Amalia - Tuesday, Sep 14, 21 @ 10:40 am:

    @Yes, but There is a group…People’s Fabric…. that unearthed it, I believe in relation to a case. and there is another group…United Northwest Side…which re Block Club unveiled their Political Harassment and Intimidation Toolkit which gives examples of not only this ward but others in the area with Council Members who intimidate people and how to fight against that. What is up out there?


  4. - hisgirlfriday - Tuesday, Sep 14, 21 @ 10:42 am:

    @Yes - At least one of the Block Club stories said they reviewed texts from a former staffer of Gardiner’s


  5. - Cheryl44 - Tuesday, Sep 14, 21 @ 10:44 am:

    Yes, but—https://www.peoplesfabric.com/


  6. - sal-says - Tuesday, Sep 14, 21 @ 10:47 am:

    == The alderman’s apologies for his stunningly hateful and misogynistic streak are not enough. ==

    Apologies? It’s who he is. It’s his actions.

    Rule of Life #30: It’s OK to be stupid if you’re smart enough to hide it.


  7. - OneMan - Tuesday, Sep 14, 21 @ 10:54 am:

    The police department seems to have a small room at my local Walmart, do you think at this point the FBI has one at City Hall?

    But seriously this guy seems like a complete tool. You read some of these stories and think the guy should have never gotten into politics.


  8. - 14th ward - Tuesday, Sep 14, 21 @ 10:55 am:

    From what I was told, he has gone thru staff quite regularly. And might of stiffed paying for signs and banners,


  9. - 14th ward - Tuesday, Sep 14, 21 @ 10:59 am:

    Sounds like another Proco Joe Moreno III


  10. - Amalia - Tuesday, Sep 14, 21 @ 11:00 am:

    fun fact, the Q bridge lady who just died lived in a house on Mobile in Ward 45. Made for TV movie in the making.


  11. - ;) - Tuesday, Sep 14, 21 @ 11:01 am:

    This is what the feds have time for? And meanwhile, 261 children have been shot as a result of the violence committed by organized gangs across the south and west sides of the city, residents are being assaulted and robbed as they cross the street at normal hours and carjackings are rampant across Chicagoland, and business and property owners across Chicago have still not received any justice or almost no arrests or prosecutions for the looting, thefts, and property damage they all suffered over the past year. Good job Feds, really taking on the heavy lifting and protecting the public.


  12. - Annonin' - Tuesday, Sep 14, 21 @ 11:01 am:

    The conduct is disgusting, but in a city that seems to have random gun battles going in many neighborhood fueled by guns supplied from straw purchasers it is inconceivable the FBI would have time for this.


  13. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Sep 14, 21 @ 11:01 am:

    Jim Gardiner better not lie to the FBI

    Maybe Gardiner embracing who he is will be his hubris imploding to his own end


  14. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Sep 14, 21 @ 11:04 am:

    ===meanwhile===

    Friend… the FBI in Chicago has a whole division dedicated to public corruption.

    Your rant is not in line with what exactly the FBI is doing in regards to public corruption, and the assets here in Chicago dedicated towards its investigation


  15. - charles in charge - Tuesday, Sep 14, 21 @ 11:07 am:

    He needs to resign. Regaining constituents’ trust is an impossibility at this point. Petty, vindictive, misogynistic, and unethical . . . that’s just who Jim Gardiner is.


  16. - JoanP - Tuesday, Sep 14, 21 @ 11:09 am:

    This may come as shock to some of the commenters here, but the FBI is quite capable of doing more than one thing at a time.


  17. - Fav Human - Tuesday, Sep 14, 21 @ 11:10 am:

    While he may well be one of the more scummy alderman (not exactly a low bar to leap over, either)

    I wonder what Fed. Criminal statute was violated?

    Honest services? If not doing your job is a Fed Crime, K Foxx would surely rate higher in that category…..

    Or maybe Aldermen need to grant themselves Aldermanic discretion?


  18. - Lefty Lefty - Tuesday, Sep 14, 21 @ 11:14 am:

    A quick shout out to Block Club Chicago. They do amazing journalism every day; proud to be a subscriber.


  19. - Donnie Elgin - Tuesday, Sep 14, 21 @ 11:15 am:

    Gardiner followers in steps of
    John(flip the bird )Arena both great leaders out of the 45th Ward Democrat orgainzation

    https://chicago.suntimes.com/city-hall/2019/12/20/21032090/john-arena-jim-gardiner-45th-ward-chicago-accused-play-politics-using-city-job


  20. - Amalia - Tuesday, Sep 14, 21 @ 11:17 am:

    @JoanP….spot on.


  21. - Last Bull Moose - Tuesday, Sep 14, 21 @ 11:24 am:

    Public corruption is much more dangerous than the current level of violence. Violence today is like a flesh wound to the entire city, painful but not fatal.


  22. - Thomas Paine - Tuesday, Sep 14, 21 @ 11:43 am:

    @Donnie Elgin

    Stop it with the “Both Sides” unless you can link to a story about John Arena being investigated by the Feds.

    Former Alderman Arena flipping Gardiner The Bird:
    1) seems to reflect how a lot of 45 Ward residents are feeling right now and

    2) Falls clearly within the US Constitutions protections for free speech, of which the right to tell your elected officials exactly what you think of them is probably enshrined as the most protected speech.

    That does remind me though, who besides the Chicago Tribune and Dan Proft do we have to thank for giving us Gardiner?


  23. - misterjayem - Tuesday, Sep 14, 21 @ 11:45 am:

    “I wonder what Fed. Criminal statute was violated?”

    The federal mail and wire fraud statutes are exceptionally broad, applying to anyone who “transmits or causes to be transmitted by wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce any writings *** for the purpose executing *** [a] scheme or artifice.”

    More recently, 18 U.S.C. § 1346 was added to make it clear that the term “scheme to defraud” encompassed schemes to defraud another of the right to honest services.

    And that’s why you shouldn’t use a phone to be nasty to your constituents.

    – MrJM


  24. - Leslie K - Tuesday, Sep 14, 21 @ 11:53 am:

    ==This may come as shock to some of the commenters here, but the FBI is quite capable of doing more than one thing at a time.==

    Well said.


  25. - ChicagoBars - Tuesday, Sep 14, 21 @ 11:55 am:

    No idea if Alderman Gardiner survives this but if he doesn’t Mayor Lightfoot would appoint his replacement which would blow a healthy chunk of 45th Ward minds.


  26. - yinn - Tuesday, Sep 14, 21 @ 12:08 pm:

    ==Most aren’t stupid enough to put it in writing.==

    I’ve got a collection of dismissive, hostile, even abusive email exchanges with time stamps that show me this type of terrible person won’t wait five minutes to cool off before reacting if they think they’re punching down.


  27. - 17% Solution - Tuesday, Sep 14, 21 @ 12:30 pm:

    == almost no arrests or prosecutions for the looting, thefts, and property damage they all suffered over the past year.==
    What on earth are you talking about? There have been many arrests and prosecutions. Where’s your proof?


  28. - Amalia - Tuesday, Sep 14, 21 @ 12:36 pm:

    @ChicagoBars, maybe the Mayor could appoint the Alderman’s wife. THAT would be really interesting
    @Thomas Paine, we have to thank the entire NW side first responders network who actually market candidates that way, including the 38th ward alderman and state senate candidate and judicial candidates….the judicial candidates lost. the ringleader is the 41st ward alderman who appears on Fox News lots.


  29. - TheInvisibleMan - Tuesday, Sep 14, 21 @ 1:25 pm:

    – And that’s why you shouldn’t use a phone to be nasty to your constituents. –

    During the board meeting last night, one of the plainfield village board members played a voicemail left on his personal phone left by the now former mayor of plainfield, which contained among other things criticizing the board member for his openness and encouraging of public comments at board meetings.

    The husband of another board member often threatens other residents on the phone for daring to criticize his wifes actions on the board. To the point a member of the public asked me to walk with her to her car after a board meeting because of his presence at the meetings and the open threats.

    The now former mayor was also once a state police officer, and has used those connections for retaliation as well.

    Even when the county states attorney is presented with mountains of evidence, he refuses to enforce the relevant laws and press charges.

    Sadly, federal law enforcement involvement like this is the only hope for many areas.


  30. - Terry Salad - Tuesday, Sep 14, 21 @ 1:30 pm:

    He needs to resign. Many people gave him the benefit of a doubt when he was running for office (he had an order of protection against him for stalking an ex-girlfriend). But he has shown more than once that this IS who he is. Such behavior is sociopathic. An Alderman is a public servant. He cannot use his office to retaliate against his critics. And this seems to be exactly what he is doing.


  31. - Sonny - Tuesday, Sep 14, 21 @ 2:09 pm:

    Does giving elected officials a free pass to abuse and harass constituents because they are “too busy” fighting gangs really sound like a smart policy for law enforcement? I get that everyone thinks they are whataboutism powered geniuses but the deflecting being done in the name of this mistake of an alderman is not worth the keystroke. His job is representing 50,000 people and has spent two years trying to rule by bullying and terrorizing his constituents. He needs to resign.


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