A car dealership owner who got into a heated exchange with woke Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot over the city’s rampant crime that saw his business get ransacked has been slapped with six violations – but the embattled politician claimed the fines were not given in retaliation.
Joe Perillo’s Gold Coast Exotic Motors, which also sells high-priced jewelry, was robbed to the tune of $1 million during a smash and grab on December 11. He met with Lightfoot soon after but she allegedly stormed out of the meeting, even reportedly calling Perillo an ‘idiot.’
Just days later, a city official paid a visit to the Chicago dealership on Rush Street after an anonymous tip about health violations and wrote out six summonses, including two for employees and customers not wearing masks as per COVID regulations.
Perillo, who said he voted for Lightfoot in 2019, has been highly critical of both the mayor and Chicago’s progressive District Attorney Kim Foxx after thefts skyrocketed 51 percent in the city last year.
‘It’s only a fool who keeps doing things the same way and expects different results. If the Mayor and Kim Foxx don’t do anything to get control of this, it’s not going to get better. It’s going to get worse,’ Perillo told local TV stations.
‘If they don’t do anything about this, they’re going to lose a lot of businesses. They lost Macy’s. They’re losing Neiman Marcus. They may lose this store,’ he added.
The feud between Lightfoot and Perillo dates back to this December break-in caught on camera, where one man stands watch at the door of Gold Coast Exotic Motors while the other smashes the glass protecting over $1million in jewelry
The men made off with the merchandise without a fight and have still yet to be found by Chicago police
The masked suspects ran off with at least eight Richard Mille timepieces, some of which retailed at millions of dollars each
The suspect smashed the display case with a hammer
Employees ran after the robbers but were unable to apprehend them
Surveillance cameras showed two men walking into Perillo’s dealership just after noon on December 11. One of them stood guard at the door while the other took a hammer to the glass to break in.
Employees said that the men made off with at least seven luxury watches and other jewelry and merchandise totaling over $1 million.
All told, it took the two crooks very little time to break in and make their getaway.
‘Thirty seconds in, they know, the criminals know,’ Perillo said.
The robbery left the dealership with shattered glass and empty display cases.
Gold Coast Exotic Motors co-owner Joe Perillo (pictured) was heavily critical of Chicago’s mayor and district attorney when speaking publicly about the robbery
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot met with Perillo in the days following the December 11 break-in but things became heated, with Lightfoot allegedly calling Perillo an ‘idiot’
Lightfoot herself said: ‘It’s not acceptable. We’re aggressively going after these folks. I’m confident that we will find them. And fundamentally we’ve got to send a message that if you do this, you’re gonna be held accountable.’
No arrests have been made. Police are still investigating.
In the days after the break-in, Lightfoot came down to Gold Coast to meet with Perillo.
Multiple sources said the meeting was less than amicable, saying Lightfoot ‘got into a fight and walked out,’ adding that she called Perillo an ‘idiot’ as she left.
A spokesperson for Lightfoot would not provide details regarding the meeting but confirmed that Lightfoot met with Perillo.
‘The Mayor routinely meets with victims of crime and reached out to Mr. Perillo which resulted in a meeting. The Mayor offered to work with him to address safety and security matters at any of his dealership locations,’ the spokesperson said.
Within two days of Lightfoot’s meeting, Gold Coast Exotic Motors received several citations for employees and a customer not wearing face masks, ‘storing, receiving, possessing, selling nineteen bottles of liquor,’ and for ‘interfering with or obstructing the commissioner’s designee in the performance of duties.’
Perillo told Fox News that they met and disagreed but that he did not hear Lightfoot call him an idiot.
‘I’m not aware that she called me an idiot… at least she did not say that to me,’ Perillo said. ‘In her heart, I believe she is trying her best. That said, we are both passionate individuals and have different views of how to deal with theft.
‘I can report that there was nothing I said that in any way was foolish! I simply wanted to know what her future plans were going forward!,’ he added.
Within a couple of days of that meeting, Perillo was visited by an inspector from the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection.
The spokesperson for the mayor said the inspector was following up on an anonymous tip the city received on December 15 about a public health violation at the dealership.
‘It was unrelated to the mayor’s meeting with Mr. Perillo,’ the spokesperson said.
The inspector gave Perillo’s business four tickets for six violations on December 17. Two of the violations and one of the tickets was health-related.
The citations were for employees and a customer not wearing face masks, ‘storing, receiving, possessing, selling nineteen bottles of liquor,’ and for ‘interfering with or obstructing the commissioner’s designee in the performance of duties.’
Chicago, like many cities, is currently going through a rise in crime.
While murders have dipped 31 percent and shootings are also down through January 9, thefts like the one that happened at Perillo’s business are up a shocking 51 percent, while robberies are up 44 percent.
Overall, crime in the Windy City is up 29 percent from the same period last year.
Smash-and-grab lootings are no exception, with recent cases including a Burberry store on the Magnificent Mile that has been repeatedly targeted by brazen smash-and-grab robbers in recent weeks; a ransacking of an area Louis Vuitton store; and a gang filmed robbing a beauty shop.
‘I know people are scared,’ Lightfoot said last month.
She claims her goal is to ‘proactively and relentlessly bring peace to our city once and for all.’
DailyMail.com has reached out to both the mayor’s office and Perillo for further comment.