Is Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot using her office to enact political retribution against her critics within the city? It's starting to seem that way.
Chicago's crime problem went from bad to worse last year as the city reported the most murders in a single year during any time in the last quarter century. But it's not just the violence that's becoming an impediment to businesses and real-estate values: thefts and robberies are also causing immense economic harm. Take the example of Gold Coast Exotic Motors.
The car dealership doubles as a purveyor of high-priced jewelry. But on Dec. 11, the business was robbed and merchandise worth more than $1MM was taken.
The merchandise taken included 8 luxury watches, according to the Daily Mail.
Gold Coast's owner, Joe Perillo, met with Mayor Lightfoot in the days after the robbery. However, according to sources who were at the meeting, Mayor Lightfoot allegedly stormed out calling Perillo an "idiot" after he criticized her handling of crime as mayor, as well as her appointment of District Attorney Kim Foxx. Thefts in the city surged 51% last year.
"It's only a fool who keeps doing things the same way and expects different results. If the Mayor and Kim Foxx don't do anything to get control of this, it's not going to get better. It's going to get worse," Perillo told local TV stations.
"If they don't do anything about this, they're going to lose a lot of businesses. They lost Macy's. They're losing Neiman Marcus. They may lose this store,' he added.
Video of the robbery at Gold Coast was shared by the Daily Mail.
Perillo said in an interview that the crooks were clearly well prepared. It took them only 30 seconds to pull off the heist.
No arrests have been made, and police are still investigating. Lightfoot herself said:
"It's not acceptable. We're aggressively going after these folks. I'm confident that we will find them. And fundamentally we've got to send a message that if you do this, you're gonna be held accountable."
Unfortunately for Perillo, Lightfoot apparently didn't feel moved to spare his business from receiving a handful of expensive fines, which just so happened to be levied after the confrontation between Perillo and Lightfoot at his business.
The city slapped Perillo's business with four tickets for six violations on Dec. 17. Two of the violations and one of the tickets were health-related.
The citations were for employees and a customer not wearing face masks, "storing, receiving, possessing, selling nineteen bottles of liquor," and for "interfering with or obstructing the commissioner's designee in the performance of duties."
That's just what Perillo's business needs right now. And unfortunately for Lightfoot, the notion that the citations were handed out as an act of revenge is all too believable following her latest skirmish with the Chicago Teacher's Union. Critics have blamed Lightfoot for dragging out the conflict for personal reasons, angered by the fact that the CTU didn't simply yield to her demands.