Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd Ward) demanded Thursday that Ald. Jim Gardiner (45th Ward) apologize for using an epithet to refer to his chief of staff and Ald. Tom Tunney (44th Ward) in text messages he sent to a former member of his staff.
The messages were first published by The People’s Fabric, an anonymous blog that has targeted Gardiner with a series of articles and requests for records using the Freedom of Information Act.
WTTW News confirmed the authenticity of the texts, but agreed not to identify their source because Gardiner’s former aide fears retaliation.
In one text, Gardiner refers to Waguespack Chief of Staff Anne Emerson as the alderman’s “b----.”
“It’s disgusting and deeply disappointing that a community leader thinks it’s necessary and appropriate to refer to a woman as a b----,” Emerson told WTTW News.
In another text, Gardiner refers to Tunney as a “b----” and notes that he stayed until the end of an unidentified meeting. “F--- him,” the text concludes.
Tunney, the chair of the powerful City Council Committee on Zoning, was the first openly gay man elected to the Chicago City Council. Tunney declined to comment to WTTW News.
Gardiner did not respond to a request for comment from WTTW News.
“Ald. Gardiner's statements are misogynistic, insulting and inappropriate,” Waguespack tweeted. “He owes my Chief of Staff, Ald. Tunney, and the public an apology.”
— Scott Waguespack (@ward32chicago) September 2, 2021
Gardiner, elected in 2019, has been surrounded by controversy since he took office after defeating former Ald. John Arena. In 2020, he was elected to serve as the 45th Ward’s Democratic committeeperson, making him one of the leaders of the Cook County Democratic Party.
State Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Rogers Park) who also serves as the 49th Ward’s Democratic committeeperson said she was disgusted by Gardiner’s texts.
“There is no place for misogyny & homophobia in our city council or our county party,” Cassidy tweeted. “Your constituents deserve better, your city and your party deserve better.”
There is no place for misogyny & homophobia in our city council or our county party. I am disgusted by Ald/Committeperson Gardiner’s actions and words here. Your constituents deserve better, your city and your party deserve better. https://t.co/DthpKFuVPW
— Rep. Kelly Cassidy (@RepKellyCassidy) September 2, 2021
Ald. Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez (33rd Ward) said she was not surprised by Gardiner’s comments.
“I’m still deeply disappointed in my colleague and his absolute disrespect for my colleague, the staffer, and all the women he has mistreated in this way,” Rodriguez Sanchez said. “It’s shameful behavior that needs to be called out and condemned.”
In June, a woman was arrested and charged with two misdemeanors after driving her SUV into the yard of a Jefferson Park home, destroying half of the garden and hitting a neighbor’s car.
As first reported by Block Club Chicago, Pete Czosnyka told police his home was targeted because of his vocal criticism of Gardiner.