Chicago mayoral candidate Bob Fioretti is defending his track record of financial competence amid reports that the 2nd Ward alderman and his law firms have been the target of lawsuits over allegedly delinquent bill payments.
The Trib reports that Fioretti, who moonlights as an attorney at Orum & Roth, and two firms at which he worked—Fioretti & Lower, and Fioretti & Des Jardins—were hit with 12 lawsuits from various individuals and businesses claiming they had not been compensated for their labor. Citing court papers, the paper's Hal Dardick and Bill Ruthart said the majority of the suits, which stretch back to 1999, pertained to payments under $10,000 and have since been settled but "could provide fodder for foes in the mayor’s race who might suggest Fioretti isn’t a good manager."
The No. 1 foe being Mayor Rahm Emanuel, of course. Emanuel seeks a second term in office, and with February's city elections inching closer, competitors are emerging to make a play for the Fifth Floor. Fioretti, a vocal Emanuel critic and staunch political progressive, announced his candidacy earlier this month. Buzz is growing that Karen Lewis, the fiery anti-Rahm president of the Chicago Teachers Union, may soon declare that she, too, will attempt to unseat the famously cutthroat political operative-turned-Windy City boss.
"While Bob did not have management oversight at the firms, he will not dodge responsibility," Fioretti spokesman Michael Kolenc tells Ward Room in a statement. "Bob has said that his life is an open book and that voters should examine his record and compare it to this administration's. What we do look forward to is actually talking about how to make this city safer, how we improve our public schools and how we make economic development a priority in all parts of the city. That is a debate that Chicago wants and deserves."
According to the Trib, Fioretti said he did not know that some of the lawsuits existed, noting he wasn't a managing partner in charge of bill-paying, and chalked up other legal trouble to the financial crisis as well as a previous bout of cancer that prevented him from doing his job.
"I'm a lawyer, and I always pay my bills," he said. "The buck stops here with me as an elected official, and I have always said I pay my bills."