Cook County GOP chief has no regrets about threats to ex’s boyfriend: Mihalopoulos
April 2, 2014 12:58AM
Aaron B. Del Mar, chairman of the Cook County Republican Party, playfully poses with a cardboard cutout of President Barack Obama at the Illinois Republican Convention on June 8, 2012. | Sun-Times Media file photo
Aaron Del Mar — the Cook County Republican Party chairman who’s up for re-election — is the latest local GOP leader to get tangled up in a particularly nasty divorce.
Del Mar, 35, fired off a series of threatening text messages to his ex-wife last year, according to court documents obtained by Early & Often, the Chicago Sun-Times political blog.
The party boss “threatened to initiate physical violence against [his ex-wife’s] significant other and has stated that ‘he will wear it like a badge of honor,’ ” Cook and DuPage County records show.
Among the other things Del Mar allegedly told his ex:
♦ “U don’t know me or what I’m capable of.”
♦ “I’m fully prepared for the repercussions and consequences of kicking his [butt].”
♦ “From now until the day I die, I swear I will make life hell for him every time I see him.”
♦ “U want to marry that douche, knock yourself out . . . but he owes me.”
♦ “My suggestion is to keep him as far away from me as possible . . . If it gets physical, that would really look bad.”
♦ “I want him to get pancreatic cancer.”
♦ “Tell him to watch his back.”
The ex-wife’s boyfriend cited the messages — and Del Mar’s background as an elite wrestler, judo star and “former ultimate fighter” — when he sought a “no contact” order on April 3.
Although the request was withdrawn eventually, Del Mar readily acknowledged Tuesday that the allegations his ex-wife and her boyfriend had leveled against him in court were entirely true.
“I certainly threatened him, yes,” Del Mar said.
Did he regret it?
“No, absolutely not,” Del Mar said. That’s because the ex-wife’s boyfriend, he said, “was very disrespectful to my marriage. His behavior toward my family and toward my children was unacceptable.”
Del Mar declined to specify what happened, suggesting I ask his ex-wife’s boyfriend. The lawyer for the ex and her significant other would only say, “We stand by the facts that were asserted in our petitions.”
But Del Mar didn’t hesitate to expound further on why he thinks his actions were totally legitimate and reflected how deeply he cherishes his family.
“Any parent or husband would have acted in a similar fashion,” he said. “I defended my family. I stand firm in my behavior.”
That behavior also included buying a tree from a northwest suburban park district, having it planted in a Palatine park, dedicating the tree to him and his kids — and sending copies of the $350 bill for the swamp white oak and the “memorial plaque” to his ex-wife, her boyfriend and her divorce lawyer.
Again, Del Mar says he’s guilty as charged and proud of it.
“The tree was a symbol of the healing process for me and my family,” he said. “I felt [the ex-wife’s boyfriend] was responsible for the breakdown of my family and that he should pay for the tree.”
Del Mar’s bid for another term as county Republican chairman faces a challenge from Chris Cleveland, the party committeeman for Chicago’s 43rd Ward, in the vote on April 16 at the Parthenon restaurant. Del Mar’s backers include Bruce Rauner, the Republican nominee for governor in the November election, Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed reported recently.
Del Mar is the party’s committeeman for Palatine Township. His bitter split with his wife echoes the homefront woes of another former Cook and Palatine GOP leader, Gary Skoien. In 2009, Skoien charged that his wife attacked him after she found him in their kids’ playroom with two women she thought were prostitutes.
As willing as Del Mar was to try to explain his lack of domestic tranquility, he says his private legal squabbles are a “completely separate” issue from his re-election campaign.
It’s true the local GOP doesn’t emphasize the family-values mantra nearly as much as other Republicans across the country, instead focusing on fiscal conservatism.
But Del Mar’s private actions — and his unblinking defense of that bellicose behavior — could cause others in the party to wonder if he has the temperament and maturity to lead them in this very important election year.
The Republicans of Cook County already have a difficult task trying to counter the dominant Democrats. Having leaders who continue to provide fodder for headlines with their personal dramas can only complicate their political problems.