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Rutherford first denies, then likens room-sharing with co-worker to NFL, NHL

Updated: March 12, 2014 6:33AM



In the midst of defending against sexual harassment allegations by one male employee, state Treasurer Dan Rutherford acknowledged that he had shared a hotel room with a different male employee on state time — “to save resources.”

At a news conference he called to rebut sexual harassment allegations leveled by a high-ranking former staffer, Rutherford initially denied that he had shared a room with another male employee on taxpayer-funded trips.

“We do that on the campaign side, we do not do that on the state side. And this is something that you do in small business. It’s something that your do in the NFL, it’s something you do in the NHL. It’s something you do to save resources,” Rutherford initially responded.

When the Chicago Sun-Times pointed out that his office had acknowledged doing so in the past, and that Rutherford was a supervisor and he shared a hotel with a subordinate, he acknowledged he had done so on state time on two occasions.

“I’m sorry, two out of town — Washington, D.C., and New York — when they were higher-priced. Yes,” he acknowledged.

The Sun-Times reported last week about Rutherford’s overseas travel as Illinois’ treasurer. At that time, Rutherford’s office said the treasurer shared a room with his executive assistant during two taxpayer-funded trips — from March 25-27, 2011, to Washington, D.C., and on Sept. 15, 2011, to New York.

“As you know, anytime you go to New York or D.C., hotel rooms are outrageous,” Rutherford’s chief of staff, Kyle Ham, said at the time. “So decisions were deliberately made for Dan and his executive assistant . . . to double occupy.”

Another reporter queried Rutherford: “But I don’t share a hotel room with my boss.”

Rutherford defended the practice as typical in other areas of discipline.

“Well then there are many companies that do,” he responded calmly. “Including the National Hockey League. Including the National Football League, including many small businesses.”

Email: nkorecki@suntimes.com

Twitter: @natashakorecki



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