Former mayoral challenger Bob Fioretti, who has battled tonsil cancer, has been hospitalized since Tuesday after complaining of flu-like symptoms and a 102-degree fever, a top aide disclosedThursday.
Fioretti checked into Northwestern Memorial Hospital two days afterputting aside past differences with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and endorsingEmanuel over Jesus “Chuy” Garcia in Tuesday’s first-ever mayoralrunoff.
As a candidate for mayor and as an alderman, Fioretti had beenEmanuel’s most outspoken critic. He had accused Emanuel of engaging inpay-to-play politics, pointing to the $32 million that Emanuel hasraised since 2010 and the nexus between the mayor’s official actionsand public appearances on behalf of his most generous donors.
Fioretti’s about-face was so abrupt, critics accused him of sellingout in exchange for a pledge from Emanuel to help retire Fioretti’s$200,000 in campaign debt.
The mayor acknowledged that he agreed to help make Fioretti whole, ashe did four years ago with vanquished challengers Carol Moseley-Braunand Gery Chico. But Emanuel denied there was any quid pro quo.
Fioretti said he endorsed Emanuel —not because of his debt, butbecause he firmly believes the mayor is better equipped and has a morerealistic plan to solve Chicago’s $20 billion pension crisis than Garcia.
Fioretti finished fourth onFeb. 24with just over seven percent ofthe vote. On the night before Round One, he had pledged his support toGarcia citing his many differences with Emanuel on issues ranging fromhis demand that the city hire 500 additional police officers to hiscall for a financial transaction tax and commuter tax and his plan toa oppose red-light cameras.
The retiring alderman’s illness and hospitalization was disclosedThursdayin a statement issued by his political consultant MichaelKolenc.
“On Tuesday, March 31, Bob Fioretti went to Northwestern MemorialHospital complaining of flu-like symptoms and a 102 fever. SinceTuesday, he has undergone tests and blood work and has remainedovernight for observation,” Kolenc wrote in an emailed statement.
“He will remain at Northwestern for continued observation until he isreleased by his doctor and is expected to make a full recovery. Iwould like to request privacy for Bob and we will let you know whennew information about his health is available.”