Aldus. Neighborhood superintendent Jim Gardiner fired amid federal machine gun investigation

JEFFERSON PARK — A Northwest Side Neighborhood Superintendent facing federal charges for allegedly trying to sell an illegal machine gun has been fired from his job.

Charles Sikanich, Ald. Ward Superintendent Jim Gardiner, who oversaw sanitation services in the 45th Ward, was fired from the city’s Streets and Sanitation Department, spokeswoman Mimi Simon told the Block Club.

Sikanich was fired last week and his position has yet to be filled, Simon said.

The former ward superintendent had been on leave since April 27, two days after his arrest and charge, according to employment history documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request and shared with Block Club.

Sikanich is under federal investigation for trying to sell an illegal World War II legacy machine gun while on duty for his government job. In April, he was charged with possession and attempted sale of the weapon, according to the Illinois attorney general’s office. Sikanich was also charged with official misconduct.

The matter was first investigated by the local Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Office of the City Inspector General the year last. The ATF confiscated Sikanich’s machine gun last summer, Block Club previously reported.

Machine guns are illegal in Illinois and anyone caught with them could face three to seven years in prison. Sentencing guidelines vary, with recommendations between six and 30 years if the weapon is found loaded or in a vehicle.

Authorities said Sikanich arranged to sell an MP-40 fully automatic machine gun to an undercover ATF agent while on the job. ATF officers staking out the prearranged meeting spot saw Sikanich arrive in a City Streets and Sanitation Department vehicle, the attorney general’s office previously said.

A later review of Sikanich’s city timesheets showed he was clocked in when he allegedly tried to sell the gun, the attorney general’s office said. During the meeting, Sikanich said “he would ask his mother to complete the illegal transaction, as he hoped to avoid complications” at his job as a ward, according to the attorney general’s office.

The investigation is ongoing and is currently undergoing a preliminary process before going to court, according to documents filed earlier this month in the Circuit Court of Cook County.

Sikanich, his attorney James P. McKay, Jr. and Gardiner’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Aldus. James M. Gardiner (45th) sits with Ald. Anthony Napolitano (41st) during a city council on May 25, 2022.

Sikanich is also involved in other lawsuits. In one case, Sikanich is accused of having his mother, who works for the clerk of the Cook County Circuit Court, extract old police records in a revenge plot against an Irving Park resident who is a harsh criticism of Gardiner.

Gardiner reportedly planned to release the documents, according to the lawsuit and text messages between him and a former staffer.

This matter was referred to the Office of the Inspector General of the Circuit Court Clerk.

Sikanich and Gardiner are being sued in federal court by Benjamin George, a former resident of the 45th Precinct. George claims the duo and seven police officers falsely accused him of a crime, harassed him and had him arrested for a lost cellphone.

Earlier this year, a judge ruled the case was moving forward despite efforts by Gardiner’s attorney to have the case dismissed.

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