A sexual harassment lawsuit that tanked the political career of former state Treasurer Dan Rutherford was dismissed Wednesday in federal court in Chicago.
Court records show both sides agreed to end the 3½-year-old action. U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow dismissed the case “without prejudice” — meaning the plaintiff, former Rutherford employee Edmund Michalowski, can return to court with a fresh complaint.
Filed just weeks before the 2014 Republican primary for governor, the lawsuit sent Rutherford spiraling from leading contender against the independently wealthy Bruce Rauner — now governor — to an also-ran in a field of four. […]
In May 2016, Rutherford’s successor, Democrat Michael Frerichs, released to The Associated Press a previously confidential investigation into the allegations. The report by Ron Braver & Associates, hired by Rutherford when he was made aware of Michalowski’s allegations, found no evidence of harassment or retaliation.
The Braver report contended that “rumors that Mr. Michalowski may be let go from the treasurer’s office after the primary elections play a role in coming forward with these serious allegations and the allegations appear to be released to influence his current election.”
Michalowski’s attorney, Dana Kurtz, condemned the review, saying it “leaves out substantial information.” She said her client sued because he and other young men were being harassed by Rutherford, and he wanted it to stop.
Three other former Rutherford employees sued him in 2015 in Cook County Circuit Court, alleging they were fired because they backed up Michalowski’s story. That suit was dismissed in Rutherford’s favor last August.
The Chicago Sun-Times previously reported that the two lawsuits against Rutherford had cost Illinois taxpayers more than $500,000.