The owner of a North Side lingerie store says he's being pushed around by his alderman, and he has the voicemail he says proves it.
"This is just arrogant Chicago muscle," said Mark Thomas, the owner of Taboo Tabou.
It was at his lingerie store that Sarah Naughton, an assistant Cook County state's attorney, was caught on camera in a drunken rage, after she allegedly bit one of Thomas' workers in the leg.
The story gets even more bizarre, with a voicemail Thomas got from Ald. Tom Tunney (44th Ward) just days after Naughton's first appearance in court.
After making some small talk about a local construction project impacting Thomas's store, Tunney says this:
"The world is too small and I've got a friend of mine that I went to high school with is an attorney for that Taboo Tabou case with the state's attorney. It's really a delicate situation for the young woman, and I understand that you've been at court with Fox News or something like that." Tunney said on the voicemail "My only suggestion is, let's try to help the person. She obviously had a bad night. We don't need to continue her (to hurt her) dignity about this issue. So, let the court do what the court's supposed to do, and please, we don't need to have the theatrics around this issue. It doesn't help your business."
Thomas says he was stunned to get the message.
"It was absolutely the most unbelievable, stupid insulting phone call I've ever had in my life, Thomas said. "I'm his local business. She's not even part of his ward, and he's taking her part because he went to high school with her attorney."
Naughton's attorney, Richard Beuke, is indeed an old acquaintance of Tunney. The two went to Brother Rice High School together in the 1970s.
"I'm not in the business of squeezing anybody for anything. That's unbelievable." Tunney said. "The intent for me was not to help this person or put pressure on Mark Thomas. It's just that we have a lot of issues at Clark and Belmont, and you want to keep as positive an image of that area as possible."
Thomas says he was clearly being pushed around.
"I'm not confused. Tom's pushing me around. I've known him for 25 years. It's a load of crap," Thomas said.
Tunney says he did have a conversation with Naughton's attorney about the case, but he says the attorney never asked him to call Thomas and tell him to back off.
Naughton has been charged with misdemeanor battery and trespassing. She's been put on desk duty at the state's attorney's office until the case is resolved. She's scheduled to go to trial next week.