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Former Madigan employee says House speaker covered up harassment complaint, retaliated against her

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The woman who made sexual harassment allegations against a high-ranking member of House Speaker Mike Madigan’s political organization is accusing the speaker of covering it up.

Alaina Hampton was employed with Madigan’s campaign committee and the Democratic Party of Illinois. She was supervised by Kevin Quinn, who has worked with Madigan’s political committees and state government office for two decades. Hampton alleges Quinn harassed her throughout the 2016 election cycle through a series of text messages. Hampton says she asked Quinn multiple times to stop making unwanted advances over many months, but he did not.

The text messages, shared with the Chicago Tribune, “detail a relentless series of entreaties” from Quinn asking Hampton to go out with him, the Tribune reported. In one text, he called her “smoking hot.”

At a Tuesday news conference in Chicago, Hampton said she filed a complaint about Kevin Quinn’s harassment with 13th Ward Chicago Alderman Marty Quinn, Kevin’s brother and one of Madigan’s top political lieutenants, in February 2017, but nothing was done.

In a statement, Marty Quinn said, “I immediately met with Kevin and told him to stop all communication with Ms. Hampton. I advised him that such behavior would not be tolerated, and that any further communication with Ms. Hampton would result in immediate termination. He was remorseful and acknowledged his poor judgment.”

But Kevin Quinn remained employed.

“Distressed by the Democratic Party’s lack of response to her complaint, and the prospect of having to continue to work with Kevin Quinn, she quit her employment with Friends of Michael J. Madigan and the Illinois Democratic Party in April 2017,” a statement released by Hampton and her attorneys says.

Hampton said she feels there was a cover up because she sent Madigan a private letter to his home in November 2017 about the issue after not getting any relief through other channels. But no action was taken on Kevin Quinn’s employment until Monday, a day after Hampton told the Chicago Tribune her story.

“It doesn’t take three months to read those text messages and know that that behavior was inappropriate,” Hampton said at a Tuesday news conference in Chicago. “It would take all of 20 minutes to know that that was sexual harassment.”

Hampton said she felt Madigan and others covered up her complaint and Kevin Quinn would still be in his job if she hadn’t gone to the media. Madigan’s Monday news release announcing his termination was “pre-emeptive,” she said, because the longtime House speaker knew the Tribune story was about to be published.

“They thought that I was too loyal to ever come forward,” she said.

Hampton’s attorney, Shelly Kulwin, said Tuesday that action should have been taken the second Hampton’s allegations became clear.

“At a minimum there should be an investigation by an independent party, usually an outside law firm, to investigate whether there’s any truth,” Kulwin said. “That’s what every credible organization does.”

Before resigning, Hampton said she still had hopes of working with the Democratic Party, and in particular on the House seat being vacated by state Rep. Juliana Stratton, D-Chicago, who is running for lieutenant governor. But Hampton said she was told Democratic resources were not being sent to the seat.

“That same morning I had gotten a text message from a Democratic Party staffer that said a Democratic Party staffer was being sent to that race that very same day,” Hampton said. She said she felt she was being retaliated against for bringing her complaint forward.

Hampton also has filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. After an initial investigation, Hampton and her attorneys said they will seek to file a lawsuit against the Illinois Democratic Party and Friends of Mike Madigan, for whom Hampton worked.

Lorna Brett, former president of the Chicago chapter of the National Organization for Women, is now advocating on Hampton’s behalf.

“Madigan simultaneously fast tracked legislation to eradicate sexual harassment in Illinois politics and killed the political career of Alaina Hampton for reporting sexual harassment in his own organization,” Brett said in a news release.

Madigan and other lawmakers late last year scrambled to address other sexual harassment allegations made in the wake of the nationwide #MeToo movement, including the revelation that more than two dozen complaints went un-investigated because the Legislative Inspector General position went unfilled for years.

Article by Greg Bishop & Dan McCaleb For more Illinois News Network content, visit ILNews.org

 

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Illinois News Network, publisher of ILNews.org, is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media company dedicated to the principles of transparency, accountability, and fiscal responsibility in the state of Illinois. INN is Illinois’ pioneering non-profit news brand, offering content from the statehouse and beyond to Illinoisans through their local media of choice and from their digital hub at ILNews.org. Springfield Daily was granted republishing permission by INN.

Business

Illinois launches veteran-owned small business logo program

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Finding veteran-owned local businesses will soon be easier.

The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs is offering a sticker to qualifying veteran-owned businesses. Veteran-owned businesses that are registered with the state, and in good standing, can display the logo in their place of business.

The stickers will be released as part of their annual program that sets aside $300 million in state contracts that only veteran-owned businesses can bid on, Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs spokesman Dave MacDonna said.

“We want to raise public awareness about small businesses that are veteran-owned or large businesses that are veteran-owned,” he said.

MacDonna said that there are many small business owners across the state and this is a way for consumers to have confidence that they’re spending their money with one.

“We want the consumer to realize that they are a trusted and valuable part of the community,” he said.

The program will run in concurrence to the state’s annual Veterans’ Business program, which gives qualified veteran-owned businesses in the state access to more than $300 million in contracts.

For information about the program, visit www2.illinois.gov/cms/business.

Article by Cole Lauterbach with Illinois News Network. For more INN News visit ILnews.org

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State

Duckworth, Durbin Introduce Legislation to Improve Water Quality & End Sewage Dumping into Great Lakes

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PRESS RELEASE | U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced legislation today to end the dumping of untreated sewage waste into the Great Lakes Basin. The Senators’ Great Lakes Water Protection Act would improve water quality in the Great Lakes, which contain 95% of America’s fresh surface water and supply drinking water to more than 30 million people in North America. The bill would also create a dedicated fund to help clean up sewage in the Great Lakes and require the public be immediately notified when sewage is discharged. Representative Dan Lipinski (D-3) has introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

“The Great Lakes is the source of drinking water for tens of millions of Americans and supports 1.5 million jobs,” said Senator Duckworth. “Yet, under the current rules, roughly 22 billion gallons of untreated sewage and storm water are discharged into the Great Lakes each year, threatening the health and livelihoods of millions.  Our legislation will help fix this problem by banning discharges of untreated sewage into the Great Lakes to protect local economies and ensure our water is clean for families in Illinois and throughout the Great Lakes region.” 

“The Great Lakes are precious natural resources and it’s our duty to protect them. In Illinois, we depend on Lake Michigan as a critical source of drinking water for millions of people. Lake Michigan also provides a huge economic benefit to the state, and is a place of recreation for countless residents and tourists,” Senator Durbin said. “This bill will end sewage dumping and ensure we have clean and healthy Great Lakes for future generations of Americans to enjoy.”

“My bill and the legislation Senators Duckworth and Durbin introduced in the Senate will improve water quality in the Great Lakes by ending the practice of blending and making sure that wastewater discharged into the lakes is fully-treated,” added Representative Lipinski. “We are also creating a Great Lakes Cleanup Fund that will provide federal dollars to offset the cost of infrastructure improvements needed to end wastewater blending, and make sure that an undue burden is not placed on local residents.”

An estimated 22 billion gallons of untreated sewage and storm water are discharged into the Great Lakes each year. That’s because inconsistent rules allow sewage treatment facilities in some states to divert wastewater around secondary treatment and discharge the untreated water directly into the Great Lakes when the treatment facilities are overloaded due to heavy storms, wet weather events or power failures, creating a public health hazard. The Senators’ legislation would create a uniform policy across the entire Great Lakes Basin that ends this practice. It would also authorize The Great Lakes Cleanup Fund to provide up to $250 million each year from 2020 to 2024 to support projects that lead to reductions in wastewater blending. 

The Great Lakes Water Protection Act has been endorsed by the Alliance for the Great Lakes, the National Wildlife Federation Great Lakes Regional Center, American Rivers, Environment Illinois, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Environmental Law and Policy Center.

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Education

Illinois educators wary of bill to require metal detectors in every school

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image from the Sentinel-Echo

A group of Illinois lawmakers are promoting legislation that would use a combination of state, local and federal funds to put metal detectors in every school in the state, but some school leaders say it’s simply not feasible.

State Rep. La Shawn Ford, D-Chicago, said students in schools should feel safe from gun violence when they’re learning. For that reason, the former teacher filed a bill that would require all public schools, K-12, have students walk through metal detectors everyday to get to class.

“Why is it that no one gets shot inside of Terminal 1 or Terminal 2 at O’Hare Airport?” he asked.

The bill would tap into federal funds made available this summer to partially pay for the walk-through detectors, which can cost thousands of dollars.

Regional Superintendent Mark Jontry, who oversees schools in DeWitt, Livingston, Logan and McLean Counties, said the idea is well-intentioned, but would result in a unfunded expenses for school districts and create logistical problems.

“Who’s going to be responsible for doing those screenings? Are districts going to be responsible for the cost of hiring additional personnel?” he said. “The concept, on the surface may seem like a good idea, but it presents a number of challenges once you dig into it.”

The detectors would have to be run by a trained professional and need regular servicing and calibration to ensure they work properly. Jontry said such costs would likely fall to local taxpayers.

Ben Schwarm, deputy director with the Illinois Association of School Boards, served on a working group with the Illinois Terrorism Task Force. The law enforcement contingent of the group had a hierarchy of actions that could be taken to “harden” schools from unwanted entry. Schwarm said metal detectors were last on that list.

“It’s just not that effective,” he said. “There’s a thousand things school districts should be doing before they get to that point.”

Article by Cole Lauterbach with Illinois News Network. For more INN News visit ILnews.org

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