Madigan Aide Fired After Sexual Harassment Claims Pushes Back Against Accuser In Memo
Updated: 3:08 p.m.
A 20-year veteran campaign worker for House Speaker Michael Madigan who was fired earlier this year for allegedly sexually harassing a colleague, claims that prompted a firestorm around the powerful Illinois politician, is for the first time pushing back against his accuser in a newly released memo sent to reporters on Wednesday.
Dubbed “The Truth,” the 14-page missive written by Kevin Quinn — a veteran of Madigan’s political operation — acknowledges he sent “unprofessional” text messages to Alaina Hampton, who worked with him on campaigns.
“It was never my intent to make Ms. Alaina Hampton feel uncomfortable,” Quinn writes. “I take responsibility for sending the text messages she has publicly released between us and apologize for my attempts to get to know her outside of necessary interactions.”
Hampton said she told her supervisor, Chicago Ald. Marty Quinn, who is Kevin Quinn’s brother, that Kevin was sending her unwanted text messages in which he persistently asked her out, asked if she found him attractive, and said she looked “smoking hot” in a Facebook photo.
She has sued three organizations connected to Madigan: the Democratic Party of Illinois, which Madigan chairs, and Madigan’s two campaign organizations, Friends of Michael J. Madigan and the 13th Ward Democratic Organization. Hampton has not sued Kevin Quinn.
She alleges those groups poorly handled her sexual harassment claims once she told the alderman. Those three political funds held a combined $9.3 million as of late March, state campaign records show.
Hampton’s attorney, Shelly Kulwin, said Quinn’s memo was “was very lawyerly. Whoever wrote it certainly laid out their map for the defense of the case, it seems.”
In his memo, Kevin Quinn blames his firing on “negative media coverage” that put pressure on politicians following Hampton’s bombshell February news conference where she detailed her allegations against him. He also accused journalists of having an “unconscious” personal bias against Madigan and pushing a narrative tied to the #MeToo movement without mentioning the movement by name.
“With the national policy window open, I believe the media has jumped to conclusions regarding Alaina Hampton’s accounts,” Quinn wrote. “Based on the amount of misinformation that has been reported, I feel it is important to see that the truth is made public.”
In the memo, Quinn dissects, sentence by sentence, statements Hampton made to reporters at news conferences about her professional experience working on campaigns, the organizational structure of Madigan’s political organizations, and more screenshots of text messages between Kevin Quinn and Hampton.
Quinn also stated he’s “currently going through a bitter and nasty divorce” and that his estranged wife is using Hampton’s claims against him in their custody fight over their two children.
In addition to criticizing the media, Quinn also blames his firing on a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge related to his divorce.
Quinn declined a request for an interview with WBEZ.
Steve Brown, a Madigan spokesman, said no one in Madigan’s political or governmental offices was involved in preparing Quinn’s memo.
“The Speaker’s focus has been on taking steps to change the culture in and around Illinois politics, including requesting independent investigations into complaints and significant structural and operational changes to his government and political offices,” Brown said in a statement.
Hampton is not the only woman to step forward with misconduct allegations against people close to Madigan.
Earlier this month, Sherri Garrett, a clerk who works in the Illinois Statehouse and would carry the speaker’s gavel into the House chambers, claimed Madigan’s longtime chief of staff, Tim Mapes, bullied her, made inappropriate comments, and also improperly handled complaints of sexual harassment.
Four hours after she detailed these instances with reporters, Madigan announced Mapes had been fired in his role as chief of staff and as executive director for the state Democratic Party.
Taken collectively, the allegations have prompted questions about whether the longtime house speaker has handled the complaints properly and whether he should continue at the helm of the state Democratic Party. Former Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn has called on Madigan to relinquish that role.
WBEZ’s Dave McKinney and Becky Vevea contributed to this report.
This story was updated to include a statement from a spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan.