A former Chicago Park District attorney has sued Mayor Lori Lightfoot for berating him and his staff with insults and profanity during a virtual conference in 2021.
Former Chicago Park District deputy general counsel George Smyrniotis claims in his lawsuit that the insults damaged his reputation, impacted his work performance and triggered “great emotional distress” that led to him resigning from his post.
Lightfoot convened the Oct. 11th Zoom meeting after she learned that Smyrniotis had negotiated a settlement with a group of disgruntled Italian litigants from the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans (JCCIA).
JCCIA had sued the Park District earlier that year to demand that the Christopher Columbus statue that was removed in the spring of 2021 from Chicago’s Arrigo Park — which reportedly sits near the city’s Little Italy neighborhood — be restored.
Dovetailing back to the suit against Lightfoot, it states that after the Italians sued, Chicago Park District Superintendent Michael Kelly told King that he “wanted the case to be settled as soon as possible.”
King, therefore, linked up with JCCIA and worked out an agreement whereby the statue would not be restored, but instead it’d be temporarily given to the Italians so they could use it in the city’s annual Christopher Columbus parade.
From the looks of it, the statue wound up not making it into the parade:
And indeed, when Lightfoot found out about the deal, she convened the aforementioned Zoom meeting and effectively canceled the deal. She also berated Smyrniotis and his staff with vile profanity.
“You d–ks, what the f–k were you thinking? You make some kind of secret agreement with Italians, what you are doing, you are out there measuring your d–ks with the Italians seeing whose got the biggest d–k, you are out there stroking your d–ks over the Columbus statue,” she said, according to the lawsuit.
“I am trying to keep Chicago Police officers from being shot and you are trying to get them shot. My d–k is bigger than yours and the Italians, I have the biggest d–k in Chicago. Where did you go to law school? Did you even go to law school? Do you even have a law license?”
It’s not clear how including a statue of Christopher Columbus in a parade named after him would have led to Chicago police officers getting shot.
What’s known is that under her tenure, criminal acts against the police have increased drastically:
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) August 10, 2021
“You have to submit any pleadings to John Hendricks for approval before filing. John told you not to do a f–king thing with that statute without my approval. Get that f–king statue back before noon tomorrow or I am going to have you fired,” Lightfoot reportedly continued during the October 2021 Zoom meeting.
John Hendricks is the Deputy Corporation Counsel of the City of Chicago.
The lawsuit against Lightfoot zeroes in specifically on her “defamatory” remarks about Smyrniotis’s law experience, claiming they “impute that Plaintiff lacked an ability to perform his job duties, imputed a lack of integrity in his performance of job duties, and prejudiced him in his profession.”
“As a proximate result of Defendants’ false and outrageous per se defamatory statements Plaintiff’s reputation was damaged, he was portrayed in a false light, his ability to perform his work was impaired, he was forced to resign on February 2, 2022, and he, suffered lost income, a reduced pension, and suffered great emotional distress,” the suit reads.
Given this “distress,” Smyrniotis is seeking at least $50,000 in damages and has called for a jury trial:
JCCIA has reportedly also gotten involved, albeit only indirectly.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, JCCIA president Ron Onesti is demanding an apology from Lightfoot for the derogatory remarks she’d made about Italians.
“I’m literally beside myself with amazement. Even though she’s shown signs of this type of behavior in the past, I can’t believe, number one, that she would talk to her attorneys this way. How do you talk to anybody this way? It’s offensive. We’re Chicagoans first. That’s our mayor. And our mayor is talking about her constituency that way,” he said.
“About an ethnic group that way. A very large ethnic group. There isn’t an ethnic group that deserves that kind of vulgar referencing. At a time when sensitivity is at an all-time high. You can’t stub your toe on a curb and call the curb a name. And here a representative of the people . . . not only brings in disparaging comments about an ethnic group but vulgarities. I’m astounded . . . It’s embarrassing and it’s insensitive.”
He was correct about her having “shown signs of this type of behavior in the past.” She’s in fact repeatedly been caught talking to other people like they’re trash:
She also has a record of trying to boss around journalists:
A colleague sent me this 2020 email from Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. I could teach a journalism class about it. pic.twitter.com/ps2GLOK6lE
— Gregory Pratt (@royalpratt) February 28, 2022
For government and public affairs people: Trying to cut off a reporter is generally unproductive. Trying to restrict the information that goes to the biggest newspaper in your area is self sabotage.
— Gregory Pratt (@royalpratt) February 28, 2022
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