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Legit probe or retaliating against whistleblowers?

Friday, Sep 26, 2014

* We’re getting to this a bit late in the game, but here’s the Sun-Times’ take

A Snapchat text from Wrigley Field during state worker hours and a pair of sexually harrassing text messages to female co-workers were among the new details to emerge Wednesday in the firings of three high-level staffers in state Treasurer Dan Rutherford’s office.

The Executive Ethics Commission Wednesday released a report by David Wells, executive inspector general for the treasurer’s office, into an alleged scheme to circumvent the time-keeping system in Rutherford’s office.

Wells identified Patrick Carlson, George Daglas and Ashvin Lad, all three senior members in Rutherford’s management team, and said all three violated the “trust and integrity” of Rutherford and state taxpayers by their conduct. […]

“All three positions are senior staff positions within the office of state treasurer, appointed by Treasurer Rutherford. These individuals are in leadership positions of a state agency wherein integrity and trust are key character traits. By their participation in this fraudulent time keeping scheme, whether it was ‘every day’ or ‘one time only,’ their actions violated the trust and integrity of Treasurer Rutherford, the office of state treasurer, and most importantly, the trust of the taxpayers of the state of Illinois,” Wells’ report concluded.

* The Tribune has a different sort of angle

Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford fired three top aides who were accused of falsifying timekeeping records, but the former employees say they were targeted in retaliation for participating in a probe looking into allegations of sexual harassment and political pressure made against their boss. […]

In written responses released by the inspector general, Carlson, Daglas and Lad say there are several inaccuracies in the report and question the legitimacy of the investigation, saying the inspector general did not follow proper protocol and inform them of the right to have interviews recorded.

Carlson said in his response that he at no point admitted to being a part of the scheme, and accused Wells of having an “accusatory tone and demeanor” during interviews. Carlson wrote that Wells’ behavior matches that of other treasurer’s office staff members and was “designed to purposely and willfully create a hostile workplace environment and was done in retaliation” for statements Carlson made to another investigator hired by Rutherford to vet allegations brought against him by a former employee that the treasurer engaged in a pattern of sexual harassment and political pressure.

Lad also questioned Wells’ investigation, saying the ethics officer relied on statements from “co-workers who were set to find ways to retaliate against me for cooperating with an internal investigation.” Daglas did not say he felt he was being retaliated against in his formal response to the report, but told the Tribune on Wednesday that the trio was unfairly targeted for participating in the Rutherford probe. Carlson and Lad declined to comment further, deferring to their written responses.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - 47th Ward - Friday, Sep 26, 14 @ 11:45 am:

    Has Rutherford ever released the report he promised to release regarding the original allegations? Until we can see what’s in that, it’s hard to know who to believe in this brouhaha.

    But from what I’ve seen of Rutherford, I wouldn’t be shocked to learn this was retaliation. My guess is, if he was pleased with a certain employee, a day at Wrigley Field was no problem. If he was displeased, it was a capitol offense.

  2. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Sep 26, 14 @ 11:49 am:

    Certain aspects of that IG report bear striking similarities to the infamous “eating lunch at my desk” report and the “beer tickets” report my comments were the first to call shenanigans on.

    Working out on your lunch hour?

    Coincidentally firing three cooperating witnesses on the same day?

    Nothing to see here, lol. If you say so.

  3. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 26, 14 @ 11:52 am:

    @FakeRutherfordDan - Twitter, Facebook & Instagram can come back to haunt you. #PotKettleKettlePot

    @FakeRutherfordDan - the best way to seem like you want the truth is to deny those questioned their rights #ExaminationByIntimidation

  4. - JS Mill - Friday, Sep 26, 14 @ 12:10 pm:

    “Oh Danny Boy!” keeps running through my head. This saga will continue until he is out of office.

  5. - Gator - Friday, Sep 26, 14 @ 12:23 pm:

    Don’t snapchat texts disappear after 10 seconds?

  6. - Downstate GOP Faithless - Friday, Sep 26, 14 @ 12:37 pm:

    I know one of the three well and he said the only way to clear there names is for the suppressed report to come out. Also it seems there is a clause allowing Rutherford to destroy the Braver report which seems odd, but it’s Rutherford

  7. - wordslinger - Friday, Sep 26, 14 @ 12:40 pm:

    Apparently,some reports are more releasable than others.

    Yeah,it doesn’t take a tinfoil hat to seep the possibility of retaliation. So here come the lawsuits.

    Lot of taxpayer money being spent on non-government activities in that office these days.

  8. - Anonymous - Friday, Sep 26, 14 @ 12:41 pm:

    so the suppressed report says they didn’t falsify timekeeping records?

  9. - Jocko - Friday, Sep 26, 14 @ 12:55 pm:

    If I recall, the Braver report was commissioned using taxpayer money. Are we going to get to see it, or will they put some type of “Warren Commission” seal on it?

  10. - Demoralized - Friday, Sep 26, 14 @ 1:05 pm:

    It sounds to me like the Treasurer’s office is a hot mess.

  11. - admin - Friday, Sep 26, 14 @ 1:42 pm:

    The lawsuit didnt seem to amount to much against rutherford especially after all the media attacks. Deserves serious mention.

  12. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 26, 14 @ 1:45 pm:

    ===The lawsuit didnt seem to amount to much against rutherford especially after all the media attacks. Deserves serious mention.===

    Except it derailed a possibly viable GOP Nominee for Governor, and possibly ending his political career…

    Other than that…

  13. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Sep 26, 14 @ 2:00 pm:

    == Has Rutherford ever released the report he promised to release regarding the original allegations? ==

    To the contrary, he suddenly cancelled his planned “proof of innocence” press conference to share the results of the report shortly after receiving it.

  14. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Sep 26, 14 @ 2:06 pm:

    == The lawsuit didnt seem to amount to much against Rutherford ==

    That lawsuit is still ongoing, as you are likely aware. Why would the fact there has been no ruling whatsoever deserve == serious mention ==?

  15. - Buckeye - Friday, Sep 26, 14 @ 2:44 pm:

    “I know one of the three well and he said the only way to clear there names is for the suppressed report to come out.”

    All three in their responses which were released with the IG report asked that the IG report be suppressed and their names redacted. I think their written submission speaks louder than the attributed quote.

    David Wells is a straight shooter. The report speaks for itself and stands on its own.

    I know one of the clowns; he was a political type from Lee Daniels house republican organization, so this is unsurprising.

  16. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 26, 14 @ 2:55 pm:

    Until Rutherford, …the Fiasco Friday Guy, who self-distrusted in what may be the biggest Press Crew blunder of a constitutional officer in recent memory..,

    …until Dopey Rutherford pays for the investigation he had the state pay for, or releases the report for public scrutiny, …dismissals or firings or whatever @RutherfordDan calls them only continues to remind me that Dan Rutherford can’t leave the stage soon enough.

    “I can’t tell you what it is, I can’t tell you who is going it, I can’t tell you anything, but it isn’t true…the stuff I can’t tell you.

    Embarrassingly pathetic.

    But, good on @RutherfordDan, “I am the state Treasurer”, you got these three good.

  17. - Anonymous - Friday, Sep 26, 14 @ 2:58 pm:

    I believe the lawsuit has already been dismissed at least once

  18. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Sep 26, 14 @ 3:06 pm:

    == I believe the lawsuit has already been dismissed at least once ==

    It has not. The Attorney General has asked for the case to be dismissed. The plaintiff’s attorney has filed a response. The judge has not ruled either way.

  19. - Tom Joad - Friday, Sep 26, 14 @ 3:11 pm:

    If the state paid for the investigations and not Rutherford, any “right to destroy” the documents would be the destruction of state property. I believe that would be a crime.

  20. - Downstate GOP Faithless - Friday, Sep 26, 14 @ 3:43 pm:

    @buckeye I thought it was clear but I guess not…they want “special investigation” out. The one that Rutherford had done.

  21. - Lakeside Lefty - Saturday, Sep 27, 14 @ 1:23 pm:

    ==David Wells is a straight shooter. The report speaks for itself and stands on its own.==

    Someone didn’t read the report fully. Wells doesn’t do himself any favors by contradicting himself in different places, and stating things that don’t even exist. A season ticket holder incentive gift,” given at a game? People were mentioned by one but then he says they weren’t mentioned? People who were a part of this that began in 2014, yet moved away in 2012? It seems Mr. Wells was free wheeling with his words. And based on the responses, it appears there were people Wells could have interviewed who may have supported the claims of the 3, but he chose not to. Any chance these 3 went to Wells to report various issues, but he just sat on them, and now he wants to cover his own rear end? Has anyone checked other employees time to see if there were others who never clocked out for lunch? If they were not fired, but these 3 were, then yes, retaliation.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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