Amara Enyia calls grievance over unpaid campaign wages ‘unsettling’

Ex-staffers of Enyia’s unsuccessful mayoral campaign say they’re owed almost $57,000 in unpaid wages, overtime and expense reimbursements.

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Mayoral candidate Amara Enyia speaks at a City Hall press conference in October after Chance The Rapper endorsed her. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Mayoral candidate Amara Enyia speaks at a City Hall press conference in October after Chance The Rapper endorsed her.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Former mayoral candidate Amara Enyia on Tuesday responded to “unsettling” allegations that she owes thousands in unpaid wages and overtime to her ex-campaign staffers.

Two dozen former campaign workers said they filed a grievance with the state Department of Labor over $56,825 owed to them by Enyia’s campaign committee, Friends of Amara Enyia, from her unsuccessful run for mayor.

The committee had $5,296.22 in cash at the end of June, state election records show.

Enyia said in a statement Tuesday that her former staffers decided as a group that Enyia shouldn’t endorse either Lori Lightfoot or Toni Preckwinkle in the April runoff after she was ousted from the race. The group collectively understood, she said, that the choice not to endorse meant it would be harder to raise funds.

“That voluntary team decision was key because it meant the team knew fundraising post-campaign would be a challenge, even as it allowed us to independently build on our campaign’s platform and message,” Enyia said.

Enyia said she has since continued to make fundraising efforts and has made partial payments to her ex-staffers “as a show of good faith.” She added that “campaign debts are not unusual.”

The group of workers, represented by attorney Stephen Yokich, said they were promised the unpaid wages, overtime and expense reimbursements by March 15.

The Illinois Department of Labor confirmed that former campaign workers had filed complaints but could not elaborate.

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