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47th Ward / Schulter / SLAPP lawsuit update


* Lisa Brooks, 773/784-3442
* Julie Bauer, Winston & Strawn, 312/558-5973

The Circuit Court of Cook County will hear a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought
by Alderman Eugene Schulter against his own constituents. Schulter filed the
SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) suit after a group of
ward residents, known as COW (Community Organizing Works!), produced and distributed
a mock newspaper that criticized his policies and positions on gentrification
in the 47th ward.
* Defendants in the case: Lisa Brooks, Therese Quinn and Gabriela Fitz
* Legal representation for defendants: Julie Bauer, partner at Winston & Strawn.
* Legal representation for Alderman Schulter, Robert W. Fioretti

March 18th, 11 AM

Daley Center, Rm. 2205

The defendants, who have a history of political activity in the 47th ward, produced
a satirical newspaper to bring attention to the pace of gentrification in their
neighborhoods. They have been public about their views that Alderman Schulter's
policies and actions have brought about, in their view, damaging changes to ward
constituents in terms of lost affordable housing and business space, skyrocketing
property taxes, and condominium conversions and new development that well outpace

Alderman Eugene Schulter has filed a lawsuit against the defendants, claiming
that the satirical paper was both libelous and slanderous. The suit brings into
question the very tenets of the free speech and petition clauses of the First

The plaintiff is represented by Robert W. Fioretti and Sandra Lund of Fioretti
& Des Jardins, Ltd. The defendants have secured pro-bono representation via
Winston & Strawn.

The suit is a case study in local Chicago politics and the debate on issues of
gentrification and affordable housing, the increasing use of private lawsuits
to address issues of public concern, and the use of such suits to stifle free
speech and political participation.

Copies of the satirical paper "The Alderpuppet Purports" can be viewed at

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