Campaign worker sues Madigan fund, Democratic Party in sexual harassment case

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The campaign worker who disrupted House Speaker Michael Madigan’s political operations with sexual harassment allegations against a top lieutenant filed a federal lawsuit late Wednesday afternoon, saying her decision to report the behavior cost her a chance to advance in his organization.

Alaina Hampton, who first told the Tribune last month of receiving inappropriate texts from Madigan aide Kevin Quinn, contends in the lawsuit that her effort to stop his unwanted advances effectively prevented her from getting further work on Democratic campaigns.

Hampton sued the Democratic Party of Illinois, which Madigan chairs, and his political fund, Friends of Michael J. Madigan, alleging retaliation for “asserting her rights to be free from unlawful harassment and a sexually hostile work environment by failing to hire her to work as a political consultant for the 2018 campaign cycle.”

The lawsuit seeks $350,000, in addition to attorney’s fees.

Hampton reported the harassment in February 2016 to Chicago Ald. Marty Quinn, 13th, a Madigan loyalist who is Kevin Quinn’s brother and supervisor. An example of Kevin Quinn’s inappropriate texts is one that called her “smoking hot.”

“Notwithstanding Ms. Hampton’s repeated statements that she wished to maintain a professional relationship, Kevin Quinn refused to take ‘no’ for an answer,” the suit said.

Hampton has said the harassment stopped after she reported it, but she decided to leave the political organization because staying would continue to place her in contact with Kevin Quinn. In November, she sent Madigan a letter detailing Quinn’s activities and explaining her departure.

In the lawsuit, Hampton said she had hoped to get back into the Madigan organization as a campaign worker once the speaker read her letter. But she alleged she was shut out when she tried to work on a race in the 5th House District, an area where she had once helped candidate Juliana Stratton to victory. Stratton is now the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor.

In early February, Madigan announced he had ousted Kevin Quinn from his state and political operation. The move came within a day of Hampton telling her story to the Tribune and providing copies of Quinn’s texts.

Hampton filed similar allegations earlier with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which green-lighted her to file the lawsuit.

“It was a difficult decision to make, and she thought this was the right thing to do for herself,” said Hampton’s attorney, Shelly Kulwin. “To the extent that it sends a message that you can’t treat people like this, that’s great. But that’s not why we filed the lawsuit.”

Following Madigan’s ouster of Kevin Quinn, the speaker also booted from his organization longtime political lieutenant Shaw Decremer, a lobbyist whom a female lawmaker accused of abusive behavior.

Hampton, who has started a consulting business, worked on Bridget Degnen’s successful bid to defeat incumbent Cook County Board member John Fritchey in Tuesday’s primary.

Heather Wier Vaught, a private Madigan attorney who investigated Hampton’s allegations, said she had no comment. Wier Vaught previously served as the speaker’s top lawyer in the House.

rlong@chicagotribune.com

sstclair@chicagotribune.com

cmgutowski@chicagotribune.com

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