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
Illinois’ bicentennial beer now on shelves
The latest birthday gift to the people of Illinois comes in a 12-ounce can – the state’s bicentennial beer is now on store shelves.
Gov. Bruce Rauner and members of the state’s Bicentennial Commission cracked the first cans of the 1818 Prairie State Farmhouse Ale on Wednesday in Springfield.
The governor said not only is the beer good, it shows what can still be made in the state.
“This year, we celebrate our 200th birthday,” the governor said. “We’ll celebrate our bicentennial by celebrating everything that is born, built and grown in the great state of Illinois.”
The beer is brewed by the Hand of Fate Brewing Co. out of Petersburg.
It won a competition at last year’s Illinois State Fair to become Illinois’ official 200th birthday beer.
Hand of Fate owner Mike Allison said he’s happy to have his relatively new success story be part of Illinois’ long legacy.
“It’s overwhelming, and a little bit mind blowing, to think that two years ago we were just opening a small brewery,” Allison said.
Allison said 1818 Prairie State Farmhouse Ale uses Illinois crops including corn, wheat and oats.
Reviews say the beer has some aromatic nose bursts with bubblegum, clove and white peppercorn.
Article by Benjamin Yount. For more Illinois News Network content, visit ILNews.org
Mendoza and Manar introduce “Truth in Hiring Act”
How big is the governor’s staff? That question is more complicated than you might think. Officially, the governor has 44 staffers and a budget of $4.9 million. However, according to Comptroller Susana Mendoza (D), the real number is much higher. A new info graphic put out by her office states the real size of the office is more than twice that size with 102 staffers and a budget of over $10 million.
The discrepancy is due to a practice called “offshoring.” Many people who work for the governor are paid through other offices. Because they are paid by other agencies, the governor’s staff looks smaller than it actually is. Not only does this hide how large the governor’s office is, it also distorts how much money the other agencies actually have. Mendoza made it clear that this is not a new practice. In her press release she said, “It was wrong when Governor Quinn did it. It was wrong when Governor Blagojevich did it. It was wrong when Governor Ryan did it. And it’s still wrong when Governor Rauner does it.”
In response, a bipartisan group of legislators, including Sen. Andy Manar (D-48) have proposed bills in the House and Senate to address this issue. The bills would prohibit paying employees of the Governor’s office out of any funds except those established for that purpose. This does not fire any of the employees who are currently offshored, but it would require paying them through the appropriate office. Often, employees are not even aware they have been offshored.
Rauner supporting proposals to shift state’s teacher pension costs to local schools
Gov. Bruce Rauner calls his plan to shift public retiree costs to local schools and colleges good governance, but the majority of state House members say otherwise in their pledge not to support it.
Rauner spoke to a group of business owners about his budget proposal Monday afternoon at Konen Insurance in Aurora. Part of the governor’s plan is to gradually shift the state’s pension costs to local schools and universities. He said it would give schools an incentive to insist on sustainable benefits for employees.
“You want to put responsibility for paying pensions in line with the folks who determine who gets the pension benefits and at what level, so it’s actually good policy to do that,” Rauner said. “Democrats and Republicans have both agreed that it’s the right policy to do.”
The plan did bring both parties together – but not as Rauner had hoped. State Rep. David McSweeney’s resolution opposing Rauner’s plan has 66 cosponsors.
“It would result in a massive property tax increase,” the Barrington Hills Republican said. “The only thing the governor’s doing is shifting the liabilities to local governments and they’ll be forced to raise property taxes.”
State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, D-Oswego, calls the plan bad policy.
“Shifting billions of dollars of additional costs to our school districts would, in effect, be a property tax increase and an unfunded mandate,” she said.
Rauner said he’s proposing $350 million in additional school funding for fiscal 2019 and that would cover the higher costs. The money he’s referring to is tied to the school funding reform legislation he signed into law last year.
Higher education officials panned the plan last week, saying it would lead to tuition hikes.
House Speaker Michael Madigan proposed a similar plan to shift pension costs to local schools in 2012, leading to one memorable outburst.
Article by Cole Lauterbach. For more Illinois News Network content, visit ILNews.org
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