Lawsuit Filed; Rutherford Denies Wrongdoing

Feb 10, 2014

Illinois Treasurer and candidate for Governor Dan Rutherford

A former employee in Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford's office has filed a lawsuit alleging sexual harassment and that the Republican gubernatorial candidate made him do political work on state time.  
The lawsuit was filed Monday in Chicago's federal court on behalf of Ed Michalowski. He was a lawyer and director in Rutherford's office.  

The complaint alleges Rutherford made inappropriate sexual advances toward Michalowski, among other things.  
Rutherford has said there's ``absolutely no truth'' to the former employee's claims.  

The Associated Press reports Michalowski has a history of financial problems.
Michalowski and his wife are divorcing. Public records show they filed for
bankruptcy in 2011, claiming assets of $295,000 and liabilities of $642,000. A
judgment of foreclosure and sale was entered against Michalowski's Chicago condo
in October.
Rutherford has said Michalowski and his attorney offered to ``walk away and
keep (the allegations) under wraps'' in exchange for $300,000.
 But Michalowski told The Associated Press he wasn't motivated by money. He says
he has a new job and is ``not in harm's way financially.''

The Republican gubernatorial candidate called a Monday news conference to refute claims outlined in the federal lawsuit. Rutherford says state documents back him up.  
He says no one in the treasurer's office has been forced to do campaign work on state time.  

Rutherford says the treasurer's office had not previously been informed of allegations of harassment and there were no witnesses to the claims.  

Rutherford questions the timing of the allegations, which come weeks before the March 18 primary election.  

Rutherford says the allegations also are politically motivated. He believes that one of his GOP opponents, businessman Bruce Rauner,  is behind the former employee's allegations. Rauner denies wrongdoing.