HUMBOLDT PARK — A new mailer produced by Ald. Roberto Maldonado’s campaign accuses one of his opponents, Theresa Siaw, of lying about where she lives and works.
The top of the mailer, commissioned by Citizens for Roberto Maldonado, reads, “Why has multi-millionaire Theresa Siaw shown a pattern of dishonesty?”
The mailer goes on to allege that Siaw does not work as director for OMNI Healthcare like she claims and that she spends more time in her suburban Burr Ridge home than her Humboldt Park one. Candidates must live in the ward they seek to represent.
Siaw is one of two candidates running to unseat Maldonado, who has held the 26th Ward seat since 2009. Local developer David Herrera’s name will also appear on the ballot.
In the lead-up to the election, Siaw has identified herself as the director of OMNI Healthcare, a network of medical clinics with a location in Humboldt Park. She is listed as the director on OMNI’s website.
But Norwegian American Hospital, which pays the lease on the Humboldt Park outpost at 2720 W. Division St., called Siaw’s employment into question.
In the mailer is a letter from the hospital: “[Siaw] is not the director of the Clinic. … If this continues, the Hospital will pursue any and all legal remedies against it,” the letter reads.
Sandra Martinez, spokeswoman for Norwegian American Hospital, said the letter “clearly states the facts and Norwegian’s position.”
But Norwegian American Hospital does not oversee Omni — owner Dr. Vivek Gupta does.
Martinez said the hospital works “strictly” with Dr. Gupta.
Reached by phone, Gupta said Siaw worked in business development at OMNI before launching her campaign. He said the issue may be a matter of semantics.
“You can carry different titles,” Gupta said of Siaw’s “director” title. “I don’t have a title myself. Depending on what [Siaw] needed to do, she would have different titles.”
So, Siaw did in fact work for OMNI.
The mailer also accuses Siaw of not spending any time in her Humboldt Park home, located in the 3500 block of West Hirsch Street, with testimony from an unnamed neighbor.
“The house is empty 99 percent of the time,” the neighbor is quoted as telling an elections hearing officer in the mailer.
The mailer lastly makes mention of Siaw’s cars, which it says are registered in suburban Burr Ridge — not Chicago.
Siaw has acknowledged she’s not a native Humboldt Parker. She told Block Club she grew up on the Southeast Side but spent the bulk of her teenage years in suburban Elgin and Hindsdale.
Siaw was not available for an interview Monday, but issued a statement through her spokeswoman.
“I chose to give up my directorship in order to focus on running for office. At the end of the campaign, I plan to resume my position as the Business Development Director of OMNI,” Siaw said in the written statement.
Addressing the accusation about her living situation, Siaw wrote, “I do live in Humboldt Park in my home on Hirsch and have for the past two years. I have not lived with my family since 2010 in Burr Ridge. The home is maintained by a family trust.”
A spokeswoman for Siaw’s campaign added that Norwegian American Hospital cannot speak on behalf of OMNI because it only leases one of its locations.
In an email, Maldonado’s campaign spokesperson, Rod McCulloch, said the hospital “raised the alarm” about Siaw’s work status and his office uncovered the rest “by doing due diligence (the kind the media used to do).”
McCulloch said the mailer “simply accurately reflected the concerns of her ‘neighbors.'”
“The voters of the 26th Ward have a right to know that a candidate is lying to them about where she lives and works as well as other matters, which she did,” McCulloch said in an email.
“In the real world, lying about such basic facts on your resume about where you live and work is disqualifying for the job applied for. We believe it will be in politics as well.”
On the attack ad, Herrera, Maldonado’s second opponent, said he wants to “steer clear from all of the mud-slinging,” and that he “believe[s] that the voters should consider the aptitude and merits of each candidate; basing their decision on who will effect positive change for the community and represent them at City Hall.”
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