HAMMOND | Lake County Councilwoman Christine Cid has apologized for falsely telling a WJOB radio audience Friday morning that Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. offered her a job to change her vote in favor of a county income tax.
"McDermott did not offer me a job of any kind. I said that facetiously, to hurt him. It's probably hurting me now. It was wrong, and I apologize," Cid said Friday afternoon.
She said that on the "JED in the Region" show to host James Dedelow, minutes after McDermott had criticized Cid for refusing to vote for the county income tax at Monday's council meeting.
McDermott said Friday afternoon he was glad Cid retracted her explosive assertion. "I don't want the federal government out there thinking I'm offering jobs to get a tax passed," he said.
The exchange was an example of the pressure elected officials have been under since the income tax debate ignited last month.
McDermott supports the tax because it is expected to generate almost $7 million in new revenue for the city.
Cid, who represents East Chicago and Highland on the county government's fiscal body, voted for a tax in 2007, but voted against it last week, saying she was convinced during a meeting with her constituents last weekend that it wouldn't benefit her district.
McDermott, who has a Friday morning talk show on WJOB, accused her of angling for a new job in local government. Cid currently is a deputy county treasurer, but a new state law requires her to give up that job if she wins re-election on the council next year.
A recording of his comments, provided by WJOB, states, "This is all about what is good for Christine. Quite frankly, she could be trying to parlay that into another job. Ever think about that? ... When her next election comes, she can no longer be a boss and work for the company she is the boss for. .... She is breaking the law right now."
McDermott also said, "She already voted for a local income tax five years ago. There is no rhyme or reason for her to change her stripes now, except for playing politics, which is exactly what Christine is doing, playing politics and sucking up to a crowd she thinks will get her elected, and they are not. I can promise you the ones she is talking to aren't going to get her re-elected. We are going to make sure of it."
Cid said Friday afternoon his remarks prompted her to call the radio station, an act she now regrets.
"He's lying and saying I'm holding two positions illegally right now; that upset me more than anything. I'm within the law. I was very, very upset with the lies he was saying about me. I wanted him to feel what I was feeling when someone lies about you and it's not true," she said.
McDermott said he had finished his remarks and was driving away from the WJOB station when he heard Cid on his vehicle's radio. "I almost wrecked my car," he said.