WAS THE HOUSE SPEAKER LIS­TEN­ING?

WOMAN WHO CAME FOR­WARD WITH SEX HA­RASS­MENT AL­LE­GA­TION ASKS WHY MADI­GAN TOOK MONTHS TO FIRE AIDE

Chicago Sun-Times - - NEWS - BYTINASFONDELES Po­lit­i­cal Re­porter

A po­lit­i­cal con­sul­tant said she knew she’d be risk­ing “ev­ery­thing” by com­ing for­ward with al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual ha­rass­ment against a top po­lit­i­cal aide to pow­er­ful state House Speaker Mike Madi­gan.

And while the speaker’s at­tor­ney on Tues­day de­fended a three­month in­ves­ti­ga­tion that led to the fir­ing of Kevin Quinn, the ac­cu­sa­tions from the for­mer cam­paign worker are ex­pos­ing a loop­hole in the way sex­ual ha­rass­ment claims are treated within po­lit­i­cal cam­paigns and op­er­a­tions ver­sus among gov­ern­ment em­ploy­ees.

The con­sul­tant, Alaina Hamp­ton, first told Ald. Marty Quinn that his brother was ha­rass­ing her a year ago, calling a dis­cus­sion with her po­lit­i­cal men­tor about his brother’s be­hav­ior “the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.”

But she said she was un­happy with the han­dling of the mat­ter — even af­ter she had left Madi­gan’s po­lit­i­cal or­ga­ni­za­tion — de­cid­ing to hand­write a let­ter to the speaker and mail it to his South­west Side home to en­sure he saw it.

Some 100 days later, Madi­gan on Mon­day an­nounced Kevin Quinn’s fir­ing af­ter Heather Wier Vaught — a pri­vate at­tor­ney who pre­vi­ously served as his chief le­gal coun­sel— con­ducted an in­ves­ti­ga­tion that in­cluded in­ter­views and a re­view of text mes­sages Kevin Quinn sent to Hamp­ton.

Madi­gan didn’t name Hamp­ton as the ac­cuser on Mon­day but hailed her as a “coura­geous woman.”

But on Tues­day, Hamp­ton had no praise for Madi­gan, sug­gest­ing that he was asleep at the switch.

“The speaker has had the let­ter for three months. It doesn’t take three months to read those text mes­sages and know that that be­hav­ior was in­ap­pro­pri­ate. It would take all of 20 min­utes to know that that was sex­ual ha­rass­ment,” Hamp­ton said.

The al­le­ga­tions sparked a bar­rage of com­plaints from Demo­cratic gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­dates and from Repub­li­can can­di­date state Rep. Jeanne Ives. But J. B. Pritzker chose his words care­fully, prais­ing Hamp­ton for “unimag­in­able courage” — with nary a men­tion of the speaker.

Busi­ness­man Chris Kennedy, and Ives, both called for Madi­gan to step down, al­beit Kennedy’s re­quest was for him to “tem­po­rar­ily” step down as head of the party un­til a thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tion could be con­ducted.

Gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­date state Sen. Daniel Biss, D- Evanston, also crit­i­cized the tim­ing of the fir­ing.

Speak­ing with re­porters in Spring­field on Tues­day, Madi­gan cat­e­gor­i­cally de­nied that the fir­ing was an­nounced Mon­day be­cause Hamp­ton had spo­ken to the Chicago Tri­bune: “I deny that,” Madi­gan said.

As for calls for him to re­sign as the head of the party, the speaker said he’s not go­ing any­where — say­ing he will re­main a “strong force against the [ Gov. Bruce] Rauner rad­i­cal right agenda.”

At an ear­lier Chicago news con­fer­ence, Hamp­ton said she had never wanted to go pub­lic.

“I asked him to stop seven times. It never stopped,” she said of Kevin Quinn’s re­peated text mes­sages. “I feared not re­spond­ing to my su­per­vi­sor be­cause I didn’t want him to tell the speaker or Ald. Quinn that I was not co­op­er­at­ing with my work. My first in­stinct was not to com­plain about him. It was my last op­tion.”

Hamp­ton, Ald. Quinn said in a state­ment, had “asked for my dis­cre­tion, and in­di­cated she did not want oth­ers to know about the sit­u­a­tion, and that Kevin not be fur­ther rep­ri­manded. I told her I would make sure he never con­tacted her again.”

Ald. Quinn, too, said he didn’t tell the speaker be­cause he was “at­tempt­ing to pro­tect” her pri­vacy and honor her wishes: “I thought I took swift ac­tion and han­dled the mat­ter as she re­quested,” he said in the state­ment.

A spokes­woman for Hamp­ton ques­tioned the tim­ing of Kevin Quinn’s dis­missal, com­ing a day af­ter she spoke with the Chicago Tri­bune.

But Wier Vaught on Tues­day said she had no knowl­edge that Hamp­ton had spo­ken to the me­dia. She said Kevin Quinn left both his po­lit­i­cal and state po­si­tions last week.

“Ques­tions started swirling as to where is Kevin Quinn, and we wanted to make it clear to peo­ple that this type of be­hav­ior wouldn’t

be tol­er­ated,” she said.

Wier Vaught said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­quired a “thought­ful and fair re­view,” say­ing she was con­fi­dent that it­was an iso­lated in­ci­dent and Kevin Quinn wasn’t send­ing in­ap­pro­pri­ate texts to other women.

Wier Vaught said Madi­gan re­ceived the let­ter at his home be­tweenNov. 6 andNov. 8. She spoke to Hamp­ton for the first time in an hour­long phone con­ver­sa­tion on Nov. 13. She met with her on the 15th, and the two shared four con­ver­sa­tions in to­tal.

Wier Vaught said her in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­cluded in mid- Jan­uary and that “ter­mi­na­tion isn’t some­thing you can do quickly.”

Hamp­ton said: “I don’t have . . . pro­tec­tions as a po­lit­i­cal worker. I don’t work for the gov­ern­ment. I only work on cam­paigns.” Email: ts­fonde­les@ sun­times. com Twit­ter: @ Ti­naS­fon

MORE AT SUN­TIMES. COM Read more texts and lis­ten to Alaina Hamp­ton out­line her com­plaints against Kevin Quinn.

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