CHICAGO (CBS) — A legislative inspector general’s report has recommended Kevin Quinn, a former top aide to Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, be barred from ever again working for the state, for refusing to cooperate with an investigation that concluded he sexually harassed former political consultant Alaina Hampton.
Although Legislative Inspector General Carol Pope’s report concluded that Quinn sexually harassed Hampton, it stated the harassment occurred before sexual harassment provisions were added to the Illinois State Officials and Employees Ethics Act.
Madigan fired Quinn in February 2018, a day before Hampton went public with her allegations.
Because the harassment in question stopped in February 2017 – after Hampton confronted Quinn’s brother, Ald. Marty Quinn, a top Madigan ally – and the sexual harassment provisions weren’t added to the Ethics Act until November 2017, Pope concluded she could not pursue a sexual harassment charge against Kevin Quinn.
However, Pope concluded Quinn violated another provision of the Ethics Act by refusing to cooperate with the probe.
Pope wrote that, were Quinn still employed by the state, she would recommend he be fired.
However, since he can’t be disciplined for that violation, she recommended a memo from Madigan be placed in his state personnel file, indicating he violated the Ethics Act and that “he never be rehired as a State employee or contractor.”
Hampton has said Quinn, her immediate supervisor in Madigan’s party office, sent her 75 text messages, repeatedly complimenting her appearance and asking her out on dates, but she turned him down and asked him to stop, but he wouldn’t.
“The messages that K. Quinn sent to Hampton plainly had the effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, and offensive working environment for Hampton,” Pope wrote in her report, which was based on an investigation conducted by her predecessor, Julie Porter.
According to the report, Hampton met Quinn in February or March of 2016, when Quinn asked her to do campaign work for the Democratic Party of Illinois.
He invited her to a 13th Ward fundraiser in August 2016, and the day before asked her to go out for a beer after the event, according to the report. She said yes, thinking he wanted to talk about work until he texted her to tell her he was separated from his wife.
“K. Quinn’s messages became increasingly personal, and Hampton had the impression that K. Quinn was obsessed with her. Hampton found K. Quinn’s messages inappropriate, because she regarded him as one of her supervisors. Hampton told K. Quinn clearly that she only wanted to talk about work,” the report stated.
Hampton told the inspector general Quinn’s repeated messages eventually led to a panic attack, because she didn’t know how to manage the situation, and feared if she didn’t respond to him, Quinn would tell his brother or Speaker Madigan she “was uncooperative.”
After Hampton took her concerns to Quinn’s brother in Feburary 2017, Marty Quinn told her she wouldn’t have to communicate with Kevin Quinn anymore, and she could block his number.
Hampton still wanted to report Kevin Quinn’s harassment to Speaker Madigan, so she mailed him a letter in November 2017, according to the report.
Madigan’s office has said Hampton informed the speaker of Kevin Quinn’s harassment in a letter in November 2017, and that Madigan had his attorney, Heather Wier-Vaught, conduct an investigation.
However, Hampton said Wier-Vaught’s investigation amounted to no more than an hourlong meeting with her at a coffee shop.
Hampton said Wier-Vaught – who also served as the ethics officer for the House Democratic Caucus – was dismissive of her claims, and told her Quinn’s actions did not amount to workplace sexual harassment, because “I wasn’t technically an employee.”
She also accused Wier-Vaught of jokingly accusing her of raising the allegations in an effort to get money and media attention.
Hampton has said she only wanted to make sure steps were taken to ensure Kevin Quinn would not sexually harass any other women. However, she said she “absolutely” doesn’t believe Madigan would have fired Kevin Quinn over the harassment until the speaker learned she planned to go public.
Hampton has sued the Illinois Democratic Party, chaired by Madigan, and the speaker’s political organization, accusing them of retaliating against her for blowing the whistle on Quinn’s harassment.
She has said, after reporting Quinn’s harassment, she was on the outs with Madigan’s political organization, and was told she wouldn’t be asked to work on any more campaigns the Democratic party was supporting.
A separate inspector general’s report about former Madigan chief of staff Tim Mapes also recommended he be placed on the state’s “do not hire” list, for “engaging in conduct of a sexual nature with the purpose and effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, and offensive working environment.”
The Mapes report also concluded he violated the Ethics Act by refusing to cooperate with the investigation.
Mapes was fired from his government and campaign positions last year, after an aide in Madigan’s office accused him of sexual harassment and bullying.
Sherri Garrett, an account technician and minutes clerk in the speaker’s office, has claimed Mapes made repeated inappropriate comments and failed to take allegations of sexual harassment by others seriously.
Garrett listed a string of encounters with Mapes in which he either allegedly harassed her, or made light of sexual harassment claims made by her colleagues.
In one instance, in December 2014, while staffers at the statehouse were preparing or inauguration proceedings, Mapes allegedly told her out of the blue that “I needed to make sure that I was not showing my pink bra,” because “the girls who work on the second floor like to leave little to the imagination.”
She said Mapes seemed to be talking about her and colleagues who work on the second floor of the Stratton Building at the state capitol complex. Garrett claimed Mapes just walked off when she asked why he said that.
In another instance in September 2015, Garrett said a former co-worker approached her with allegations of sexual harassment by a House Democrat. Garrett said she shared that information with Mapes, asking him to make sure the representative stopped such behavior.
“Mr. Mapes then said to me, ‘Are you reporting the situation because you were upset the representative isn’t paying attention to you?’” Garrett claimed.
A more extensive report earlier this year on sexual harassment at the statehouse – conducted by former federal prosecutor and former state executive inspector general Maggie Hickey – also laid into Mapes, finding he routinely used bullying and intimidation as management tactics.