Peraica files $2M wrongful arrest suit

November 22, 2010 2:58:53 PM PST
Calling his arrest ''phony'' and a ''frame job,'' Cook County Commissioner Tony Peraica appeared in court on vandalism charges involving his rival's campaign signs.

Peraica, who is free on bond, is accused of tearing down the campaign signs of McCook Mayor Jeffrey Tobolski. On Monday he filed a $2 million wrongful arrest lawsuit against McCook.

Robert Baloga, a McCook resident, said he saw Peraica destroy a campaign sign for Tobolski days before the November 2 election, which Peraica lost.

"He's smashing the signs with a stick, destroying the sign like crazy," said Baloga.

Peraica, 53, denies he did anything wrong and said Baloga is not the same man who initially reported the alleged vandalism.

"What happened in court today was an ongoing fraud that's being committed upon the court with false evidence, false witnesses, abuse of process," said Peraica.

Three days before the election, Peraica was arrested and charged with misdemeanor vandalism in west suburban McCook after Peraica says he and a volunteer traveled through McCook to Willow Springs to investigate the destruction of his own signs. Peraica said a McCook police officer pulled them over for no reason.

However, Louis Skorvanek, who owns the business where a Tobolski campaign sign was destroyed said he lead police to Peraica after his tenant called him.

"I think he did it and that's why they got him," said Skorvanek.

The McCook police officer who stopped the white, Chevrolet Astro Van Peraica was riding left Monday's hearing without comment. "This is a conspiracy to tar and feather someone for political reasons," said Peraica.

The two-term Republican blames his loss on a "smear campaign."

"Why he continues to draw negative attention to himself given the fact that he is no longer Cook County commissioner concerns me," said Tobolski.

Mayor Tobolski says he looks forward to his new position and said he hopes recent published reports about atl east a dozen of his family holding government jobs in the tiny village where he is mayor won't overshadow his commitment to working with commissioners to solve Cook County's budget problems.

Peraica is due back in court on February 9th.


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