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Ald. Jim Gardiner Threatened Team Collecting Signatures For Opposing Campaign, Volunteer Says

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NORWOOD PARK – Ald. Jim Gardiner is under investigation again after a volunteer from one of his challengers said the commissioner threatened to punch him.

Portions of the discussion were captured on video and shared with the Block Club. The video shows two volunteers from Marija Tomic, who is running against Gardiner, talking to a woman and child outside a Norwood Park home on November 26, when Gardiner arrives with someone and gets out of the car to talk to the procurers.

The Northwest Side’s anonymously run political blog The People’s Fabric was first to post the video.

After the woman signs the petition, Gardiner spends a few minutes talking to the touts before the woman, the child and one tout leave, the video shows.

Andrij Skyba, a Tomic promoter who was present at the time, said Gardiner accused him and other volunteers of lying about him to the woman who signed the petition.

Skyba told Gardiner that wasn’t true and tried to walk away, she said.

“If you’re going to campaign, run a clean campaign,” Gardiner is heard telling Skyba and others.

Jim Gardiner and Election CanvassersJim Gardiner and Election Canvassers

The woman and child tried to get into the car to leave, but Gardiner blocked the driver’s side, asking why he had signed the opposite petition, Skyba said.

“That’s basically where he started getting angry,” Tomic told Block Club. Tomic didn’t witness the crash, but his volunteers told him so, he said.

The volunteers and the woman who signed the petition told Gardiner to leave and “back off,” but the commissioner tried to intimidate them by walking up to their faces, Skyba said.

“He’s red-faced, clenched fist, and he gets down to it with another volunteer, right into him, like, ‘What are you looking at?'” Skyba said.

Ring camera video, provided to sources by the homeowner, does not show this. Sources said it happened out of view of the camera.

“It wasn’t a good scene at all,” Skyba said.

The video then shows Gardiner and the other person walking back to their car. But the commissioner turned away after one of Tomic’s volunteers said, “I can’t believe you’re doing this,” intending to question a constituent about his signature and stop propagandists from harassing them, Tomic and Skyba said.

Gardiner then walks towards the volunteer, yelling “Run a clean campaign; you know what you’re talking about,” shows the video.

Skyba told police and the Block Club that she thought Gardiner said she was going to hit him at that point.

No injuries were reported and detectives are investigating, police said.

The woman who signed the petition did not respond to requests for comment.

“It was very intimidating,” Skyba said. “The way I saw it, it was steam coming out of his ears. … He was trying to provoke, and neither I nor the other volunteers would give it to him.

The incident made Gardiner look unprofessional and he should be ashamed of his actions, especially in front of a small child, Skyba said.

The experience is the second time Skyba has been threatened while collecting petitions for Tomic, she said. A few weeks ago, a man yelled at him to get off the lawn after asking for signatures, he said.

Skyba also filed a police report about the incident, he said.

Tomic said she’s not sure why Gardiner approached her team, but she shouldn’t intimidate volunteers or voters.

“The fact that he’s intimidating volunteers, as well as voters, has me baffled as surely as others, because he’s under investigation,” Tomic said. “This is not the time to be acting like that. I mean, we know he’s got it in, but I’m just as shocked as everyone else.

Tomic said Gardiner could also be collecting signatures in the area, since Norwood Park recently became part of the 45th Ward under the new remap.

In a statement sent to Block Club, Gardiner called the video “highly edited” and a “desperate attempt to gain influence while drawing attention away from relevant issues affecting our community,” but did not answer specific questions about the incident. .

The video “wasn’t edited at all,” Skyba said.

The videos obtained from Block Club do not appear to be edited.

Later that day, after the crash, Tomic saw Gardiner in the area while he was stopped at a red light.

“He waved at me, which I thought was weird because I didn’t know he knew what I was driving,” Tomic said.

Tomic said she asked Gardiner about the argument and he told her he did nothing wrong.

The incident once again shows that the commissioner is a “loose cannon,” Tomic said.

“It’s disheartening to know that he should be in charge of our department,” she said.

Tomic, who lives in Jefferson Park, is one of five people hoping to unseat the aldermen fought in next year’s election.

Gardiner is facing multiple lawsuits it’s a series of allegations which include withholding protective services from his critics, using foul language to describe women, and potential misconduct.

The FBI, the Chicago Board of Ethics, the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office and the Office of the Inspector General have investigations launched in the conduct of Gardiner in office.

Gardiner was elected in 2019 and is seeking a second term. He has $206,536 in his re-election campaign coffers, according to the most recent campaign disclosure report filed with the Illinois Board of Elections.

Listen to “It’s All Good: A Block Club Chicago Podcast”:

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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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