LITTLE VILLAGE — Ald. Ricardo Muñoz (22nd) plans to return to City Hall Friday after being away for two months following a domestic battery charge and stint in rehab.
The outgoing veteran alderman, who was charged with domestic violence for allegedly attacking his wife on New Year’s Eve, said he will attend the Economic, Capital and Technology Development Committee meeting Friday.
This will be the first time Muñoz be at City Hall since he checked himself into rehab following the domestic battery charge.
Muñoz told Block Club Thursday that he was “still working.”
The City Council committee is set to vote on a tax break for a controversial plan to convert a the old Crawford Coal Plant in Little Village into a massive distribution facility, which Muñoz has supported.
Last month, aldermen delayed the vote on the tax break after opponents said the plan would bring more pollution and diesel truck congestion to the burdened community. Muñoz was absent from that meeting.
An order of protection previously issued in Muñoz’s case banned him from entering the Cook County building attached to City Hall. Muñoz wife, Betty-Torres-Muñoz, works in that building.
On Wednesday, a Cook County judge approved an agreement for the Little Village alderman to return to the home he shares with his wife, according to the Sun-Times.
Despite the agreement, Muñoz said he has no immediate plans to return home. Instead, he’ll be staying in suburban Elgin, near the hospital where he is receiving outpatient rehab treatment for alcoholism
“Bottom line, I’m staying in Elgin,” Muñoz said.
Earlier this month, Muñoz said that he was at rehabilitation facility in Dundee, Ill.; he was previously at an Indiana rehab facility.
Torres-Muñoz was granted an order of protection against her husband after telling the court Muñoz “‘forcibly’ grabbed and pushed her, causing her to fall and hit her back and head as well as twist her left arm” and had been drinking all day before the incident. He pleaded not guilty in the case.
Torres-Muñoz told reporters at the time the abuse was not new.
“This has been going on a long time,” she said. “Addiction, cheating — everything that goes with it. I didn’t come forward because of his public image. I finally came forward because I needed a life.”
But on Wednesday, Torres-Muñoz told reporters Muñoz didn’t beat her that night.
“He got upset and he grabbed me and when he let me go I lost my balance and, based on where I was standing, I fell,” she told the Sun-Times.
“He is absolutely not a wife beater … never was,” she added.
Muñoz has been open about his struggles with alcohol. When he told NBC5’s Carol Marin the news of his retirement, he said he revealed his alcoholism eight years ago in an effort to take “alcoholism and mental health out of the shadow.”
In July 2018, Muñoz announced he would leave his post as alderman after 25 years in office. Despite calls for him to step down, Muñoz previously told The Daily Line in January that he planned to “continue his life in public service,” finishing out his term. He is set to retire in May.
In the race to replace him in the 22nd Ward, Muñoz threw his support behind Democratic Committeeman and now-Alderman-elect Michael Rodriguez.
On Tuesday, Rodriguez captured 64 percent of the vote in the four-way race to replace Muñoz, according to the Chicago Board of Elections.
“We don’t do runoffs in the 22nd Ward,” Muñoz said Thursday. “It was a great victory…We have a great team.”
Muñoz was first appointed to the City Council by Mayor Richard M. Daley in 1993 and belongs to the council’s Latino and Progressive caucuses.
If you or someone you know is affected by domestic violence, please call The National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).”
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