Alderman candidate Gabe Beukinga admits 'drunken breakdown' in emails

ABC7 I-Team Investigation
CHICAGO (WLS) -- The same week that Chicago businessman Gabe Beukinga filed papers to run for alderman on the West Side, he confessed to a late-night "drunken breakdown," an ultimate campaign faux pah in which he sent accusatory and threatening emails to a major developer in his ward.

Beukinga, 31, has been on the campaign trail for months ramping up his challenge to long-time West Side Ald. Walter Burnett.

Last Monday Beukinga filed his petitions to run and he has the backing of several high-profile politicians.

Then, early Friday morning, Beukinga sent drunken emails to a top executive at Sterling Bay, the prominent real estate developer in his ward.

Between 2:59-3:27 a.m. he wrote the following:

"Remember when you guys were too scared to support me and gave money to Burnett?"

"Before I crush you guys for disrespecting me, I'll let you review my marketing program."

"I don't like what you guys have done so far and won't put up with it when I'm in."

"So, I'll give you guys a chance to fix the 'pay to play' you guys have done so far. I have zero tolerance for it when I'm in."

The recipient, Sterling Bay Managing Principal Partner Andy Gloor, told the I-Team, "I was shocked to receive those emails. We're making positive changes to the neighborhood and those changes speak for themselves."

That wasn't the end of Beukinga's emails. At 9:27 a.m., the candidate wrote:

"Sorry, drunken breakdown last night. Very immature of me and I apologize."

Then, later that afternoon:

"I blacked out and do not recall any of it. It's tremendously embarrassing and frustrating for me. I have a problem with drinking in which I had handled via AA meetings up until the past month or so in which I've stopped going to my meetings and have relapsed. There's zero excuse for my misbehavior, however, it is a very stressful time."

Ald. Burnett said he does not want beat up his opponent over the incident because he needs help. Lawyers for Sterling Bay said they are sending a letter to Beukinga Wednesday night threatening legal action if he doesn't issue a written retraction that acknowledges he had no basis for the accusations in the emails.

The I-Team has not received a response from Beukinga.
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