CHICAGO (CBS) — Embattled Northwest Side Ald. Jim Gardiner (45th) is not only refusing to answer tough questions from constituents about his conduct – he is once again kicking them out of public meetings.
As CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov reported Thursday, the constituents in question are not the only ones to whom Gardiner is still refusing to talk.READ MORE: New Illinois Laws To Protect Sex Crime Victims' Privacy Take Effect Jan. 1
“I got a notification that I had been kicked out before the meeting was even called to order,” said 45th Ward resident Sara Gronkiewicz-Doran.
Gronkiewicz-Doran was not that surprised when she was initially booted from Ald. Gardiner’s virtual public meeting Wednesday. She first signed on with a screenshot showing headshot of Gardiner upside-down with the word “resign” covering his eyes.
But when she signed back in as herself, and tried to ask questions about investigations into Gardiner’s conduct, she was booted again.
“He kept talking and cut off or kicked out anybody who he thought was going to ask a question he didn’t want to hear,” Gronkiewicz-Doran said.
Gronkiewicz-Doran sent a complaint to the city’s Inspector General. She also said Gardiner has done this before.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Cloudy Overnight With Snow Flurries For Some
“He won’t speak to us,” she told Kozlov. “He hasn’t had a ward night since before the pandemic. He hasn’t answered questions from journalists since he sat down with you.”
It was back in March when Kozlov asked Gronkiewicz if he refused to give a building owner a parking permit because she had criticized him on social media. Since then, Gardiner has made a City Council apology for misogynistic and homophobic texts about colleagues.
An FBI investigation into Gardiner’s conduct has been confirmed. The city’s Ethics Board found probable cause of violations, and the Cook County Democratic Party chairman stripped him of his committee positions.
But kicking people out of a meeting where no action is even being taken? DePaul University public service expert Nick Kachiroubas said Gardiner has the right to do that.
“Politically, that may not be a good choice of actions because of what’s going on, but I don’t think there’s a legal implication in this context,” Kachiroubas said.
Kozlov left a message with a Gardiner staffer in the afternoon, and then went by his office to ask him about it. Kozlov was told through the door that the office was closed – but she saw Ald. Gardiner inside.MORE NEWS: View Live Radar
So once again, he is refusing to comment.