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College student alleges intimidation, harassment in lawsuit against Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan

Illinois Watchdog.Org

Tuesday, January 29, 2019  |  Article  |  By Cole Lauterbach

Chicago (16) , Ethics, Campaign Reform, Transparency (12a) Madigan, Michael--State House, 22
A college student filed a federal lawsuit against long-time House Speaker Michael Madigan and his political organization alleging they engaged in a far-reaching campaign of intimidation, harassment and fraud to try to crush his campaign and anyone who supported it.

David Krupa, an independent candidate for Chicago Alderman in the 13th Ward, filed the complaint Monday against Madigan, 13th Ward Alderman Marty Quinn, and their respective political organizations, Citizens for Marty Quinn and the 13th Ward Democratic Organization, which Madigan controls.

The suit alleges Madigan and Quinn “entered into an agreement to engage in a campaign of intimidation, harassment and illegal tactics against [Krupa] to cause him to withdraw from running for Alderman or else hinder his campaign to the point where he could not get sufficient signatures to obtain ballot access,” in the coming February city election. Krupa also claims in the suit that political operatives tricked and intimated those who signed his ballot petitions to withdraw their signatures, in some cases by standing in their way as they tried to get into their homes. In other cases, Krupa claims the operatives threatened to cutoff ward services to those who refused to withdraw their signatures, according to the lawsuit.

Krupa had initially turned in more than 1,700 signatures to get on the ballot against Quinn, more than the 473 required.

Quinn’s attorneys had challenged Krupa’s spot on the ballot, turning in more than 2,700 documents stating that people had not meant to sign on to endorse Krupa. Krupa has alleged that more than 2,000 of those documents were fraudulent.

“They were caught red-handed, turning in falsified affidavits to illegally influence the results of this election,” said Krupa, who is asking for state and local officials to cooperate with an ongoing FBI investigation into the matter.

Krupa’s attorney, Anthony Peraica, said 13th Ward operatives, at Madigan’s behest, were dispatched to harass and intimidate not only Krupa but the people Krupa was going door-to-door meeting.

“The signatories of David Krupa’s nominating petitions were told ‘if you want a garbage can you better sign this affidavit, if you want your tree trimmed you better sign this affidavit, if you want a job for one of your relatives or yourself you’d better sign this affidavit,” he said in a news conference Monday morning. “The political committee Friends of Michael J. Madigan spent a lot of money ... paying these precinct workers to collect over 1,700 of these affidavits from 13th Ward residents, only 180 or so of which actually signed David’s petitions so they were clearly fraudulent.”

Madigan and Quinn said Krupa's suit was directly out of the right-wing playbook.

"This election should and will be decided at the ballot box and not in the courtroom," Madigan said. "This lawsuit is blatant defamation of me and Ald. Quinn. But we’ve seen this highly political tactic before. Distracting voters with ludicrous claims is pulled directly from the ultra-right-wing playbook. The residents of the 13th Ward deserve better."