“Achtung!” reads the posting by Tim Timoney, owner of The Corner Pub and Grill, “der Fuhrer has spoken!”
The posting includes a doctored photo of Pritzker that makes it appear the governor has a toothbrush mustache and a haircut reminiscent of the dictator’s hairstyle, or perhaps that of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Alongside the doctored photo are state orders shutting down indoor service at bars and restaurants and otherwise restricting public gatherings in hopes of controlling the pandemic.
Timoney’s Facebook page also includes a posting of a photo that’s gained traction online allegedly showing the governor’s daughter dining at a restaurant in defiance of state rules. The governor has said that his daughter is not in the photograph, which was first published by Chicago City Wire, an online publication with apparent ties to a nationwide string of hundreds of online newspapers set up by conservative interests that promote conservative politicians and causes, according to a 2019 story in Columbia Journalism Review. The Chicago City Wire story quotes Twitter users but does not say who took the photograph, or the date and time the picture was taken.
“It wasn’t her,” the governor said on Tuesday.
In addition to the photo, Timoney, who works as the Logan County public defender, has reposted an offer from attorney Thomas DeVore, who has represented restaurants and other businesses in a so-far unsuccessful effort to abolish gubernatorial orders that close and restrict businesses. DeVore’s offer of $1,000 to any journalist who provides a photo of Pritzker “out celebrating Thanksgiving with family and friends” drew a rebuke from the governor during a Tuesday press conference. Leave my family out of this, said the governor, who acknowledged that his wife and daughter are in Florida indefinitely and that they will remain there while he celebrates the holiday in Chicago with his son.
“I was elected to this job, and while I don’t think it should come with a fear for my health and safety, I accept that sometimes it does,” said Pritzker, who was depicted as Hitler last spring by demonstrators who protested orders shutting down businesses. “I’m an adult. And I can handle people throwing up my face on anti-semitic picket signs likening me to Hitler. This kind of vitriol is apparently what I have to deal with to keep the state and its people safe. But my kids – my kids are off limits. … (A) well-known lawyer who cares more about headlines than winning cases posted a bounty on his Facebook page, offering money to harass my family at Thanksgiving. An actual cash bounty, including my kids, harassing them. My high-school-aged kids.”
Timoney could not immediately be reached for comment about his depiction of the governor as Hitler and his reposting of the photo that the governor has said is false and the $1,000 offer from DeVore. The governor’s office did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
Timoney previously has drawn attention for postings on a Facebook page that isn’t public. According to a State Journal-Register story published last year, when Timoney was seeking appointment to an associate judgeship in 2017, he posted a story about a Chicago fire department lieutenant shooting a teenaged carjacker and wrote, “I guess that punk learned his lesson. Concealed Carry: Reducing crime, one punk at a time.” According to the 2019 SJ-R story, Timoney, former head of the Sangamon County Democratic Party, wrote “Sounds more like animals let out of their cages. We need to bring back law and order,” when posting a story about groups that had attacked people on the Magnificent Mile in Chicago.
Timoney, who once ran for Sangamon County state’s attorney, defended those remarks in the SJ-R story, saying that he was offended by any criticism of his online opinions. He also told the paper that he’d written nothing that would interfere with his ability to be a good judge. “The reality is, this is an associate judge position,” Timoney told the paper. “It’s not the United States Supreme Court.” He did not get the appointment.
Public defenders serve at the pleasure of circuit judges. McLean County Circuit Court Judge Mark Fellheimer, who is chief judge of the judicial circuit that includes Logan County, where Timoney represents defendants at public expense, did not immediately return a phone message.
Timoney has been a prominent face as local bar and restaurant owners suffer from lost business due to the pandemic. Along with several state legislators, he spoke at an Oct. 29 press conference, shortly before the city and county adopted a short-lived plan to keep bars and restaurants open that fell apart as new cases skyrocketed. During a Nov. 3 city council meeting, Timoney was invited by council members to speak but declined, saying he was there to gather information and report back to other bar and restaurant owners.
Contact Bruce Rushton at email@example.com.