CHICAGO (CBS) — Appearing at a City Council hearing for the first time since his brother was fired over sexual harassment, Ald. Marty Quinn (13th) avoided reporters’ questions Wednesday about the scandal that has ensnared Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan.
Quinn, who represents the ward where Madigan has been the Democratic committeeman for decades, and is one of the speaker’s top political lieutenants, has not publicly discussed the sexual harassment allegations against his brother, Kevin Quinn, or Madigan’s handling of the complaints.
The latest troubles for Madigan began last week, when he fired longtime aide Kevin Quinn, the alderman’s brother, for “unwanted advances” and “inappropriate text messages” toward a campaign worker.
The next day, the woman at the center of the sexual harassment allegations came forward to accuse Madigan’s office of trying to cover up what happened, and not moving fast enough to fire Kevin Quinn.
Alaina Hampton, a political consultant and longtime operative for Madigan’s political committees, said she first took her complaints about Kevin Quinn to the alderman, who she considered a mentor. Hampton said telling him about his brother’s harassment of her was the hardest thing she’s ever had to do, and she criticized him for not doing more to protect her and punish his brother.
“I know you didn’t choose for this to happen, but you made the choice to protect Kevin instead of me. You’ve known about this for a year. You allowed people in the organization to believe that I betrayed you by quitting, even though I told you I was scared to be at the office,” she said to the alderman. “My loyalty and admiration for you was unmatched. I prided myself on being mentored under your wings since I was 23 years old. When I told you about your brother, I needed you to protect me. I didn’t feel safe. I knew telling you would risk everything I had worked for my entire career, and I was right.”
Alderman Quinn has issued a written statement about the sexual harassment allegations against his brother, claiming he told Kevin Quinn to stop communicating with Hampton, and that any further contact her would result in his termination. However, he has not discussed the matter in public.
In fact, the alderman hadn’t been seen in public much since his brother was fired, so when arrived at City Hall on Wednesday for a committee meeting, reporters confronted him with questions about the case. He wasn’t answering.
He twice said, “good morning, everybody” before attending a committee meeting, and otherwise ignored questions about the allegations against his brother and the impact on his mentor, Speaker Madigan.
Madigan, who also chairs the Illinois Democratic Party, has since fired another political operative, Shaw Decremer, after state Rep. Debra Conroy accused him of “inappropriate actions” toward her and her staff.
Several Democratic lawmakers have since called for an independent investigation, and Madigan has said he’ll cooperate.