Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) is calling for state Rep. Derrick Smith to resign his 10th District seat and withdraw his bid for re-election, citing concerns over integrity for public officials.

Ervin released a Feb. 5 statement calling for both Smith’s resignation and the withdrawal of Chicago Police Sgt. Eddie Winters, who is challenging Smith in the March 18 Primary. Smith faces four challengers for Democratic nomination. There is one Republican in the race.

Smith was arrested in March 2012 on a bribery charge for allegedly accepting $7,000 in exchange for helping a fictitious day care center get a state grant. His arrest came just weeks before that year’s Democratic primary election.

Smith’s name remained on the ballot even though he was subsequently expelled from the General Assembly six months later. He became the first politician in 107 years and the first African American ever to be expelled from the General Assembly. Smith, however, handily won his re-election bid against an independent challenger.

“I don’t think it takes a judge and jury to determine that taking $7,000 in an alley for a letter of support is wrong,” Ervin said in the statement. “To this day, Rep. Derrick Smith still has not offered any apology to constituents, but Rep. Smith has crippled our ability to have honest representation.”

Ervin also questioned the integrity of Winters, who completed Smith’s term when Smith was forced out of the General Assembly. Ervin pointed to a domestic violence allegation made by former 28th Ward Alderman Ed Smith while campaigning for another challenger, Pamela Reaves-Harris, in the 10th District race.

According to ProgressIllinois.com Winters denied the allegation as a “flat-out lie” and is pursuing legal action against the former alderman. Winters said Ervin’s allegations are an attempt to deflect from the real issues affecting the district.

“He’s doing this because he has a candidate that he is trying to put in the race,” Winters told ProgressIllinois.com, referring to Reaves-Harris.

Letter: 

ALD. ERVIN RELEASES STATEMENT CALLING ON REP. DERRICK SMITH AND POLICE SGT. EDDIE WINTERS TO RESIGN AND WITHDRAW FROM THE RACE FOR STATE REPRESENTATIVE
 
CHICAGO (Feb. 5, 2013) – Yesterday I was speaking with a group of Residents who expressed serious concerns about the lack of integrity of individuals running for public office.  I know that people have the constitutional right to run for office, and that’s what makes this statement extremely difficult.
 
The west side has had integrity issues with a number of elected officials over the years, and the challenges in our community lead me to stand here today and ask for the resignation of Rep Derrick Smith and the withdrawal of both he and Chicago Police Sgt. Eddie Winters from the 10th District Representative race.  Violence continues to be a major issue in our community. When I look at my own representative, I see a person who is guilty of the most heinous violence, selling out the children of our community. Those who violate the trust of our community, do the most damage.
 
I don’t think it takes a judge and jury to determine that taking $7,000 in an alley for a letter of support, is wrong. To this day, Rep Derrick Smith still has not denied taking $7,000, offered any apology to constituents, but Rep Derrick Smith has crippled our ability to have honest representation.
 
Now we see Rep Derrick Smith’s campaign received a personal loan of $9,000. Where did this money come from?  Are these additional proceeds from illegal activities, as well?  To make matters worse, this case continues to drag on.  It has been almost two years, far beyond the normal amount of time it takes to prosecute a case.
 
While all of this is going on, the community lacks a representative that can focus totally on the needs of his constituents. Because of that, I am asking Rep Derrick Smith to be the bigger person, not continue in his selfish ways, do the community justice, and step aside. 
 
Again, this type of violence in our community, by those who are supposed to protect us, is the worst type of violence. While Rep Smith has been in office, there has yet to be any direct appropriations to our community. There has not been one piece of legislation originated by him, that has passed the chamber.
 
The young children in Garfield Pk, Lawndale and Austin need an advocate. The legislative interest of Wicker Park and Bucktown need to be served. We don’t have time to figure out personal issues, while our community is suffering through this violence. We need effective leadership in our community.  On the other hand, we have Chicago Police Sergeant Eddie Winters with allegations of domestic violence.
 
This type of violence, too, is prevalent in the community served by this district.  If you have to ponder whether or not you broke a woman’s jaw, I think there may be a problem. And today as we are set to vote on additional borrowing in part to deal with the wrongful acts of members of the Chicago Police Department. The arrogance of these individuals is sickening.
 
While none of the individuals in this race live in my ward, I want what is best for this community.  Our communities are not for sale and our women are not punching bags.  As elected officials, we have a responsibility to protect the interests of the community, and I am asking other elected officials to stand with me in this effort.  Bad people get to do what they do when the good people sit back and say nothing.
 
I am asking for Rep. Derrick Smith to resign and both he and Chicago Police Sgt Eddie Winters to withdraw from this race.  So our community can put this sad chapter behind us and move forward.
 
Ald. Jason C. Ervin
28th Ward
 

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