Dargis campaign worker suspended after ethics complaint by 8th District GOP rival

  • Clockwise from top left, Chris Dargis, Chad Koppie, Peter Kopsaftis and Phillip Wood are four of the five GOP candidates for the 8th Congressional District seat. Karen Kolodziej is not pictured.

    Clockwise from top left, Chris Dargis, Chad Koppie, Peter Kopsaftis and Phillip Wood are four of the five GOP candidates for the 8th Congressional District seat. Karen Kolodziej is not pictured.

 
 
Updated 5/19/2022 5:42 PM

A high-ranking campaign worker for 8th Congressional District Republican candidate Chris Dargis of Palatine will be suspended after allegations of unethical behavior leveled against her by the campaign of GOP rival Peter Kopsaftis of South Barrington.

But despite what a spokesman describes as overzealous action on the part of manager Tanja Biebel of Glenview, the Dargis campaign maintains that the financial court cases involving Kopsaftis that Biebel referenced to others are in the public record.

 

The Dargis campaign released a statement saying that in raising the complaint, the Kopsaftis campaign is drawing attention to financial litigation against its own candidate.

"By doing so, he asked voters to consider these issues when making their choice in the June 28 Republican primary," the statement reads.

The Kopsaftis campaign's complaints against Biebel include a voicemail it says she left under false pretenses at the Greek American Rehabilitation and Care Center in Wheeling, where Kopsaftis sits on the board, and a conversation with Northfield Township Republican Committeeman T.J. Brown.

Brown said Biebel challenged him on his endorsement of Kopsaftis and claimed to have a file of several cases of "financial crimes and fraud" against Kopsaftis.

Biebel did not respond to a request for comment.

Brown issued a statement describing his phone conversation with Biebel.

"She continued to complain that my personal endorsement was an affront to her as a resident of the township," Brown said. "She then made reference to her getting some kind of 'legal team' together and taking action against me. Although I'm unsure what sort of legal action one can take against a person who asserts his First Amendment right to endorse a candidate for office."

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The voicemail left at the Greek American Rehabilitation and Care Center begins with a woman identifying herself as "Deena, ABC," but it ends with an automated identification of a phone number belonging to Biebel, according to public records.

"Have you done any investigation of the board member Peter 'Kraftsalis?'" the caller asks with a mispronunciation of the candidate's name. "I think you ought to do a background on him before we do one on the news."

The Dargis campaign announced its intention to suspend Biebel Thursday, after hearing a recording of the voicemail.

While the Dargis campaign condemned Biebel's actions, it maintains there is a record of financial litigation involving Kopsaftis. The campaign did not accuse the real estate businessman of any criminal wrongdoing.

The campaign provided a list that includes eight breach of contract cases from 1990 to 2009, Chapter 7 bankruptcies in 1996 and 2010, four foreclosures during the '90s, a civil judgment for debt in Cook County, a small claims case in McHenry County in 1990, a 1993 housing court case, a 1995 condemnation case, and a 1987 eviction for possession -- a type of case in which a landlord aims to take back possession of a property.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The Kopsaftis campaign is demanding an apology and the termination of Biebel for what it described as her "harassment of Mr. Brown" and "libelous statements against Peter Kopsaftis."

"Peter Kopsaftis is also looking into whether or not any legal action will be taken, and the campaign is asking for people to come forward with any further information related to this appalling behavior," a campaign statement reads.

The other three contenders in the 8th District Republican primary on June 28 are Phillip Owen Wood of Carol Stream, Chad Koppie of Gilberts and Karen Kolodziej of Itasca.

The victor will face the winner of the Democratic primary between incumbent Raja Krishnamoorthi of Schaumburg and challenger Junaid Ahmed of South Barrington in the Nov. 8 general election.

Though its borders are shifting for the 2022 elections, the 8th District will remain roughly centered in Schaumburg and include areas of northwest Cook, northeast DuPage and northeast Kane counties.

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