Illinois Governor Candidate Likes To Sexually Harass Entire Planet (Allegedly)
Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford would really like to be Governor, but he's got a teensy little problem: persistent rumors that he's gay (a possible electoral drawback for someone with an "R" after his name) and worse, rumors that he had sexually harassed male staffers. And then Monday, staffer Ed Michalowski, Rutherford's director of community affairs and marketing,filed a federal lawsuit claiming that Rutherford had made unwanted advances toward him, and that Rutherford's chief of staff ignored Michalowski's complaints as well. Michalowski resigned last week, and told the Chicago Sun-Times that he'd quit because he feared retaliation. Are there salacious details? You bet there are! Go ahead and keep reading to satisfy your prurient curiosity -- we won't judge you. Sicko.
Rutherford, who has been the front-runner for the March 18 primary election, denied the accusations and promised to fight the lawsuit in court, claiming that Michalowski's lawsuit was motivated by politics and by unspecified "personal setbacks" that Michalowski had experienced. He vowed to continue campaigning, which probably means that the countdown timer is already running on his decision to spend more time with his family.
Among other fun claims the Sun-Times found in the lawsuit:
In August of 2011, at D.H. Brown's, a bar in Springfield, Michalowski alleges that Rutherford approached him and said: "If you go home with me you can have anything you want in the office."
Wow -- a free stash of paper clips? Maybe even your very own stapler? Damn you, Rutherford, you silver-tongued seducer!
In another instance, the lawsuit alleges that Michalowski and Rutherford were attending the Republican National Convention in Tampa in August 2012 when Rutherford asked Michalowski to go up to his hotel room.
When Michalowski refused, Rutherford allegedly became angry and said: "You just said no to the treasurer," according to the lawsuit.
And nobody puts Treasurer in the corner!
In December 2013, Rutherford allegedly went over to Michalowski at an office party, rubbed his shoulders and said to him, "You need a full body massage."
"That was creepy," said another person who witnessed what happened, according to the lawsuit.
No kidding. You save that line for later, when the synthesized funk music has started.
The squickiest accusation is that
Rutherford allegedly entered Michalowski’s bedroom in 2011 and grabbed his genital area. Michalowski “immediately forced him off of him” left the house and reported it to the chief of staff.
He seems nice. Michalowski also says that Rutherford pressured him to "go through his personal list of past clients and ask them to donate to Rutherford’s campaign fund," just so there could also be some political sleaziness to go along with the (alleged!) sexual harassment.
For his part, Rutherford says that Michalowski is only turning on him because the former aide is going bankrupt and losing his home in a foreclosure, although Michalowski's attorney says that he's not in any financial trouble at all. We guess there is just no way to ever know!
In addition to Michalowski's lawsuit, last week Gawker reported that Rutherford took a handsome young staffer along with him on a surprising number of international trips, not that there's anything wrong with that. He probably just needed help lifting his luggage.
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