Madigan attorney responds to critics claiming cover-up
By Greg Bishop
Illinois News Network
Speaker Michael Madigan’s political attorney confirms there are other cases of wrongdoing that have been brought her way, but she won’t disclose any details.
Alaina Hampton alleges Madigan employee Kevin Quinn harassed her throughout the 2016 election cycle through a series of text messages even after Hampton repeatedly told him to stop. Hampton reported Quinn to his Chicago alderman brother—and even wrote Madigan a note.
She feels there was a cover-up because she sent Madigan the private letter about the issue to his home in November 2017 after not getting any relief through other channels. While Madigan’s attorney launched an investigation, no disciplinary action was taken until Monday of this week, a day after Hampton took her story to the Chicago Tribune.
“It doesn’t take three months to read those text messages and know that that behavior was inappropriate,” Hampton said Tuesday. “It would take all of 20 minutes to know that that was sexual harassment.”
The Tribune reported that the texts “detail a relentless series of entreaties” from Quinn asking Hampton to go out with him. In one text, he called her “smoking hot.” Hampton, a contract employee for Madigan’s political organization, said Quinn supervised her.
Hampton also said she knows of other cases.
Madigan wouldn’t address questions on the case at a Tuesday afternoon news conference and instead insisted that his attorney, Heather Wier Vaught, respond. Vaught confirmed she’s taken other cases “from members, from staff, from lobbyists about a whole host of issues, some ranging from misconduct, some ranging from wrongful doing.”
Vaught said she has investigated and acted, but wouldn’t give any other details, claiming confidentiality for the victims and the accused.
Hampton’s attorney, Shelly Kulwin, said the second the allegations were made, action should have been taken.
“At a minimum, there should be an investigation by an independent party, usually an outside law firm, to investigate whether there’s any truth,” Kulwin said. “That’s what every credible organization does.”
Vaught defended the move to not bring in an independent party to review Hampton’s allegations.
“The way that sexual harassment allegations are handled really, frankly, runs the spectrum in Illinois,” Vaught said. “There are people who handle it internally. Many companies simply handle it in their [human resources] department.”
Vaught said Madigan was confident she could handle the case internally.
Kulwin said they brought a complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. A federal lawsuit is expected to be filed.