50th Ward Runoff: Alderman Berny Stone Sued By Silverstein Supporter For 'Terrorist' Claim
Alderman Berny Stone has been in the Chicago City Council for 37 years, long enough to have made his share of enemies in the 50th Ward. But on the eve of his runoff election with Debra Silverstein, one of those enemies -- a former supporter, no less -- is filing a defamation suit against him.
In 2007, Salman Aftab ran against Alderman Stone in the first round of the city elections. He said that if he lost, he'd support "ABS -- anybody but Stone." And he echoed then-Alderman Arenda Troutman's claim that sitting alderman were "ho's" for supporting the Mayor's agenda. "Well, I don’t think aldermen should be ho's," Aftab said. "When I’m an alderman I won’t be a ho'.”
But then, Aftab didn't make it to the 2007 runoff. Instead, his opponent Naisy Dolar was the last woman standing. And suddenly, Aftab warmed up to the incumbent. "I thought then that I was running against very humble, gracious challengers. But I didn't find Naisy Dolar as humble and gracious as I thought," he said, changing his endorsement plan to "NBS -- nobody but Stone."
And the alderman was happy to have him onboard. "What [the endorsement] indicates is that the Asian community is truly behind my candidacy," he said at the time.
This time around, though, Aftab finds himself again opposing Alderman Stone, supporting instead the candidacy of Debra Silverstein. Stone's words for him have been, needless to say, somewhat less kind.
In an interview on WTTW's "Chicago Tonight," Stone said that Silverstein was being supported by "a terrorist who preaches the destruction of Israel," which a lawsuit filed in Cook County Court alleges is a reference to Aftab. "Let’s take the terrorist, Simon Aftab," the suit claims he also said.
It points to a Chicago Sun-Times endorsement interview, in which Stone apparently said Aftab was affiliated with the American Muslim Task Force, and claimed that "the organization’s members could be found on the attorney general’s terrorist list," according to WLS.
The lawsuit seeks $50,000 in damages for each of three counts of defamation and invasion of privacy.