Leslie Munger on Monday defended herself against claims that she left behind offices that appeared “looted” — and vowed to sue Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza personally if she continues to “damage” her image.
Mendoza says she was left on Day One with offices with little furniture, locked desks and missing documents.
“I did kind of feel like the place was looted,” Mendoza told WLS-AM’s Bill Cameron in a “Connected to Chicago” interview to be aired on Christmas Day.
But Munger says Mendoza is making “outrageous” and false claims. And she said it seems to be a continuation of a “dishonest” and contentious campaign.
“She’s making claims that she has no support for, and she’s doing it to damage my image, and if she continues it, I intend to sue her,” Munger told the Sun-Times.
“She wanted this office. She worked hard to get it. She used, I think, really poor tactics to get it by not being honest,” Munger said. “That said, voters voted for her. She’s got it. She needs to step up and do the job and stop worrying about me.”
Asked to respond Monday, a Mendoza spokesman defended his boss’ honesty.
“Comptroller Mendoza has honestly responded to questions about the lack of documents she found and the items that appeared to be missing upon taking office after her requests for transition meetings were ignored,” Mendoza spokesman Abdon Pallasch said in an email.
Munger said there was a full inventory of all comptroller offices — two in Springfield and one in Chicago — with no missing items belonging to the state. She said the only items removed were personal items to the staff, including couches and a television belonging to Nancy Kimme, Judy Baar Topinka’s former chief of staff. She said Kimme’s items were on loan to her after she was appointed. The other removals were items belonging to staffers who no longer work for Mendoza, she said.
“We did not go in and ransack everything,” Munger said.
“If she really believes that we had done something illegal she would probably be talking to the police, but she knows that she can’t do that because what they would see is everything that was in inventory beforehand is still in the office,” Munger said.
As for allegations there were mismatched keys for state cars and desks, Munger said keys were changed in the Capitol for safety reasons when she first took office in 2014. And she said she handed in all keys to an office manager on her last day in office.
Mendoza has complained that she wasn’t able to meet with staff before taking office — another claim Munger rebuts. Mendoza first planned to take office on Jan. 3, but shortly after, she decided to take office on Dec. 5, which was allowed per special election rules.
As for missing documents, “no files, no financial files, nothing that would impact her ability to get in and do the job of comptroller were touched,” Munger said.
In the radio interview, Mendoza said Munger didn’t leave her a note and said she was “lucky to have a desk.”
Munger said she had little time to move from her offices — just five days. And she said she didn’t have anything to share with the incoming comptroller.
“I have nothing to leave her a note about other than to say, ‘Good luck to you. You asked for this,’ ” Munger said.