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Consultant settles sexual harassment lawsuit involving ex-Madigan aide

Chicago Sun Times

Saturday, November 30, 2019  |  Article  |  Nader Issa

Sexual Harassment (96)

Alaina Hampton settled her lawsuit for $275,000 with the Democratic Party of Illinois, the Democratic Majority, the 13th Ward Democratic Organization, and Friends of Michael J. Madigan.

A political consultant whose allegations of sexual harassment against a top aide to powerful House Speaker Mike Madigan highlighted the treatment of women in Illinois politics has reached a settlement with four of the speaker’s political committees.

 

Alaina Hampton settled her 2018 federal lawsuit for $275,000 with the Democratic Party of Illinois, the Democratic Majority, the 13th Ward Democratic Organization, and Friends of Michael J. Madigan.

 

 “Going public with my story and pursuing a cause of action against some of the most powerful people in this State, and people I cared about, has not been easy,” Hampton said in a statement. “The past three years have taken a toll on me, so I am relieved to move forward with my life and put these events behind me.”

 

Hampton said there have been “positive changes” in state politics since she came forward with allegations that longtime Madigan aide Kevin Quinn harassed her with a barrage of unwanted texts and phone calls in pursuit of a romantic and sexual relationship.

 

Hampton’s lawsuit also had sought damages for alleged retaliation, claiming her career suffered after she came forward with the allegations.

 

A Madigan spokeswoman said “we are pleased with the agreement to resolve the lawsuit.

 

“Speaker Madigan remains committed to protecting employees, volunteers and candidates who care about working families and the rights of women, minorities and others whose voices are often silenced. Creating a fair and welcoming workplace is a priority for Speaker Madigan and the Democratic Party of Illinois,” the spokeswoman said.

Madigan, who is also chairman of the state Democratic Party, initially hailed Hampton as “a courageous woman” when she announced her allegations in February 2018, but the speaker was quickly forced to take action. That included firing Quinn, the brother of Ald. Marty Quinn (13th) the day before Hampton went public — a move Hampton quickly criticized as a way to cover up inaction by the Madigan organization for nearly a year after she first reported the harassment.

 

And the speaker faced criticism last week from a state senator over a Chicago Tribune report that a close Madigan confidant directed a roster of state lobbyists to hand Kevin Quinn contracts totaling more than $30,000 after his firing, for little or no work.

 

Hampton’s allegations were the first in a series of #MeToo allegations last year that highlighted a culture of harassment in Springfield, including allegations of persistent bullying that led to the ouster of Madigan’s longtime chief of staff Tim Mapes.

 

In the wake of the controversies, Madigan also formed a task force of Democratic women to address harassment and the political culture in Illinois, and legislation was later passed to bolster the state’s handling of misconduct claims.

 

Madigan’s team called those “significant changes to strengthen training, policies and reporting procedures for staff and volunteers to ensure their rights are protected.”