CHICAGO (CBS) — Misconduct complaints led Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan to dismiss his second top lieutenant in a week’s time.
State Rep. Debra Conroy accused Shaw Decremer of “inappropriate actions” toward her and her staff, leading Madigan to fire Decremer, one of his top campaign strategists.
“My situation was handled the way it should have been handled,” Conroy said, adding she supports Madigan’s actions. “It’s not important for the court of public opinion to know the specifics of what happened, it’s important that they know I addressed it, it was taken care of, and I believe the culture’s going to start to change.”
Decremer’s dismissal came just days after Madigan fired another operative, Kevin Quinn, who was accused of sexual harassment by former campaign worker Alaina Hampton.
State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz said the two incidents demonstrate a pattern. “I’m clearly beginning to see one [a pattern]. I don’t think he understood the severity of it. I think that’s what’s coming to light.”
Last week, Madigan named a law firm to investigate harassment complaints. However, in a phone interview, State Rep. Kelly Cassidy said that’s not good enough, adding that she is not satisfied with Madigan investigating his own organization.
“I believe in order for this to be done correctly, we need to do this in a way that has no connection to our party or his organization.”
Madigan issued a statement late Tuesday saying, “I spoke with Kelly Cassidy today. I told her I will cooperate fully and I will ask independent counsel Kelly Smith-Haley to assist.” However, that’s the same law firm Cassidy complained wasn’t independent, as it was getting paid by Madigan.
Meantime, gubernatorial candidate Daniel Biss is calling for Madigan to step down as party chairman.
“As a Democratic elected official, I have no confidence in his ability to lead the party based upon the way he’s reacted to the two incidents that we’ve heard about in recent days,” Biss said.
Democratic Attorney General candidates Sharon Fairley and Scott Drury also want Madigan to step down; his spokesman said he has no intention of doing so.