Ald. Arena sued for battery; staff says suit ‘motivated by politics’

SHARE Ald. Arena sued for battery; staff says suit ‘motivated by politics’

Ald. John Arena at the Chicago City Council meeting where the 2015 budget was approved. November 19, 2014. File Photo. | Brian Jackson/ Sun-Times

Awoman sued Ald. John Arena (45th) on Wednesday, accusing the Northwest Side alderman of cursing at her, striking her and demanding she take off a campaign pin promoting a rival candidate.

The alderman’s camp said the accusations are false and orchestrated by a challenger hoping to “score cheap political points” — a charge that the rival denied.

Regina Przyby filed the suit Wednesday in Cook County Circuit Court. She alleges that during an “interaction” with Arena on Sept. 1 near the Copernicus Center, 5216 W. Lawrence, the alderman “verbally abused and assaulted [Przyby] by verbally threatening her with physical violence and using profanity.”

Przyby goes on to allege that Arena pushed, poked and struck her “in a physically violent manner” while continuing to verbally assault her.

Arena’s camp dismissed the lawsuit as a political stunt by one of the alderman’s challengers, the same one who filed a defamation suit against Arena that was dismissed.

“The claims made in this lawsuit filed by a supporter of Ald. Arena’s opponent, John Garrido, are false,” said Joanna Klonsky, a spokeswoman for Arena.

“This suit is motivated by politics, as was another lawsuit dismissed just last week, which was filed by Garrido. This effort to score cheap political points harkens back to a kind of old Chicago politics that we should all have moved forward from by now.”

Przyby’s attorney could not be reached for comment Wednesday evening.

But Garrido insisted he had nothing to do with the suit.

“Our campaign is focused on the issues and not the alderman’s legal troubles,” Garrido wrote in an email. “We were just made aware of the lawsuit and have no involvement in the legal action nor the incident that precipitated it.

“Alderman Arena should take an introspective look into his behavior before pointing fingers at others for his alleged actions. This is not a political issue. It’s one personal to him.”

Przyby’s lawsuit accuses Arena of battery and seeks more than $50,000 in damages.

Arena, a member of the City Council’s Progressive Caucus, was elected in 2011. He defeated Garrido by just 30 votes in a runoff election.

Garrido, a 23-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, is one of three opponents Arena is facing in next month’s election.

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