Unwanted text messages by an ousted political aide to Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan are sexual harassment, enough to place Kevin Quinn on a permanent do-not-hire list for the state.
That’s the legislative inspector general’s recommendation in a long-awaited report requested by former political consultant turned #MeToo whistleblower Alaina Hampton.
Also on the do-not-hire list is Madigan’s former chief of staff, Tim Mapes, subject of a separate report Legislative Inspector General Carol Pope also released on Wednesday.
The redacted 11-page report on Quinn finds that he violated only the Illinois State Officials and Employees Ethics Act by refusing to cooperate in the investigation, conducted by former interim Legislative Inspector General Julie Porter.
“The messages that K. Quinn sent to Hampton plainly had the effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, and offensive working environment for Hampton,” Porter’s successor, Pope, wrote in the Quinn report.
But the harassment happened before provisions were added to state law as part of a revamped ethics act in November of 2017.
That means no formal charge was made against Quinn under the Ethics Act.
And since Quinn is no longer a state employee, he can’t even be disciplined for refusing to cooperate with investigators.
Pope — who adopted Porter’s findings — recommended that a memo from the speaker be placed in his official personnel file; the memo would state that Quinn violated that provision and that “he never be rehired as a State employee or contractor.”
In the separate report about Mapes, Pope found that the former top Madigan aide also “violated the Ethics Act by engaging in conduct of a sexual nature with the purpose and effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, and offensive working environment.” Pope wrote that Mapes also refused to cooperate with the investigation. He, too, will get a memo in his file and can never be rehired as a state employee.
In a letter to Pope, Madigan wrote that he reviewed her summary: “I stand by my response to your original summary that it is the duty of every officer and employee to cooperate with the Office of the Legislative Inspector General, and therefore I concur with your recommendation.”
In her letter to Pope, Hampton wrote to thank Porter for the investigation.
“It is my firm belief that in order to combat the culture of harassment that has pervaded the organizations chaired by Speaker Madigan, victims must feel safe in coming forward with their allegations,” Hampton said.
Hampton wrote of the emotional toil of coming out with the allegations.
“Victims, like myself, are shamed, labeled liars and considered by those in Speaker Madigan’s organizations to be disloyal,” Hampton wrote. “In addition to being ostracized, we face retaliation and being blackballed while the perpetrators go unpunished and undeterred in their misconduct.”
Hampton wrote that in light of the investigation, she hopes “the systematic shaming of victims and the protection of powerful and high ranking political operatives will end.”
Hampton also accused Madigan’s personal attorney Heather Wier Vaught of “engaging in a continued effort to silence me, undermine my credibility, and further damage my career, all to protect Speaker Madigan and his organizations.”
Quinn in a response apologized to Hampton.
“I take full responsibility for my behavior,” Quinn wrote. “I also want to take this opportunity to apologize to my family, my ex-wife, my former employer and former coworkers. I look forward to putting this matter behind me and remain focused on continuing to rebuild my life.”
The report says that there were multiple attempts to have Quinn sit down for an interview with Porter. During one attempt, Porter tried to interview him at his home and he asked her to leave and speak to his attorney, Mike Kasper. Several months later, Porter contacted Quinn to tell him Kasper stated he wasn’t representing him.
The report found that Quinn told Hampton he was separating from his wife, while also asking her out for a beer. The messages “became increasingly personal, and Hampton had the impression that K. Quinn was obsessed with her, the report says. She also found them “inappropriate” since he was a supervisor. Hampton told Quinn she only wanted to talk about work.
In one exchange, Quinn asked if Hampton found him to be attractive.
“I do not see you in that way,” she replied.
In a separate statement, Madigan wrote that the report reveals “Ms. Hampton’s allegations against me were unfounded.”
“[Pope] advised me that my office took the investigation seriously and made a reasoned decision as to how to impose consequences for Kevin Quinn’s misconduct,” the speaker wrote.
Madigan also outlined the change he’s made in his office and across his political organizations, including mandatory training on sexual harassment and creating “strong reporting mechanisms to report workplace complaints.”
“I am committed to ensuring that anyone who reports a complaint is protected, they are treated fairly and that everyone has a safe and welcoming work environment,” Madigan wrote.
In another response, Ald. Marty Quinn (13th) said he took immediate action when he learned of “inappropriate text messages” sent to Hampton by his brother Kevin Quinn.
“I also did exactly what she asked me to do,” the statement said. “I understood Ms. Hampton wanted the text messages to stop and I made sure she was never contacted by my brother again. I have never wavered from creating a safe and productive workplace and I never will.”
Hampton’s detailing of unwanted advances from Kevin Quinn not only led to his firing last year but also got the powerful speaker to admit he hasn’t done enough to combat sexual harassment. Days later, another Madigan aide was ousted for “inappropriate behavior” toward a candidate and staff during the 2016 election.
The Legislative Ethics Commission met two weeks ago to discuss the report, which was requested by Hampton last year. Hampton requested an investigation into her accuser, as well as Madigan and Wier Vaught over their handling of her claims.
Wier Vaught told the Sun-Times she met with Porter in April 2018. Porter reached out to Wier Vaught in February 2019 to tell her the investigation was closed.
“She told me that she was satisfied that I did not engage in misconduct and I did not mismanage the investigation,” Wier Vaught said. “She also met separately with the speaker and told him that she was satisfied that he took the investigation seriously and made a reasonable decision on how to impose the consequence of misconduct.”
Quinn never sat down with Porter for the investigation, instead sending her a document he had sent to reporters last year called “The Truth.”
Among many of his rebuttals, Kevin Quinn says he believes he was actually fired because of a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge stemming from what he called a “nasty and bitter divorce” — not Hampton’s allegations.
Madigan has since ousted Mapes, his chief of staff and executive director of the state’s Democratic Party after allegations of bullying from a longtime speaker’s staffer.
Maggie Hickey, a former inspector general hired by Madigan to conduct a review of workplace culture, threw the book at Mapes in a lengthy report issued last month.
The report’s biggest blows were aimed squarely at Mapes. Most of those interviewed, Hickey wrote, “agreed that Mr. Mapes commonly threatened people’s jobs or reminded them that they were dispensable.” Mapes has defended himself, arguing that “recent criticisms made against me do not truly appreciate the size of the responsibility of my position.”
The woman who made the allegations against Mapes last year called the release of the report on Wednesday “a key step forward” and seconded the recommendation that he never work for state government again.
“It is unfortunate, but not surprising that Mr. Mapes refused to participate in the investigation, and that his attorney followed up with a six-page diatribe defending the indefensible,” Sherri Garrett said in a statement released late Wednesday.
“He does not appear to have learned anything from this process. Nor has he indicated any sign of remorse.”