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Lawsuit Against Ald. Arena Should Be Reinstated, Candidate Asks Judge

By Heather Cherone | February 17, 2015 5:52am
 From left, John Garrido and John Arena.
From left, John Garrido and John Arena.
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Twitter/JGarridoIII; John Arena

JEFFERSON PARK — A Chicago police officer challenging Ald. John Arena's (45th) bid for re-election will ask a Cook County judge Thursday to reverse a decision to dismiss a defamation lawsuit filed against the alderman, according to court records.

The lawsuit was prompted by seven mailings and one TV commercial paid for by Arena and three unions that supported him in the 2011 aldermanic election. The ads claimed Police Lt. John Garrido took money from a firm involved in the much-maligned 2009 parking meter privatization deal, and he would collect two city pensions if elected.

Judge John P. Callahan dismissed Garrido's suit against Arena, the Chicago Federation of Labor, the Service Employees International Union Illinois Council Political Action Committee and Unite Here Local 1.

Garrido's filing said the judge's decision Jan. 7 was in error.

This latest attempt to revive a lawsuit that has been dismissed twice is a waste of time, said Dave Miranda, a spokesman for Arena.

In 2011, Garrido lost to Arena by 30 votes in a runoff. He is running against Arena again in the Feb. 24 aldermanic election, along with Michelle Baert, who publishes a family-friendly website as the 45th Ward Mom, and state regulatory attorney Michael Diaz.

Garrido's lawsuit, filed 10 days after the final votes were counted in 2011, claimed those "outright lies" damaged his reputation and hurt his career with the Police Department and as a lawyer. The suit has been working its way through the courts ever since, after initially being dismissed and then revived by a state appeals court.

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