Accusations of political ‘peeping Tom’ roil race in Chicago’s 30th Ward

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CHICAGO — A political peeping Tom?

On Chicago’s Northwest Side, the daughter of a former congressman is trying to unseat a longtime incumbent for a spot on the Chicago City Council.

Allegations of dirty tactics emerged Monday — with one candidate filing a police report claiming a man recorded through her apartment window in an effort to raise questions about her residency.

Just 27 votes separated incumbent Ald. Ariel Reboyras and his challenger, Jessica Gutierrez, in Chicago’s 30th Ward during the Feb. 26 election. The two face off again Tuesday in the city’s runoff election.

Reboyras supporter Esteban Burgoa posted a video on social media — which has since been deleted — questioning whether Gutierrez actually lives in the 30th Ward building she says is home. Gutierrez’ father is former U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez.

In the video, Burgoa walks right up to Jessica Gutierrez’ apartment window.

“Can you imagine she’s trying to manage the 30th Ward, but she doesn’t even clean the spider webs in her own house? Look at all the dirt in the basement.”

He also said: “There is no Jessica Gutierrez here. It is time for people to wake up and smell the coffee, and know that Jessica Gutierrez is a phony is a scam artist who does not live in this community.”

Gutierrez said the tactic goes too far. She filed a police report.

“I’m scared for my safety,” the candidate said. “There was an older man outside of my home for 20 minutes — peering into the windows, zooming in, making derogatory comments on my cleanliness, saying there’s cobwebs.”

“This is intimidation,” she said. “This is harassment.”

The Reboyras campaign shared the video on social media. The alderman himself wasn’t available for comment, but his campaign spokeswoman said the Reboyras campaign had nothing to do with the video.

“If a constituent saw that information and went there, we have no control,” said state Sen. Iris Martinez, Reboyras’ campaign spokeswoman. “I wouldn’t want that to happen. As a woman, I wouldn’t want that to happen.”

Martinez disagreed with the video — but said it’s fair game to question Gutierrez’s credentials as a 30th Ward resident.

“You have to prove yourself in the community,” Martinez said. “If she was so committed to the 30th Ward, why did you just move in? Why are you lying about the fact that you live there?”

“It’s what I could afford,” Gutierrez said. “There’s a back door, there’s a front door, there’s a window. I pay my rent every month. I have a lease; I have a wonderful landlord. It’s my home.”

It’s unclear what impact the controversy may have in Tuesday’s election. The polls open at 6 a.m.


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