Ald. Derrick Curtis (18) said Tuesday that he is having second thoughts about his support for Mayor Lori Lightfoot – and his role as a “No. 1 cheerleader” – because of the mayor’s “coldness,” including her failure to reach out to him after he accidentally shot himself.
A former Chicago Housing Authority police officer, Curtis suffered a gunshot wound to the wrist last fall while cleaning a gun in the 8200 block of South Christiana.
He said that the accident that required him to have minor surgery on his hands happened while he was helping a neighbor with a firearm that was “malfunctioning at the weapons range.”
What angers Curtis – and now makes him think twice about supporting Lightfoot – is the Mayor’s failure to reach out to him after the accidental shooting and her failure to call him more recently when she was hospitalized for a blood count that was , as he said. , “super low.”
“If we were in a relationship, she should have contacted me. I deserved some kind of phone call or conversation just to see how I was doing. Just check in on me. That’s what friends do,” Curtis said.
“I felt myself to be a very close friend and ally to her. I was really cheerleader No. 1. But, she never called when I shot myself. … I don’t treat my friends like that.”
Ald. Derrick Curtis (18) attends a Chicago City Council meeting at City Hall in November.
In a statement released in response to Curtis’ complaints, Lightfoot campaign spokeswoman Christina Freundlich said the mayor “considers Ald. Curtis friend and ally” and “looks forward to continuing their work together” to make Chicago “safer, fairer and more equitable for all.”
“They most recently exchanged Christmas greetings in which he sent her a picture of his fried turkey as they have often exchanged pictures of their grilling exploits,” the statement said.
After the Sun-Times reached out to the mayor’s campaign about the alderperson’s remarks, Curtis sent a text message to the Sun-Times that read, “I’m hearing you’re running the story that we’re pulling away from the mayor. I said we need to talk.”
Last summer, the Chicago Board of Ethics slapped Curtis with a $1,000 fine for using his official city email account to advertise an event that launched the campaign of re-election of Lightfoot.
The fine came from an email of June 2 that Curtis wrote where he invited his constituents to the start of the mayoral re-election at Starlight Restaurant on June 8. About 100 residents were encouraged to reserve a place at the “supporter’s” breakfast by contacting the Curtis ward office.
After a citizen complaint, that board determined there was probable cause to conclude that Curtis had violated the city’s ethics ordinance by including “campaign-related content in official ward newsletter emails from a cityofchicago.org email address, contrary to the board’s clear guidance on inappropriateness. mixing political and official content.”
Curtis insisted that the invitation was sent from his personal email account. He said he closed his ward office for a few hours the morning of Lightfoot’s announcement so his staff would be free to attend. Many Curtis staff members did just that, wearing T-shirts with the 18th Ward logo.
On Tuesday, Curtis complained that, since the launch of the campaign and the ethics investigation that began, Lightfoot has neither reached him nor returned his phone calls and messages.
“Maybe she’s too busy. Maybe I am, and I’m stuck in my own feelings. But I don’t treat my friends like that,” he said.
“I tried to talk to her about many things. Maybe what we need to do is sit down and talk if she is able. But the way I feel, I don’t want to reach. I want you to reach out. I’m not chasing it anymore,” Curtis said.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot greets constituents and supporters during a campaign stop with Chicago first lady Amy Eshleman (in white), Ald. Michelle Harris (8th) and Ald. Derrick Curtis (18th place) at Starlight Restaurant on June 8, 2022.
Because of the loyalty he showed to the Mayor, Curtis said he probably deserved a committee presidency. Instead, Lightfoot has yet to fill three chairmanships vacated by departing colleagues: Ethics, Education and Environmental Protection and Energy.
“I’m probably as loyal to her as other presidents who turned their backs on her,” he said.
Curtis is one of roughly half a dozen African-American alderpersons who are supporting Lightfoot’s reelection bid in a nine-member field that includes seven Black candidates.
Black Caucus Chairperson Jason Ervin (28), one of Lightfoot’s staunchest supporters, warned that, with seven Black candidates and a divided and reduced African-American vote, the Black community risks ” you lose everything.”
If the deep freeze between Lightfoot and Curtis continues, Curtis said he is inclined to sit out the First Round of the mayoral sweepstakes and see who makes the runoff.
“She’s not polling well at all,” he said.
Curtis said Lightfoot was dealt a bad hand in a first term dominated by the pandemic, civil unrest and violent crime.
However, he said: “I was not arguing in front of the public with other members of the City Council. … Sometimes, you can be pushed. I saw people pushing. But you should be able to control that.”