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Political consultant wants inspector general, Ethics Board to look at Ald. Quinn

Alaina Hampton held this news conference in February to discuss her complaints against Kevin Quinn, brother of Ald. Marty Quinn and an aide to House Speaker Mike Madigan. She now wants the city inspector general to investigate Ald. Quinn. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

The political consultant at the center of a sexual harassment scandal swirling around Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) is demanding an investigation of the pivotal role in the scandal played by Madigan’s hand-picked alderman, Marty Quinn (13th).

Alaina Hampton made the demand in a letter sent Wednesday to Inspector General Joe Ferguson and Steve Berlin, executive director of the Chicago Board of Ethics.

In it, Hampton alleges Quinn “both engaged in and failed to report corrupt illegal activity in his office” and in Madigan’s once-vaunted and impenetrable 13th Ward Regular Democratic Organization.

“I experienced sustained and aggressive sex harassment from his bother, Kevin Quinn, over a period of five months. I informed Ald. Quinn of the issue on February 9, 2017,” Hampton wrote.

“Ald. Quinn did not react appropriately to address the matter — and in fact used his power and relationships derived in large part from his position as an elected official to protect the perpetrator. As a result, I was forced to leave my job and was retaliated against and prevented from being hired as I pursued future employment.”

Hampton goes on to say that “widespread acceptance and protection of harassment and discrimination in government offices cannot change unless those responsible are held accountable for their actions and the devastating consequences for victims.”

Quinn was in his seat in the City Council chambers Wednesday when Hampton, who is suing Madigan’s political organization, made herself available for interviews in the second floor lobby at City Hall.

“I’m continuing to seek justice in every arena possible because women in politics should not have to put up with this anymore. We deserve a safe, fair and dignified workplace. No woman should have to quit her job like I did because she feels unsafe at work,” Hampton told reporters.

“I want these oversight bodies to look into the truth. I want justice. I want to make sure that other women in the organization are safe and any women, for that matter.”

Asked why she believes her complaint is enforceable by the city’s ethics ordinance, Hampton said, “That is going to be a question for the oversight bodies to determine.”

Not long after the allegations broke last month, Quinn showed up for a committee meeting but refused to answer questions. With Curtis Franklin, the City Council’s burly assistant sergeant-at-arms as lead blocker, Quinn blew past reporters on his way into and out of a meeting of the City Council’s License Committee.

Quinn twice said, “good morning, everybody,” but otherwise remained silent and stared straight ahead as reporters asked him to comment. He has been under fire for the go-between role he played in the sex scandal surrounding Madigan’s vaunted and once impenetrable political organization.

As reiterated in Wednesday’s letter, Hampton claims she told Ald. Marty Quinn, her political mentor, a year ago that the alderman’s brother, political aide Kevin Quinn, had stalked her with a series of harassing text messages. She called coming forward the “hardest thing I have ever done in my life.”

But Hampton accused Ald. Quinn of choosing to “protect Kevin instead of me,” giving her no choice but to leave Madigan’s political organization.

So far, Ald. Quinn’s only response has been a prepared statement.

In it, Ald. Quinn maintained that, as soon as Hampton told him about the text messages, he directed his brother to “stop all communication” with her and warned Kevin Quinn that, if he didn’t, he would be fired immediately.

Ald. Quinn said he took no further action — nor did he tell Madigan — because, “I was attempting to protect Ms. Hampton’s privacy and honor her wishes” that the allegations be kept quiet and that Kevin Quinn “not be further reprimanded.”

Since Hampton’s allegations, pressure has been mounting on Madigan to step down as chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party and agree to an independent investigation of the organizations under his iron-fisted control.

Those demands came after Madigan banned a second lieutenant, Shaw Decremer, from his organization, as a result of alleged “inappropriate behavior by a volunteer toward a candidate and staff” during a 2016 campaign.

Also at Wednesday’s Council meeting, aldermen approved an ordinance requiring city contractors to submit a “comprehensive sexual harassment policy.” Sub-contractors will be required to do the same, but will have a year to do so.

If Ald. Marge Laurino (39th) has her way, Chicago businesses would also be required to go to the expense of providing sexual harassment training.

Laurino also joined Ald. Edward Burke (14th) in introducing yet another ordinance that would prohibit Chicago companies from forcing their employees to enter into “non-disclosure agreements” pertaining to sexual assault, sexual harassment or failure to prevent an act of sexual harassment or discrimination in the workplace.

Burke said such agreements “create a culture of silence and allow this type of misconduct to persist in the workplace.”