Shake down scandal raising a ruckus

Published 02/03 2014 04:19PM

Updated 02/04 2014 05:34PM

Latest: 5:05 pm, 2/4/14, Tuesday
ILLINOIS -- The state worker behind an allegation against Treasurer Dan Rutherford has resigned. The unnamed worker told the Chicago Sun-Times he feels intimidated, so he resigned.

He claims Rutherford forced him to do political work on state time. He may also file a sexual harassment claim against the treasurer. Rutherford denies the allegations and claims the man is trying to shake him down.
Update: 4:22 pm, 2/3/14, Monday
SPRINGFIELD -- The attorney at the center of allegations involving two gubernatorial candidates is getting her side of the story out. Christine Svenson is representing an employee in State Treasurer Dan Rutherford's office.

Svenson says her client was forced to do political work in his state job which is against the law. She says she tried to negotiate a settlement in the case.

But Rutherford claims Svenson was trying to "shake him down," asking for $300,000 to keep the story secret. Svenson told a Chicago radio station that's not true.

When asked if the client was also filing a sexual harassment claim, Svenson responded:

        I can't comment on that right now. Right now, we're
        focused on the First Amendment claim. We may, you
        know, I don't want to box myself in, but, we may be
        filing other claims.

Svenson also denied any ties to candidate Bruce Rauner other than a "little contract work" she did for him in March. She also says Rutherford's attorney introduced her to the Rauner campaign.
Original: 10:04 pm, 1/31/14, Friday
SPRINGFIELD -- A new allegation is shaking up the Republican race for governor. State Treasurer Dan Rutherford says he's being set up. He's blaming another candidate in the race. WCIA-3's Steve Staeger keeps us Connected to the Capitol.

It all started with a strange news conference. Rutherford came out to say one of his employees is trying to shake him down and believes his opponent, Bruce Rauner, may be behind it.

He says the employee is accusing him of misconduct, but he wouldn't say who or what. Our sister station in Chicago has it from sources that this is a man Rutherford hired and the man is accusing Rutherford of sexual harassment.

Rutherford says the employee's attorney has contacted the treasurer's office asking for a $300,000 settlement to keep the incident under wraps. Rutherford pointed out, the attorney still has ties to Rauner. In fact, the Rauner campaign paid the attorney $3,500 last year. Still, Rutherford can't divulge the details.

"Now, I'd love to be able to. Oh let me tell you what I'd love to be able to sit here, right now, and look everyone of those cameras in the eye and each one of you reporters in the eye, reporters you put it on tape, exactly what was alleged against me, exactly the time frame it was alleged against me and exactly the lack of information about it, but I can't."

Rauner says the attorney was paid a one-time fee to review a lease for the campaign. He says they never discussed anything involving the treasurer.

The Rauner camp says a Rutherford campaign lawyer actually even introduced them to this attorney. Again, Rutherford won't discuss the allegations because of pending legal action. His office is investigating and an outside agency is also looking into it.

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