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Ald. Jim Gardiner Blasted For ‘Obscene’ Texts, Stripped Of Committee Positions By Cook County Democratic Party

Gardiner, who has been accused of withholding ward services from his critics and using foul language to describe women, also faces an FBI investigation.

Ald. Jim Gardiner at City Council on Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — Ald. Jim Gardiner was stripped of his role in all Cook County Democratic Party committees and formally reprimanded by the party Monday as federal and local investigations into the alderman’s conduct continue.

The rebuke comes after Block Club and neighborhood watchdog blog The People’s Fabric published leaked text messages showing Gardiner (45th) called his colleagues and constituents “b-tch” and “c-nt” — and sought to withhold city services from residents who criticized him.

After looking into media reports and Gardiner’s public remarks, “The Party has confirmed he has employed misogynistic, homophobic, and obscene language and engaged in verbal harassment, against a colleague, a staff member of another, and his own constituents,” the party said in a statement.

“There are numerous examples of personal invectives and insults, uncontrolled rants, and verbal abuses — accompanied by boorish, obnoxious, repugnant, rude, and vulgar conduct — over the past two years,” the statement reads. “These actions — the epitome of incivility — are abhorrent and despicable, have no place in public discourse, and bring disrepute upon our Party.”

Cook County Board President and party chair Toni Preckwinkle also stripped the alderman of all his committee posts, which included the Appellate Court Selection, Candidate Recruitment and Evaluation, Circuit Court Selection and Supreme Court Selection committees.

“By removing Commiteeperson Gardiner from his committees within the Cook County Democratic Party, recommended as the result of a formal inquiry, the Party is demonstrating that we have no tolerance for this type of abusive conduct and discriminatory language,” Preckwinkle said in a statement. “This decision affirms the Party’s commitment to our values and creating an organizational environment that is safe and welcoming to all people.”

Gardiner’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, the Democratic Committee person for the 49th ward, told Block Club the rebuke is a step in the right direction in holding Gardiner accountable for his actions.

She was among the 13 members of the committee who signed a formal party complaint against him last month.

“I am really glad to see many of my fellow committee people joined me in calling for this,” Cassidy said.

Even though the committee cannot legally remove him from the party, she said it was important that each body takes a stand.

“It’s gratifying to see Preckwinkle’s action,” she said.

Aside from a brief apology issued at a City Council meeting last month, the alderman has stayed out of the public eye and hasn’t attended recent ward-area meetings that he was invited to.

The FBI, Chicago Board of Ethics, the Circuit Court Clerk’s office and the Office of the Inspector General have also launched investigations into Gardiner’s behavior, according to sources and published reports.

More than two dozen aldermen also signed a letter condemning Gardiner for using sexist, foul language to describe colleagues and constituents in the leaked texts. Despite several calls for the alderman to make a public apology, he has failed to do so.

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