Watch CBS News

1st Ward resident thinks aldermanic campaign sign was taken away for political reasons

CHICAGO (CBS) -- This is the case of a vanishing campaign sign for an aldermanic candidate in the 1st Ward.

Surveillance video shows a sport-utility vehicle pulling up, and someone appears to get out and grab the sign for candidate Sam Royko. We have heard similar claims about signs being removed from other candidates and residents.

The sign for Royko – a candidate for 1st Ward alderman and the youngest son of late Chicago newspaper columnist Mike Royko – had been at the corner of Pete Smolenski's Logan Square home.

"On our security video, we noticed someone taking the sign off our corner," Smolenski said.

The surveillance video showing the SUV pull up to Smolenski's home was taken earlier this month. The door of the SUV opens, the Royko campaign sign is gone, and the car takes off.

That same night, just blocks away, one of Smolenski's neighbors recorded video of a Royko campaign sign in the trunk of a Honda.

The Illinois Secretary of State's office confirmed the SUV is registered to a woman who volunteers with Stephen "Andy" Schneider's campaign. Schneider is running against Royko in the 1st Ward.

"These people are running for public office, and they're trying to earn your vote and gain your trust - and I felt that kind of flies in the face of that," Smolenski said.

Schneider released a statement on the matter. Smolenski's sign was on the parkway between the sidewalk and the roadway - technically public property rather than private property - and Schneider said signs on public property are the issue.

"No one working for my campaign has ever removed anyone's sign from private property, and we tell volunteers not to do it either.

"What we have seen is video of our signs being taken from the front yards of our supporters. 

"Signs on the public way are illegal, and in our neighborhood many people remove them routinely, no matter the source. 

"All we've seen is images of illegally-placed signs being removed from public property. It seems clear from that my opponent's campaign has been breaking the law, and now cries foul when they are, appropriately, removed."

"I think the voters of the 1st Ward are smart enough to know that it's pretty obvious what is going on," Smolenski said.

And what does he think is going on?

"That they're picking up opponents' signs," Smolenski said. "I just feel like these are the type things that should be pointed out, so we know who we're voting for."

Royko responded with his own statement: "These types of campaign antics are childish and desperate.  I'm focused on talking with voters on how we build a safer and stronger future for the 1st Ward."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.