Politics Sours A South Side Turkey Giveaway

November 22, 2018 - 1:50 pm

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Volunteers at a Thanksgiving turkey giveaway this week say a campaign worker for a South Side aldermanic candidate showed up -- and told people they could have a turkey if they signed the candidate's petition.

It was the 18th annual Chicago Muslim Turkey Drive -- giving turkeys away to families.

Volunteers were in front of Emmett Till Math and Science Academy in West Woodlawn.

When a campaign worker for 20th Ward aldermanic candidate Andre Smith arrived and gave people the impression they'd get a free turkey if they signed the candidate's petition, the turkey-drive volunteers took a video.

"It seems there are a couple of men asking for people to sign a petition to get someone to become an alderman in the neighborhood," an unnamed person said on the Facebook video.

"There's no quid pro quo whatsoever," says Dr. Jihad Shoshara, the lead coordinator of the Chicago Muslim Turkey Drive. Shoshara told WBBM that "anything that pulls politics into it is potentially damaging and we completely repudiate it and we want all political candidates to do the same."

"I'm sure he was sent by the opposition."

Aldermanic candidate Andre Smith said one of the others running in the 20th Ward sent the campaign worker to embarrass him.

Smith says he fired the man on the spot.

"After that, I got rid of that person, my people continued to stay out there.  I went and talked to the principal and the security guard and I apologized to them."

Half a dozen candidates are running to take the place of longtime Alderman Willie Cochran.