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Silverstein accuser drops out of House race

Friday, Dec 22, 2017

* From Denise Rotheimer’s Facebook page

I am publicly announcing my decision not to pursue my candidacy for State Representative of District 62. Since testifying at the hearing on SB402 to prohibit sexual harassment in the Ethics Act I have been overwhelmed with re-living the experience I suffered while working with senator Silverstein and figuring out how to participate in the process of going forward on my complaint. Had this issue not come up, I would have been 100% committed to my campaign–but, there were several consequences from testifying that I could not foresee at that time. I have done my best to get through this process which I feel progress has been made because of the efforts the legislative inspector general made to accommodate my participation and my request to present a victim impact statement to the legislative ethics commission. I do hope that this case and all the attention that it has received, including the progress that I have made by providing the complainant with some level of having a voice in this process will be of benefit to others. At this point, I want to focus on other aspects of my life, particularly on areas where I can do good and meaningful work that not only improves the quality of life for others but also for myself. With this being said, I wish the other two candidates good luck and again, please do not forget to vote in the primary election on March 20, 2018.

She was running against two other Republicans for the right to take on Rep. Sam Yingling (D-Grayslake). She never set up a campaign committee and she filed 517 petition signatures, just barely above the required 500 and her petitions were challenged. She told me she couldn’t make herself gather signatures after her public testimony against Silverstein. She essentially got out before she was kicked off.

* Meanwhile, Sen. Silverstein’s campaign committee has reported just three contributions since he was accused of sexual harassment. The Chicagoland Operators Joint Labor-Management PAC gave him $7,000 in mid-November. The Realtors gave him $1,200 and the Trial Lawyers gave him $1,000 in late November. He has reported nothing since then.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

14 Comments
  1. - just saying - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 10:10 am:

    At what point can we start to question the stability/veracity of this accuser? A national debate is unfolding about due process upon accusation. Silverstein received none but there still doesn’t appear to be any credibility to the accusations. This latest twist raises further doubts.


  2. - Montrose - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 10:13 am:

    “doesn’t appear to be any credibility to the accusation.”

    Quite the statement to make for someone so concerned about due process.


  3. - Honeybear - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 10:24 am:

    I’m just super conflicted on this. One part of me is grateful this came to the fore to clean the scourge of harassment. And actually make steps. So thankful. But then I just didn’t like the feel of a political run for her. In reading the texts she provided, I became even more confused. It seemed to me consensual banter. She’s claiming it wasn’t. I’m trying to figure out where to start to think.
    I don’t even know where we should go from here.
    Hoping either way justice finds itself to us.
    I sure don’t know how to get to it.


  4. - Johnyy Justice - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 10:38 am:

    There’s simply no excuse for Rothheimer’s failure to collect 500 good signatures. She could have easily done this on her own had she gone door to door with a registered voters list at the start of the collection period. If she had a few volunteers helping her, it would have been that much easier. She probably went to a few shopping centers to get signatures quickly, but you get a high % of bad ones that way. Plus, the public has been overwhelmingly sympathetic to sexual harassment accusers, so I find it hard to believe that of the few voters who would’ve even known who she was, they would have responded negatively when she requested a signature.


  5. - Grand Avenue - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 10:45 am:

    The issue is the number of signatures not the quality - she should have gotten at least 1000 if not the max 1500. Even if you go door to door with a poll sheet, do get 500 good out of 517 means your sigs need to be 97% good


  6. - Classy - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 10:46 am:

    Trial lawyers continue to demonstrate the highest levels of class


  7. - Anonymous - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 10:57 am:

    She comes in with a thud, and goes out as a dud.


  8. - Curl of the Burl - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 10:59 am:

    The current NFL Network situation is going to be the first REAL litmus test in terms of vetting sexual harassment accusations/allegations for validity and the value of settlements vs. continuing legal action to potentially save face. The Shield is as tightly-run as any organization on earth and they have an army of former police and intelligence gurus who do amazing behind-the-scenes work, and they have an in-house team of attorneys. They will take their time, conduct thorough investigations, and ensure their employees receive due process because the NFL knows that anyone fired prematurely will sue and make a bigger deal than the initial round of accusations. I think this lays the groundwork for what happens in 2018 in relation to such claims and whether they are common or become rare(r) again.


  9. - factchecker - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 10:59 am:

    —”Trial lawyers continue to demonstrate the highest levels of class”—

    While we are on the topic of accusations and due process, let’s look at a couple facts:
    1. The allegations against Silverstein came out in a House hearing in November.
    2. The Realtors contributed $1200 to Silverstein and the Trial Lawyers $1000 on August 3rd, 3 months BEFORE the allegations were made. The contribution and its reporting by an official are separate occurrences.
    3. The Chicagoland Joint Operators’ contribution mentioned above could also very well have happened between the Sept 30 fioling deadline and the November allegations–a fact that we won’t know until the end-of-year filings.
    Dear “Classy”: Facts matter.


  10. - Lincoln Square Cookout - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 11:04 am:

    =Since testifying at the hearing on SB402 to prohibit sexual harassment in the Ethics Act I have been overwhelmed with re-living the experience I suffered while working with senator Silverstein and figuring out how to participate in the process of going forward on my complaint. Had this issue not come up, I would have been 100% committed to my campaign–but, there were several consequences from testifying that I could not foresee at that time. I have done my best to get through this process which I feel progress has been made because of the efforts the legislative inspector general made to accommodate my participation and my request to present a victim impact statement to the legislative ethics commission. = She told me she couldn’t make herself gather signatures after her public testimony against Silverstein.=

    One of the things I noticed in 2017 is a lot of people suffer from Chronic Victim Syndrome- it’s always someone else fault.

    To Ms. Rotheimer’s comments. She had no problem blurting out Silverstein’s name during the hearing, which caught everyone off guard, just look at the faces of those setting at the table. Ms. Rotheimer had no problems talking to reporters, posting on both of her Facebook pages, being interviewed on Proft’s radio show and sharing the “articles” from Proft’s media outlets (or whatever those papers fall under). She had no problems calling Durkin’s office and then turning to social media to talk about Durkin. She has documented her life on social media. When she first wanted to run against Yingling she was a victim and according to her:
    1. Senate subject matter hearing on “her” bill was cancelled bc she was running (1st time she was running).

    2. The retail store that copied her petitions didn’t put all the originals in the stack that was going to the State Board of Elections- she sue/or threatened to sue.

    3. Mike Madigan killed the house version of “her” bill.

    4. We heard that she reported sexual harassment when she worked for MetLife (or whatever insurance company she worked for) and that was so traumatic that she couldn’t meet her quotas.

    5. She posted about the other advocates that were opposed to “her” bill. These advocates that have great relationships under the dome.

    6. She has made comments about the new LIG and Eric Zorn (after he wrote an article about her allegations) and things didn’t seem to be going in her favor.

    7. Now, the process of coming forward with her allegations has been too stressful, she is overwhelmed and can no longer run for state representative.

    From what I’ve heard, if she would have won the republican primary, some of the Lake County republicans were going to be working against her and supporting Yingling. Now, I’m sure we will hear about this post and how people have attacked her as a result of her allegations against a senator.

    Merry Christmas. It’s going to be a long road to November 2018.


  11. - Johnyy Justice - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 11:32 am:

    To Grand Avenue: I agree one should not file with less than 1,000, and to be safe the entire 1,500. But my point was, if you are going to file less, you can increase your odds by going door to door with the registered voters list, so you know when the person signs, that the signer is registered at the address stated (unless the signer claims to be someone they are not!).


  12. - Anonymous - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 11:39 am:

    This lady is certainly not a good place and I feel sorry for her. Due process doesn’t un-ring the bell unfortunately.


  13. - Responsa - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 2:38 pm:

    I’m so with you on this one, Honeybear. The Illinois House committee hearing was a needed eye opener for a lot of people and it gave several women the incentive and opportunity to come forward with their own poignant stories. Yet Denise’s is the only one of the bunch that caught and seemed to keep media attention focused on questions of harassment in Springfield politics. Frankly, if this causes both her and Sen. Silverstein to fade into the political sunset that’s fine with me. But we must not let the larger issues that were raised here fade into the sunset as I increasingly fear they are and will.


  14. - State worker - Friday, Dec 22, 17 @ 3:43 pm:

    We have to always take into account why people are reluctant to report and why working with or going along with someone abusive might be a better option than reporting them.

    Yet, this case is another good reason to commit to due process and consider each case on the merits. There have been a lot of misfires about this case simply because “legislators have power.” It’s true that legislators hold power, but so do victim advocates.

    From everything I’ve seen, and I hope I don’t see any more, this story appears to be about a mutually-created mess that both perpetuated until it went wrong.


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