Cook County Commissioner Tony Peraica on Monday filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against his election opponent, McCook Mayor Jeffrey Tobolski, and the Village of McCook, following his arrest over the weekend.
Peraica is asking for $2 million each on several counts including false arrest and defamation. He's accused of tearing down his opponent's campaign signs.
"Mayor Tobolski and his police chief, Mr. Wolfe, have conspired to commit one of the most egregious abuses of governmental power I have ever seen," Peraica said in a statement.
McCook Police Chief Frank Wolfe is also named in the suit. He told NBC Chicago they’re expanding their investigation. He said a witness reported Peraica had damaged a Tobolski campaign sign.
"It’s like he (Peraica) was going down Joliet, from east to west, ripping up campaign signs," Wolfe said.
His force Monday was investigating two additional complaints of damage to Tobolski campaign signs, which he said may be linked to Peraica. He said his officers will be looking at surveillance video from one of those of those locations.
Peraica counters that he was putting up his own signs in the area with a campaign volunteer and never touched Tobolski's signs. He insists police "ginned up" a bogus case against him as a "desperate" 11th-hour campaign tactic.
"You have to have probable cause to arrest someone. They had none. They violated my constitutional and civil rights. They detained me illegally," he said.
But Wolfe, who has been with the McCook Police Department for 33 years, said Peraica is acting like a guilty man "by trying to deflect blame to someone else and bringing his case to the media." He staunchly defended this investigation and his own department.
"My Department is not corrupt," he said.
Peraica is charged with misdemeanor criminal damage to property. He is scheduled to make his initial appearance in this case on Nov. 22 in Cook County's Bridgeview Courthouse.