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Proco Joe Moreno To Run For City Council Again After Legal Woes, Report Says

The controversial figure lost a 2019 re-election bid amid a series of scandals, but he said he has more work to do in the 1st Ward.

Former Ald. Proco Joe Moreno at City Hall.
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CHICAGO — Former Ald. Proco Joe Moreno, who’s faced a variety of legal woes and scandals, plans to run for City Council again.

Moreno told the Tribune’s A.D. Quig he wants to again lead the 1st Ward — though his guilty pleas and headline-grabbing cases could pose challenges to that bid.

Moreno could not immediately be reached for comment.

Moreno led the Northwest Side ward for nearly a decade before losing a 2019 re-election bid amid a series of scandals: Police were investigating whether he’d filed a false report when he’d said someone had stolen his car, prominent Chicago Democrats chastised his campaign for using their photos without permission on campaign flyers and a former aide accused him of sexual harassment.

Moreno denied the aide’s allegations.

But, in May 2019, after Moreno lost the re-election bid, he was arrested on felony charges of insurance fraud and obstruction of justice, with police and prosecutors saying he let a woman he was dating get arrested in the luxury car he loaned her after falsely reporting the car was stolen from his garage.

Moreno pleaded guilty in that case last year.

And in January 2021, Moreno was charged with drunken driving. He later pleaded to guilty to a DUI.

Those legal problems could bar Moreno from running for office, as state law doesn’t allow people convicted of certain crimes to run — but Moreno could mount a campaign if his right to run is restored, election attorney Michael Dorff told the Tribune.

That could happen through assistance from the governor if Moreno fulfills a plea agreement, according to the Tribune.

Moreno said he’s gone through treatment, worked at a printing company and done community service at a local food pantry, according to the Tribune. He told the Tribune he has unfinished business in the ward and thinks it’s gone backwards in some ways in recent years.

Moreno was appointed to City Council by former Mayor Richard Daley in 2010 was elected to the office the next year.

Moreno won a re-election bid in 2015, but he was dogged by a series of controversies and lost to current Ald. Daniel La Spata in 2019. La Spata questioned Moreno’s relationship with developers in the area after a Block Club analysis showed many local developers who got zoning approval in the ward donated to Moreno’s campaign.

In a tweet Thursday, La Spata again criticized Moreno.

“In 2019, voters were clear: the days of corruption, bullying, and pay to play are over in the 1st Ward,” La Spata tweeted. “As your Alderman, I’ve fought for fairness. I believe in a City Hall that represents our communities, not just special monied interests.”

La Spata held his re-election campaign kickoff event Tuesday. Resident Sam Royko — a lawyer and the son of famed columnist Mike Royko — has also announced a bid for the 1st Ward.

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