State employee behind allegations against Treasurer Dan Rutherford resigns
BY NATASHA KORECKI AND DAN MIHALOPOULOS Staff Reporters February 3, 2014 4:52PM
Updated: March 5, 2014 6:22AM
The Illinois state treasurer employee behind allegations against State Treasurer Dan Rutherford resigned from his position Monday, the employee told the Chicago Sun-Times.
The man, who asked that his name not yet be used, said he submitted his resignation letter following what he called an intimidating news conference held by Rutherford on Friday, with a former FBI agent at his side.
Rutherford did not describe the allegations but said they were false and accused his GOP gubernatorial primary opponent, Bruce Rauner, of being behind them.
“Did you ever see someone being flanked by federal agents like that?” the man said. “I was completely intimidated.”
Rutherford said he has launched an independent investigation by a former IRS special agent.
At the news conference, Rutherford said the employee’s attorney, Christine Svenson, demanded $300,000 so her client would not go public with the complaints.
The employee told the Sun-Times in an interview on Monday that his complaint entailed harassment claims and pressure to do political work. The employee said he found it “unconscionable” that Rutherford characterized his complaint as being tied to political chicanery, rather than taking it seriously.
The employee said Svenson is preparing to file a formal complaint in upcoming days.
Svenson released a lengthy statement last week calling the allegations “serious and real,” and said the two sides were in the midst of private negotiations.
Rutherford campaign spokeswoman Judy Pardonnet on Monday said she could not comment on the employee’s resignation.
“If the individual decides to speak about his status or reveal his identity, that’s up to the individual,” she said. “The treasurer’s office has done all it can to protect the privacy of the individual even after the individual’s lawyer requested $300,000.”
Pardonnet repeated Rutherford’s assertion, made last week, that an internal review “found no basis in fact for the allegations” against the treasurer.
To that, the employee said: “the extent of the investigation was Dan saying ‘it’s not true.’”