24 Former Campaign Staffers Accuse Amara Enyia of Wage Theft - NBC Chicago
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24 Former Campaign Staffers Accuse Amara Enyia of Wage Theft

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    Two dozen ex-employees of former Chicago mayoral candidate Amara Enyia filed a wage theft grievance on Monday, accusing Enyia and her top staffers of owing them thousands of dollars in unpaid wages.

    In a statement on the grievance, the group said Enyia's campaign committee owed the 24 staffers a combined total of $56,825 in unpaid wages, overtime pay, minimum wage violations and unreimbursed expenses.

    Representatives for Enyia's campaign did not immediately respond to request for comment on the grievance. 

    The statement did not identify the 24 staffers but said that they worked on Enyia's field, communications, research and events staff and were initially promised repayment of campaign debt by March 15.

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    Enyia was one of 14 candidates who ran for Chicago mayor earlier this year, finishing sixth in the municipal election on Feb. 26 with 8% of the vote, failing to make the April runoff.

    The class-action grievance was filed with the Illinois Department of Labor, the staffers said, accusing Enyia's campaign of giving the junior-level employees checks that were returned by the bank and of knowing that the campaign could not compensate the workers but withholding that information from them.

    Enyia made headlines last fall when she received the endorsement, and later financial backing, of Chicago native Chance the Rapper. Chance ultimately donated $400,000 to Enyia's campaign, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections.

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    Fellow Chicago rapper Kanye West contributed a total of $200,000 - with more than $73,000 of his contribution going directly to paying off state board of elections fines Enyia incurred by not closing her campaign account after ending her first mayoral bid in the previous election in 2015.

    The grievance filed Monday is not the first complaint against Enyia stemming from her most recent campaign. Her former communications director Kristi Kucera filed a lawsuit in February alleging that Enyia refused to pay her $24,000 in backpay for work she did on the campaign.

    Kucera left the campaign the previous December, citing "several unknown and troubling factors" preventing her from continuing on as Enyia's spokeswoman.

    Illinois Board of Elections records show that Enyia's campaign committee had just under $5,300 cash on hand as of Tuesday, with her most recent contributions - two totaling $4,000 - collected in May.

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