Behind the smoke: Pot, porn, guns, FBI job and abuse allegations encircle congressional candidate Benjamin Thomas Wolf

Date: 
03/09/2018
WolfFlgSmoke

Benjamin Thomas Wolf in his "Cannabis Congressman" ad

Benjamin Thomas Wolf, Wicker Park resident, went after national press attention in his race to unseat U.S. Congressman Mike Quigley, 5th District. He is successfully getting the attention. Many area people are relieved that facts behind the smoke are being revealed. 

He is tall, good looking with chiseled features and can be very engaging. He gives a sense of having everything under control. In person and in his videos, Wolf, 42, gives the impression that he is a "nice guy," who is concerned about everyone. He does make it clear that he is going after his target market of 33.

However, throughout the West Town area from Ukrainian Village through Wicker Park and up into Bucktown, many residents have expressed relief that facts about his actions are surfacing. They have seen his volatile personality and have safety concerns about his gun ownership.

Reports in POLITICO and the Chicago Tribune have substantiated their fears. 

With the high rate of shootings in Chicago and the trauma of mass shootings such as in Parkland, FL, many people became more alarmed as Wolf labeled himself the Cannabis Congressman and brandished his AK-15 rifle in one of his You Tube ads (shown above).

WolfGunStmt

He says that no one should have that type of rifle, yet he has one his condo in the old Ludwig Drum factory location, 1728 N. Damen.

Major media digs in
Wolf enticed major media outlets such as Newsweek, CNN and Fox and Friends to interview him at the end of February because of his stand on legalizing cannabis. Though in local elections, several candidates have been pushing for legalization to aid in funding no end of projects, none have put their ads on porn sites. 

Wolf's approach to legalizing marijuana prompted other sources including the Observer, POLITICO, The Washington Examiner and the Chicago Tribune to dig deeper into his background. The image of the honest, believable patriot interested in being of service to community possibly becomes less believable to them as more information about him unfolds. 

On Mar. 6, the Observer reported that Wolf was the first political candidate to ever advertise on a porn site. 

At 2 p.m. on Mar. 7, POLITICO broke the first reports about "Illinois Democrat's troubled past." The Washington Examiner followed up about an hour and a half later. And by 9:30 p.m. the Chicago Tribune added to the story with an interview with Wolf. 

POLITICO was able to locate and talk with one of Wolf's former girlfriends who spoke of abuse and harassment, then substantiate that Wolf was banned from the DePaul campus. They also learned that:

  • the Women's March Chicago blocked Wolf from its Facebook group
  • the Florida Democrats for 2018 endorsed then pulled their endorsement
  • that he has an AK-15 rifle in his Wicker Park apartment [this weapon is not banned in Chicago but there is legislation in the works according to the Chicago Police Department]

A former girlfriend Katarina Coates who interned for Wolf's campaign told POLITICO "that Wolf was frequently physically and emotionally abusive, and 'doxxed' her by revealing her name and home address on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook." 

“He actually hit me, threw me to the ground, put his foot on my chest. He was really angry. He grabbed my face,” Coates explained. She described at least six incidents of physical abuse to POLITICO. “I thought it was normal. I cannot explain the logic. It seemed like he cared about me when he did that. After that time he stood on my chest, he went and took me for chocolate cake. I kind of associated it with his caring. ... There were times I would ask him, 'Do you ever regret hitting me?’ He would say: 'No, but I'm relieved when you put your head down so I don't have to do it again.'" 

POLITICO went on to say that Coates did not file a police report documenting the allegations of abuse. Instead, she told them that Wolf filed a police report against her. 

They did learn, by reviewing emails, that Coates, over a period of three months in 2017, reached out to several institutions where she stated her allegations of relationship violence. Coates was in contact with Title IX officers at both DePaul University, where she was a student, and Roosevelt University, where Wolf has said he was an adjunct professor and where Coates filed a formal Title IX complaint. 

In April 2017, Coates, in a separate instance, corresponded via email with a DePaul security officer. “Ben is not allowed in campus. He does know that as I told him that personally,” wrote Michael Dohm, Deputy Director of Public Safety at DePaul, in an email provided to POLITICO by Coates, as proof of the exchange. 

Philosophy professor Jason Hill, told POLITICO that he filed a complaint about Wolf to campus security because another student was crying after an upsetting encounter with Wolf. Hill went on to say that Wolf sent him nasty letters, encouraging him to kill himself, after he learned that he complained to campus security. 

While another woman, Kari Fitzgerald, who dated Wolf about four years ago said that he wasn't violent with her, but he had a volatile personality. 

She explained, "When he thinks he's been wronged or threatened in any way he lashes out ... It's definitely a situation where he's escalating. There's abusive, escalating behavior he's demonstrating." 

The Chicago Tribune compared employment facts with Wolf's statements. While Wolf has stated on several occasions that he was an "FBI Agent," the Tribune learned that he was hired by the FBI as an investigative specialist. Wolf said he joined in March 1999 and left in July 2003. 

His campaign website says he “worked for years within the National Security Division on the highest priority terrorism, intelligence, and international security matters.”

When asked about these discrepancies, Wolf's reply to the Tribune was that he never identified himself as an FBI agent and downplayed the difference between his support role and an FBI agent.

On the issue of serving in the military and about being “overseas” or “on tour,” he told the Tribune that he is referring to his time with the State Department.

“People are caught up in minor details,” Wolf said. “I don’t care.”

Many voters do care about knowing facts about candidates for whom they may vote in the March 20 primary.

Some might also care that Newsweek learned from Roosevelt University's human resources department that Wolf was with the school for an "independent study" but has not been involved with the university since 2016. A previous version of this story labeled him as an adjunct professor.

Facts, dug up by the major media and reasons behind actions of others such as the Women's March Chicago, appear to paint a different picture to potential voters than Wolf's promotional materials and interface. 

Rounding out the field of four in this Democratic primary race are Sameena Mustafa and Steve Schwartzberg.

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