County Democrats rebuke Ald. Jim Gardiner, strip him of committee posts for ‘rude, vulgar conduct’ in texts

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45th Ward Ald. Jim Gardiner
Ald. Him Gardiner (45th) | Rich Hein/Sun-Times file

Toni Preckwinkle, the chair of the party, also stripped the Northwest Side alderperson of his posts on party committees.

The Cook County Democratic Party on Monday officially rebuked Ald. Jim Gardiner (45th) and its leader removed the alderman from his party posts in response to “misogynistic, homophobic, and obscene language” in texts first published last month.

The rebuke comes after an “appropriate inquiry” that included media reports, social media posts and Gardiner’s public remarks and written responses regarding his conduct, the party said in a statement.

“There are numerous examples of personal invectives and insults, uncontrolled rants, and verbal abuses accompanied by boorish, obnoxious, repugnant, rude, and vulgar conduct — over the past two years,” the party’s statement continued. “These actions — the epitome of incivility — are abhorrent and despicable, have no place in public discourse, and bring disrepute upon our Party.”

Along with rebuking Gardiner, Toni Preckwinkle, the chair of the party, stripped the Northwest Side alderman of his posts on all of party committees.

Gardiner did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The party’s rebuke and Gardiner’s removal from his committee assignments could be minor in the scheme of things. Along with facing calls for censure from his colleagues, Gardiner faces an inquiry by the Chicago Board of Ethics and is said to be the subject of an FBI probe into his conduct.

That conduct was first exposed by The People’s Fabric, an anonymous blog billing itself as a political watchdog on the Northwest Side.

In texts released by that blog, Gardiner refers to Ald. Tom Tunney (44th), the Council’s first openly gay alderman, as a “b—-” and said “f— him.”

In another text, Gardiner refers to Anne Emerson, chief of staff to Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) as that alderman’s “b—-.”

In yet another text message, he potentially talked about withholding services from a constituent and said, “f— that c—.” That constituent donated to another aldermanic candidate in 2019, according to The People’s Fabric.

Gardiner went on an apology tour last month for the text messages, including a meeting with two of the women he denounced in his text messages — Emerson and Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s political consultant Joanna Klonsky — as well as an apology on the council floor.

He also apologized to Waguespack and Tunney for the profane and abusive text messages about them or their top aides exposed by The People’s Fabric.

Gardiner has maintained he’s “never withheld nor have I ever instructed or condoned my staff to withhold city services from any resident.”

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October 18, 2021 at 10:51AM

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