Lightfoot urges investigation into Ald. Jim Gardiner for retaliation, misogynistic language

CHICAGO — Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot addressed allegations against 45th Ward Alderman Jim Gardiner Friday morning, urging an investigation into retaliatory behavior as well as misogynistic and derogatory language toward women.

“It was a text, I was referred to as Alderman Waguespack’s b**ch and I think he was trying to say dirty blonde, but the text was white girl with blonde dirty hair,” Finance Committee Chief of Staff Anne Emerson said.

The alleged language was leaked in apparent text messages, some dating back to 2019 when Gardiner ran for office.

“A consistent pattern of using misogynistic language about women, it’s unacceptable. Totally, utterly unacceptable,” Lightfoot said.

Constituents in the 45th Ward were hesitant to speak on camera, with one resident sharing her thoughts on the allegations anonymously.

“While he’s done a lot of good in the community with his meetings, I do not agree with what he’s saying about the females and all this. I don’t agree with his language and the things he’s saying, I wish he’d stop that,” one resident said.

Gardiner is also accused of withholding city services, such as permits from residents who criticize him, as well as urging a former staffer to leak court documents about a criminal charge against a constituent in retaliation.

“Accessing of privileged documents and denying constituents services are absolutely questions of legality involved and abuse of office, so I’m glad to hear several investigative bodies seem to be concerned,” Emerson said.

13 elected city leaders also signed on to this complaint condemning Gardiner’s alleged behavior, sent to the Cook County Democratic Party. An executive committee is expected to take up this issue and determine a course of action on Monday.

“No one should ever be denied access to city services because of their political opinion who they may have supported in an election, that’s just not how we do things,” Lightfoot said.

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