LINCOLN PARK — The Chicago Republican Party recently took down its illegal sign, but not because the group decided to comply with the city.
The group temporarily removed the sign that hung on its office building at 2420 N. Lincoln Ave. after a vandal tore it in two places the evening of April 14, according to Chris Cleveland, chairman of the group.
Cleveland said there's no question it was an act of vandalism.
He said not only do the rips appear "deliberate," but the group also has been receiving online threats after recent media coverage, including one Twitter message that reads, "I'm going to tear down the chicago republican party sign at lincoln fullerton halsted."
Cleveland intends to replace the sign with a new one, which will cost him about $1,500, he said.
According to Cleveland, the incident is further proof that Republicans in Chicago are being "targeted."
"Certainly I'm angered that Republicans are treated this way, but there's a long history of this in Chicago," he said. "This is what happens to political minorities, and we just have to deal with it."
As for the illegality of the sign, Cleveland said he hasn't changed his mind about fighting the city on the complaint, which he believes is a matter of freedom of speech.
Cleveland said he installed the sign without a permit for two reasons: The city process takes too long, and he "refuses to ask a government entity for permission to engage in free speech."
He said numerous other signs in the area lack permits, and his group was unfairly targeted.
The sign covers the window of Tom Alcock's psychology business. Alcock has said the sign is killing his business.
The city is threatening to charge Cleveland $1,000 each day the violation exists.
Cleveland has hired a lawyer and expects to sue the city, he said.
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