Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is facing a defamation lawsuit after allegedly berating a group of lawyers representing an organization trying to use a Christopher Columbus statue for a parade.
“You are out there measuring your d**k with the Italians seeing who’s got the biggest d**k,” Lightfoot told the lawyers, according to the complaint.
George Smyrniotis, a former Chicago Park District counsel general, said the mayor blocked a deal with an Italian-American group to display the statue in the Columbus Day Parade and defamed the lawyers who struck the deal. Smyrniotis, who is a plaintiff in the lawsuit, said Lightfoot suggested that he lacked the skills to perform his duties and questioned if the lawyers went to school, WGN 9 reports. The lawsuit adds that the mayor used crude language.
“You are out there stroking your d**k over the Columbus statue. I am trying to keep Chicago police officers from being shot and you are trying to get them shot,” the mayor allegedly said, ABC 7 reports. “My d**k is bigger than yours and the Italians. I have the biggest d**k in Chicago.”
The Christopher Columbus statue was taken down in 2020 as protesters around the country, who were outraged by the death of George Floyd, attempted to remove symbols of oppression. According to ABC 7, a Chicago organization wanted to use the statue in the 2021 Columbus Day Parade after it was removed from a local park.
Ron Onesti, president of the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans, said he checked his eyeglasses because he couldn’t believe such language would be used by a “mayor of a world-class city.”
“Talking about genitalia, are you kidding me? This is where we are at right now. This is very serious,” Onesti said, according to ABC 7. “It’s just sickening anybody would say this.”
The statue, according to Onesti, is sitting in a park district warehouse.
“If those statements do come to be true, come to be proven, of course we want an apology, of course we would be teetering on asking for a resignation,” he said. “This is serious stuff.”
Lightfoot said she is “aware of the lawsuit that has been filed by a former Chicago Park District employee.”
“While I will continue my practice of not commenting on the specific claims alleged in pending litigation, I feel compelled to state that the deeply offensive and ridiculous claims are wholly lacking in merit, and I welcome the opportunity to prove that fact in court,” she said in a statement. “Furthermore, to be clear, I never have and never will harbor any animus toward Italians or Italian Americans.”