Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot was sued for defamation by a former park district attorney who accused her of cursing obscenities at him. According to court documents, she allegedly unleashed a tirade during a meeting about a previously removed Christopher Columbus statue from the city’s Arrigo Park during 2020 protests over the murder of George Floyd.
The lawsuit, filed on March 2 by George Smyrniotis, says he “was forced to resign” on February 22, 2022, after the mayor damaged his reputation as an attorney during an October 2021 Zoom call with other department heads and lawyers.
Smyrniotis claims that he suffered a loss of income and “great emotional stress” from Lightfoot’s tirade over his negotiating with the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans (JCCIA) to bring the statue back for a parade. One year after the statue was removed, the JCCIA sued to force the Chicago Park District to return the statue to its pedestal in the city’s Little Italy neighborhood.
On the Zoom call, Lightfoot allegedly berated the Smyrniotis and Chicago Park District General Counsel Timothy King, saying, “you [expletive], what the [expletive] were you thinking?”
The lawsuit accuses Lightfoot of launching a barrage of vulgarities and obscenities on the call targeting the two men, speaking about their genitalia. The court document accuses her of saying:
“You [expletive], what the [expletive] were you thinking? You make some kind of secret agreement with Italians, what you are doing, you are out there measuring your [expletive] with the Italians seeing whose got the biggest [expletive], you are out there stroking your [expletive] over the Columbus statue, I am trying to keep Chicago Police officers from being shot and you are trying to get them shot. My [expletive] is bigger than yours and the Italians, I have the biggest [expletive] in Chicago.”
It claims that she went further, questioning whether he went to law school or possess a law license. “Get that [expletive]statue back before noon tomorrow or I am going to have you fired.”
CBS Chicago said Lightfoot’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the lawsuit. And NBC Chicago said the mayor did not answer questions about the lawsuit Thursday (March 3) after an event.
The lawsuit seeks lost income for the two years that Smyrniotis would have worked until retirement at age 67 totaling $138,936, as well as compensation for his reduced pension. It also seeks compensatory damages and “any other relief that this court deems just.”