CHICAGO (CBS) — With less than two weeks to go until election day, charges of dirty tricks have surfaced in the campaign for 45th Ward alderman.
Robocalls are falsely hinting at domestic abuse by Ald. John Arena and what’s more, it’s a tactic used against him before.
Ald. John Arena insists there’s no truth to the domestic battery smear and said reviving it is a sign of desperation from opponents, whoever they may be.
“I think we debunked this back in 2014 when these anonymous calls came out,” Arena said.
But now, the calls are back.
“(There’s) absolutely no truth to it. It’s disgusting lies about our family and I wish they’d stop,” said Arena’s wife Jill.
“It’s the exact same language, exact same voice, everything,” noted the alderman.
Five years ago, Arena’s major opponent was police lieutenant John Garrido, who denied supporting the robocalls. Today, it’s firefighter Jim Gardiner.
“If anybody who is doing that, I ask them to stop,” Gardiner said. “That is not, in my eyes, a productive way of running a campaign.”
Meantime, Gardiner acknowledged a former girlfriend filed an order of protection against him two years ago. A situation he addressed at an aldermanic forum.
And that raises questions for Arena about the robocalls.
When asked if it was a way to deflect from that troubling past, Arena said there’s just no way to know. He insisted he has no idea who’s behind the robocalls.
The robocall may reference a 911 call Arena’s wife made back in 2009 when she said her husband became disoriented due to a sleep apnea medicine.
There are two other candidates are also running in the 45th ward: Marilyn Morales and Robert Bank.