The inspector of Chicago’s 45th Division has been charged with possession of a weapon and official misdemeanor after trying to sell an antique machine gun to an undercover ATF agent while clocking into his job at the city’s Department of Streets and Sanitation two years ago. said authorities.
Department head Charles Sikanich was arrested Monday after being indicted on charges last week, court records show. When he was arrested, he “repeatedly asked to be contacted” 45th Ward Ald. Jim Gardiner before he was remanded in custody, according to his arrest report.
Sikanich was ordered detained instead of $ 100,000 bail after a brief hearing in Cook County court on Tuesday. He must pay $ 10,000 to be released from custody while his case is pending. The bond set by Judge Barbara Dawkins is higher than the $ 75,000 that prosecutors had requested and significantly greater than the $ 500 that his lawyer said he could pay.
Assistant Attorney General Jonas Harger said in Cook County court Tuesday that ATF received a tip from a confidential informant in February 2020 that Sikanich owned an MP 40 machine gun and was interested in selling it. Sikanich asked the informant to find a buyer for him, Harger said.
A meeting was scheduled with Sikanich, the informant and an undercover ATF agent, where they all tried to negotiate a price for the illegal gun, authorities said. Agents who conducted the meeting saw Sikanich arrive at his vehicle from the Department of Streets and Sanitation, prosecutors said. And hourly records show he was on the clock at his job in the city at the time he was supposed to discuss gun sales, Harger said in court.
A press release from Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office also claimed that during the meeting, Sikanich “indicated that he wanted his mother to complete the illegal transaction as he hoped to avoid complications for his role as superintendent of Chicago’s 45th Ward.”
A few months later, agents confronted Sikanich, who led them to a “secret room” in his basement where a black bag with the gun was found, Harger said.
Sikanich’s lawyer, Blaire Dalton, said in court that the gun was a heirloom of the family inherited from Sikanich’s grandfather. It stems from World War II Battle of the Bulge, Dalton said. The gun was “plugged in” and unusable, she said in court, noting that the gun was seized in August, but Sikanich was not charged until this month.
In response, Harger noted that it took the ATF less than an hour to make the gun usable, and it was still capable of firing shots. Sikanich “knew the gun was illegal and intended to sell it at a higher price because of the illegality of the gun,” he said.
In a press release on Tuesday, Raoul stated that attempts to sell a machine gun “at best show indifference to public safety. But doing so in government time using state property shows a shocking disregard for the people government employees have committed to serve.”
The charges are just the latest trials for Sikanich. He and Gardiner are being sued in a federal court by a man who claims that Gardiner got him harassed, intimidated and ultimately falsely arrested after he took a cell phone that Sikanich had inadvertently left on a 7-Eleven.
Curtains are also under federal criminal investigation involving his conduct in office, including whether he retaliated against voters for political purposes, sources told the Tribune.
Curtains could not be immediately reached for comment Tuesday on the charges against Sikanich.
The newly trained councilor has been a lightning rod for controversy in his first term, representing parts of Jefferson Park, Portage Park, Old Irving Park and Norwood Park.
He rose in council chambers during the body’s meeting in September to apologize after an anonymous Northwest Side online group published texts he sent to a department employee in which he described a city council colleague as “a bitch” and the top assistant to another council member as “his bitch, ”and also used the term to describe a political communications consultant.
He said he was sorry for his “offensive words”, but said he “never acted on any of these rants” in published texts in which he appeared to call for church services to be withheld from political opponents .