Fifteen days before the November election, past and former staffers of J.B. Pritzker’s campaign said Monday they filed a lawsuit against the campaign to surface stories of what they called racial discrimination and intimidation—and not because of "politics."
At a joint press conference in Chicago, the group said there was a pattern of discrimination and harassment within the J.B. Pritzker for Governor Campaign. The lawsuit was filed last week.
“There exists a culture of discrimination and harassment for 'J.B. Pritzker for Governor’ campaign and that culture was here before we were hired,” expressed former campaign staffer Maxwell Little.
Pritzker said there is no basis for the accusations being made.
No matter who wins the race for governor, the groups said this is an issue of public concern, and political campaigns need to be held accountable.
“These things that are happening to us, as I am a current organizer on the campaign, is real,” said Erica Kimball. “We all believe in what J.B. and Juliana (Stratton) stands for but we are also in the fight of our lives in our work environment.”
Kayla Hogan says she was a field organizer for the campaign during the primary but says she was let go after complaining to Pritzker about racial bias and discrimination in his campaign.
Although the group would not talk about specific incidents, their pro-bono lawyers affirmed all of that will be addressed in court.
The group filed a $7.5 million lawsuit against Pritzker's campaign but the campaign has yet to be served with the lawsuit.
The campaign issued a statement Monday morning saying:
“The fact is, there is no basis for the accusations being made. Everything about the way this has been handled, from the threat to sue unless a $7.5 million dollar payment was made to the fact that their lawyer seems far more interested in conducting interviews and holding press conferences than even serving necessary papers that would allow the case to be dismissed, tell you all you need to know. JB and Juliana are proud of the diverse and inclusive campaign they are running.”
“We bring the lawsuit now because, at what time is the right time to fight for everyone’s dignities standing here?” said Attorney Shay Allen.