PORTAGE PARK — A candidate running for office in the 45th Ward had an emergency court order filed against him last year by an ex-girlfriend.
Last year, Judge Sebastian Patti ordered James “Jim” Gardiner, an EMT looking to unseat Ald. John Arena, to have no contact with the woman, her family, friends, employer and co-workers.
The judge also prohibited Gardiner from “physically abusing, harassing or stalking” his ex-girlfriend or “interfering with [her] personal liberty.”
The emergency order of protection was initially filed in March of 2017 by a woman who used to date Gardiner, who said she feared he may have “severe depression or other mental health problems,” according to the affidavit attached to the court order.
Gardiner was reportedly in a relationship until July 2015 with the woman who filed the order. After they broke up the woman had “minimal contact” with Gardiner. However Gardiner reportedly started calling the woman in February of 2016, according to court documents.
“[The woman] was attempting to block James by phone or social media,” the court order alleges. “Since then James has attempted to contact [the woman’s] family and friends, going so far as to look up their work addresses” and looking for them there.
“James has sent several letters to [the woman’s] new address, which she did not disclose to James,” the order alleges. “Most recently, James found [the woman’s] new address and approached her while she was walking her dog.”
During that exchange the woman told Gardiner to stop trying to contact her and to stop following her down the street, the court papers said.
“[The woman] fears James will continue to try to contact her and her family and friends, and fears for James’ future, unpredictable behavior,” the court order said. “James has a flexible schedule so he can show up at unpredictable times.”
Gardiner said the court order was being brought up by his political opponents due to his “political aspirations.” He told Block Club the matter was never criminal in nature and that the order was in regards to a “civil matter” that he and the woman had dealt with and moved on from.
“My detractors believe it is necessary to expose an issue involving a past relationship, while shamelessly invading the privacy of a third party,” he said. “A no contact order was agreed upon, and was never violated while in effect. The order was eventually dropped.”
The initial emergency court order was in effect until March 19, 2017. It was terminated in May of 2017, according to county court records.
An attorney for the woman who filed the order of protection declined to comment for this story.
Before becoming an EMT for the Chicago Fire Department, Gardiner earned a teaching degree from Saint Xavier University in 2002 while he was an ironworker with Local 399 Stationary. After graduating from Saint Xavier he was also a special education teacher at Curie High School.
In August, he declared his intent to run for alderman and secured a place on the Chicago ballot last month.
As of Tuesday Friends to Elect Jim Gardiner had $12,777.77 cash on hand, including $7,777.77 from the candidate himself and $5,000 from Bridge Structural & Reinforcing Local #1.
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