Ex-Fire Commish: I Was Forced Out

In response to harassment claim, Smith says "Women usually proposition me"

Sunday, May 1, 2011  |  Updated 11:03 AM CDT
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Ex-Fire Commish: I Was Forced Out

Former Chicago Fire Commissioner John Brooks says he was forced to resign, and now, he wants the city to pay up.

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Former Chicago Fire Commissioner John Brooks filed a federal lawsuit on Friday, claiming he was forced to resign over false allegations of sexual harassment.

Brooks claims that about March 2010 he was told by Raymond Orozco, the chief of staff for Mayor Richard M. Daley, that he was being placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation into a sexual harassment allegation raised by a female fire department employee, according to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court.

The Sun-Times reported that Brooks was accused of coming on to the woman, then pushing her layoff when she turned him down. Brooks quickly denied the claim, but his colorful answer drew even more criticism.

"I do not proposition women. I don't have to," he told the Sun-Times in March of last year. "Women usually proposition me. God has blessed me like that."

The details of Brooks' lawsuit are as follows:

Orozco called Brooks on April 30, 2010, demanding he hand in a letter of resignation. Brooks says Orozco told him at a meeting the next day, "Mayor Daley wants you out."

Brooks said he proclaimed his innocence, and said he didn't want to resign, but Orozco threatened public humiliation by either firing or demoting him.

Brooks says he caved, and gave over the letter of resignation.

Later, an independent investigator found the sexual harassment allegations were false and fabricated, the lawsuit points out.

The five-count suit names the city of Chicago, Orozco and Daley. The suit claims wrongful termination and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The suit seeks a jury trial, damages, lost wages, attorney fees and court costs.

A spokesperson for the city’s law department was unavailable for comment Friday evening.

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