State Sen. Suzi Schmidt harassed neighbor family for a year, family claims
BY DAN ROZEK AND DAVE MCKINNEY Staff Reporters June 13, 2012 12:32PM
State Sen. Suzi Schmidt
Updated: July 15, 2012 3:23PM
State Sen. Suzi Schmidt for months barraged a neighboring family with harassing phone calls, texts and emails — even telling a 7-year-old boy his mother was having an affair with Schmidt’s estranged husband, the neighbors said in a court filing.
The husband-and-wife couple made the claims in an anti-stalking, no-contact order they obtained against Schmidt on Tuesday — the same day she was arrested for allegedly trespassing and damaging property outside their home in unincorporated Lake Villa.
On March 17, Schmidt allegedly “confronted my 7-year-old son and made inappropriate comments to him about an alleged affair I am having with her soon to be ex-husband,” the woman neighbor said in the court filing.
Schmidt, a Republican who already had pledged not to run for re-election this year after a bizarre series of 911 calls from December 2010 to last September spotlighted her crumbling marriage, could not be reached Wednesday for comment.
The long-time former Lake County Board chairwoman was not even talking to political colleagues, who said they were still waiting for some response to the allegations that could end her public career.
But in an earlier police report, Schmidt told Lake County sheriff’s deputies she had been harassed after complaining to the male neighbor that his wife was having an affair with her husband. The woman denied the claim, according to the police report, which was released Wednesday.
Schmidt was arrested on the misdemeanor charges for allegedly throwing boat oars from the family’s yard into a nearby marsh on June 2, and then punching a hole in a bag of chicken feed she found outside their home, according to a police report.
In other police reports, the neighbors contend they saw Schmidt as recently as June 9 taking pictures of the cars parked at their home.
The purported harassment began on Christmas Day 2010 — the same day Schmidt was heard on a 911 call asking police to disregard any calls from her husband, Robert, about a domestic problem.
In the call, she told the dispatcher she was a former Lake County board chairwoman and boasted her husband feared her because “he knows I have connections.”
Schmidt allegedly locked her husband out of their house that day during a quarrel, authorities have said.
She was not arrested following that incident, though lawmaker announced she would not run for re-election and would seek counseling. Her husband, meanwhile, filed for divorce.
Schmidt allegedly bothered the neighborhood family with unwanted phone calls and texts until at least last February, despite repeated requests that she stop, the neighbors said in their court filing.
They asked that Schmidt be barred from any contact with them and their three children.
The male neighbor on Wednesday declined to comment.
An aide to Senate President Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) stopped short of calling for Schmidt’s resignation but also did not mount any kind of defense for the beleaguered member of the Senate GOP caucus.
“We’re still ascertaining the facts,” Radogno spokeswoman Patty Schuh said.
Likewise, the chairman of the Lake County Republicans, Robert Cook, said he is not ready to call for Schmidt’s resignation but instead simply wants her to return his phone call so he can get her side of the story.
“For me to publicly call for her to step down, it would have to be a pretty dramatic thing to get me to do that. She worked very hard to win her election. People selected her, and I wouldn’t want the voters to think their votes didn’t count,” Cook told the Sun-Times.
“However, we can’t have someone running around out of control as a state senator,” he said.