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Rutherford Fires Three Staffers Following Investigation

Administrators accused of faking records, engaging in "workplace harassment"

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Dan Rutherford spoke minutes after the polls closed Tuesday, thanking supporters and encouraging those from Chicago to spend money in Pontiac, specifically at Jimmy John's. (Published Tuesday, Mar 18, 2014)

    Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford fired three top administrators last week after an investigation found they allegedly faked records and, in one case, engaged in "workplace harassment," according to documents obtained Monday by The Associated Press.

    The move is the latest upheaval in Rutherford's office since his Republican primary campaign for governor fizzled last winter after an ex-employee filed a federal lawsuit against him for sexual harassment and political coercion. Rutherford has repeatedly denied those allegations.

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    Dan Rutherford spoke minutes after the polls closed Tuesday, thanking supporters and encouraging those from Chicago to spend money in Pontiac, specifically at Jimmy John's. (Published Tuesday, Mar 18, 2014)

    Details of the reasons behind the recent firings were not immediately clear. Rutherford declined an interview request Monday through his spokeswoman, Mary Frances Bragiel, who said the office would have no comment because the dismissals involve private personnel matters.

    The treasurer's office provided the AP with copies of letters dated July 2 notifying Patrick Carlson, George Daglas and Ashvin Lad of their immediate dismissals.

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    Amended lawsuit was filed by former employee Ed Michalowski, who alleges the Illinois Treasurer "coerced and intimidated" him into performing political work on behalf of the Rutherford campaign. NBC Chicago's Marion Brooks reports for the NBC 5 NEWS at NOON on June 12, 2014. (Published Thursday, Jun 12, 2014)

    The letters indicate that the inspector general for the treasurer's office had found that each had broken timekeeping policies and falsified records. The letter to Carlson also said he violated rules against "workplace harassment."

    Each employee began state work in the early months of Rutherford's administration, in 2011, according to state records.

    Carlson, 38, made $99,000 a year as manager of logistics, overseeing Rutherford's schedule, including advance preparation and transportation from the Chicago office, Bragiel said.

    Lad, 40, made $80,000 as director of Invest in Illinois, responsible for development and project management of investment, mortgage and other programs.

    Daglas, 31, made $71,500 as director of community affairs and marketing.

    Messages left for the three were not immediately returned.

    The dismissals were based on a summary report made by David Wells, the independent inspector general for the treasurer's office. State law dictates that the inspector general independently determines what issues to investigate and in what manner. Wells said he's prohibited by law from even confirming the existence of an investigation.

    The upheaval again sidetracks Rutherford's office in the final few months of his tenure, after a career that began when he joined the Illinois House of Representatives in 1993. He was one of four GOP contenders who had vied to face incumbent Democrat Pat Quinn in this November's election. Venture capitalist Bruce Rauner won the GOP nomination.

    Edmund Michalowski, a lawyer and director in Rutherford's office, filed a federal lawsuit Feb. 10, claiming that Rutherford made unwanted sexual advances toward him and routinely forced him to do campaign work on government time.

    Rutherford has repeatedly denied the claims.

    In response to a Freedom of Information request in February, Rutherford's office refused to disclose investigative reports into the claims of sexual harassment and political coercion that Rutherford commissioned at a cost of nearly $27,000 in taxpayer money. The AP appealed the denial to Attorney General Lisa Madigan's public access counselor in early March. The office has yet to rule on whether the treasurer's office should release the records.