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45th Ward Alderman John Arena Condemns Anonymous Robocall

Mike Parker Mike Parker
Mike Parker has been a general assignment reporter for CBS 2 Chicago...
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CHICAGO (CBS) – A controversial robocall is raising eyebrows in Chicago’s 45th Ward. It mentions the local alderman by name and mentions 911 calls of domestic battery in his home.

CBS 2’S Mike Parker has the story.

“Anonymous attacks are, the mudslinging’s part of politics,” said 45th Ward Alderman John Arena.

As 45th Ward alderman John Arena gears up his campaign for a second term, he and his wife Jill are facing what they feel is a scurrilous attack. It’s an anonymous robocall going out to voters.

The robocall says that, “Women and children afraid to be in their homes…terrorized by their abusive husbands and fathers. Too many questions remain about Alderman John Arena and the 911 domestic battery call to his home.”

Why did police come to the couple’s home in 2009?

“I called 911 because I was concerned for his health,” said Jill Arena, the Alderman’s wife.

They say the alderman was disoriented, suffering side effects from a drug prescribed for his sleep apnea. Jill Arena says she did not tell 911 anything about her husband being combative.

Nobody was arrested that night and the police left. Wednesday, Michelle Baert one of Arena’s opponents in the race, was doing some retail campaigning in the district. Parker asked her about the robocall, and she condemned the robocall, saying, “I don’t think that is the right way.”

Arena’s other challenger, police officer John Garrido, told CBS 2 the robocall is “not something I support.”

An election law expert says the anonymity of the call breaks the law.

“It’s absolutely illegal as far as the election code goes,” said Attorney Burt Odelson.

The folks over at the Cook County Board of Elections say that if they can track down the sources of that anonymous robocall, they could face criminal charges.