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Lou Lang coverage roundup

Thursday, May 31, 2018

By Hannah Meisel

* Boy what a day. In case you are not plugged into this world, here are the basics: on Tuesday it was reported that a woman would come forward on Thursday to accuse a “leading lawmaker” of harassment. This morning the woman went on Dan Proft’s radio show only identifying herself as “M,” and then at a 1 p.m. press conference in the Capitol, she identified herself as a medical marijuana advocate named Maryann Loncar.

Loncar accused top Madigan ally Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie) of years of harassment. But when pressed by reporters during the press conference, Loncar revealed that the reason for the abuse was because she claims she was privy to knowledge of an alleged $170 million “bribe” offered to Lang and two other Democrats by someone in the medical marijuana industry. However, the person she heard this from disputes this claim, as Rich reported earlier.

Lang then held his own press conference, where he was flanked by female supporters — lawmakers and lobbyists — who spoke to Lang’s leadership and even mentorship of women.

* Tribune

Democratic Rep. Lou Lang of Skokie announced he was stepping down as House deputy majority leader in a statement released as advocate Maryann Loncar was taking questions from reporters at the Capitol.

Loncar accused Lang of years of verbal abuse after they initially worked together to pass the state’s 2013 law that legalized medical marijuana. Loncar said that several years ago, Lang made her uncomfortable by putting his hand on her lower back and asking if her husband knew how lucky he was.

Loncar said that on another occasion, Lang called her at night as she was out at dinner, saying he would have come to meet her if she were alone.

Lang’s announcement came less than 24 hours after he won approval of the federal Equal Rights Amendment, which seeks to guarantee that rights can’t be denied because of a person’s sex.


Loncar said she became “privy” to information she shouldn’t have when she witnessed Lang being offered a $170 million bribe, and that’s when Lang retaliated, with behavior such as telling her ex-husband: “I can help you bury her if you want.”

She says she never contacted police or other authorities in part out of distrust and fear of further retaliation, but that she came forward Thursday despite fearing for her life, hoping that other women will speak out against Lang and others in power. […]

Lang also denied any suggestion of a bribe.

“If I have $170 million somewhere, help me find it,” he said.

* NBC5

Loncar said her experience was similar to allegations brought forth by other people who have come forward, including state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, who alleged retaliation from House Speaker Michael Madigan after she spoke out questioning his office’s handling of harassment claims.

“It’s what everybody else is talking about,” Loncar said Thursday morning. “It’s Representative Cassidy and other people that stand up and say if you don’t conform and go along with everything they tell you, regardless of your own morals, your own mindset, you will be blackballed and that you will be treated unfairly and you will be harassed and you will be singled out. And no matter how many times you go through a video for 15 minutes and answer questions on sexual harassment, that’s not enough. That’s not enough.”

* Sun-Times

Loncar also claimed Lang killed a hemp farming bill she had been advocating for, a claim many organizations are disputing.

Jen Walling, executive director and lobbyist on behalf of the Illinois Environmental Council, said the initial hemp farming bill “wasn’t killed because of Lou Lang.”

“That is absolutely not true,” Walling said, adding that the measure failed because an agreement couldn’t be reached with the Medical Cannabis Association. A revamped Industrial Hemp Bill was sent to the governor on Wednesday after being passed by the state Senate.

Walling called Loncar a “citizen advocate,” who was not involved in negotiations or in any meetings regarding the initial hemp bill.

“I’m not belittling her other claims but I’m absolutely sure that Lou did not kill this bill,” Walling said.

Walling told Rich the same thing today.

- Posted by Hannah Meisel        

  1. - PJ - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 7:44 pm:

    If the harassment allegations are true, he should step down.

    The fact that almost everything else she claimed (hemp bill, “bribe”) seem to be provably false don’t exactly bolster her credibility on the first point, though.

  2. - RNUG - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 7:44 pm:

    So … there was no $170M bribe … the hemp bill wasn’t killed in retaliation … and she apparently never called him out or slapped him over the unwanted advances.

    Not that the GA can’t be a unsupervised frat party, but exactly what is the story here? Lobbyist felt intimidated?

  3. - @misterjayem - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 7:46 pm:

    Something noteworthy occurred today — but I’m still not sure what.

    – MrJM

  4. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 7:54 pm:

    –This morning the woman went on Dan Proft’s radio show only identifying herself as “M,” and then at a 1 p.m. press conference in the Capitol, she identified herself as a medical marijuana advocate named Maryann Loncar.–

    What was that all about, “M”?

    Was that just some weird showbiz from Proft?

  5. - PUH-leeze - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 8:09 pm:

    Longcar messed up the Scooby Doo quote. That should have been Lou’s line right after they took off his elaborate mask: “And I would’ve gotten away with it if it weren’t for you meddling kids…”

    Unfortunately for Lou, the consequences of these (politically motivated?) allegations are much more serious than than a kids cartoon: there is no surefire way to clean yourself off after being dragged through this mud. So-called bullying is far different from the innuendos of sexual harassment Longcar insinuated but couldn’t bring herself to aver.

  6. - DuPage - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 8:13 pm:

    In my opinion, Maryann Loncar has put her credibility in doubt.

  7. - West Side the Best Side - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 8:25 pm:

    I’ll see “put her credibility in doubt” and raise “destroyed her credibility.”

  8. - Skirmisher - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 8:38 pm:

    This had smell from the beginning and the aroma just gets stronger. I am not personally acquainted with Lang and don’t care to be. But I don’t care to see anyone dragged through the mud on vague charges that would never stand up in court. And what in the world was his crime, anyhow?

  9. - Rich Miller - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 8:43 pm:

    ===And what in the world was his crime===

    Other than the goofy bribery stuff, I don’t think a crime was alleged here. But you’re setting a really high bar if you demand evidence of criminal behavior.

  10. - anon2 - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 8:54 pm:

    Anyone who watched Lang’s press conference today should be asking why was there such a thin showing of his colleagues? Maybe because there is some truth to the allegations of bullying and abuse of power. How many Reps has he intimidated into voting for his bills? Several. Everyone that opposes him is bullied and intimidated. This not the “nice” mentoring person described. Cross him and you will see his real self. Years of Power have given him a sense of being untouchable. His behavior has gone unchecked for far too long.

  11. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 8:56 pm:

    Saying your husband is a lucky guy is now harassment?

  12. - Anon3 - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 9:05 pm:

    So, I haven’t really seen this mentioned, but when Lang passed the ERA the previous night, did he know his name would be the one that was coming up during her presser? Or did this come to a complete surprise to him?

  13. - Thoughts Matter - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 9:46 pm:

    Mr MJM wins the internet today.

    In less than 36 hours, we passed the ERA amendment, the budget, got the governor to say he’d sign it.,, and then everything noted in this thread happened. Sometimes I wonder if Illinois will ever get out of its own way,

  14. - dray - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 9:52 pm:

    …and Rep. Burke learned how to silence his cellphone. What a day!

  15. - Funny - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 10:18 pm:

    This woman is a an absolute disgrace. Making up lies because you can’t figure out how to get a bill passed. I can’t wait to see what other BS is found out about her. And DR - please go away.

  16. - cdog - Thursday, May 31, 18 @ 11:07 pm:

    At the beginning of the ladies’ press conference, ML said she had been giving reports, in real time, to Monique Garcia and another person.

    That’s interesting.

  17. - Anon2018 - Friday, Jun 1, 18 @ 2:16 am:

    Sun Tzu Art of War is at play - MeToo is being high jacked and we are being pitted against each other. Its just that simple. Proft is no journalist, instead he is an effective operative who understands narratives and sowing division.

    Alaina is a person who was wronged.

    The rest is political napalm and head line grabbing, with people being used in the process. Art of War.

  18. - A guy - Friday, Jun 1, 18 @ 6:05 am:

    Funny….you’re not.

    This woman clearly experienced something well beyond a basic snub.Neither convict or exonerate anyone until we see a little more from the process going forward. Emotions were high all the way around. None of these people are paid actors, that’s for sure.

    I don’t think for one second this lady isn’t experiencing severe hurt or fear. We’ll see if her action is an overreaction or not. His first impulse, even with some time to get it right and write a response lacked a single line of denial. He caught up. But the whole scenario is confusing. Let’s look into to it and determine what happened.

    Bizarre as it sounds, both could be stretching the truth, both could be misunderstanding or both could be telling a version of the truth they believe. Too strange to know yet.

  19. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Friday, Jun 1, 18 @ 6:27 am:

    M. Loncar has no credibility. The bribery story was a lie. Lang killing the hemp bill was a lie. It wouldn’t be right to assume her motives, but her strong emotions is proof of nothing more than she has strong emotions. Also we have: fearing for her life because she saw Medponics try to monopolize the medical marijuana market. Why would she fear for her life?

  20. - Anonymous - Friday, Jun 1, 18 @ 6:29 am:

    Listening to her go on and on and on and on, with in a video taped segment seemed to destroy her credibility.

    Did I say her video taped news segment went on and on and on with little credibility?

  21. - ZC - Friday, Jun 1, 18 @ 7:32 am:

    Well, let’s see if anyone else comes forward in the meantime (maybe with more accurate initial stories). Legislators who abuse women rarely stop at one.

  22. - TopHatMonocle - Friday, Jun 1, 18 @ 7:41 am:

    Her buddies at the Trib Monique Garcia and Ray Long called up her ex-husband, who promptly said she made the whole “burying” story up. Add this to the other debunked stories, and she’s lost all credibility. Lang sounds guilty of telling his colleagues to not listen to someone who’s trying to hijack his bills for their own gain.

  23. - Lord Voldemort - Friday, Jun 1, 18 @ 8:13 am:

    Oh goody. Now the Dems have a chance to set up their own circular firing squad!

  24. - wordslinger - Friday, Jun 1, 18 @ 8:21 am:

    –ML said she had been giving reports, in real time, to Monique Garcia and another person.

    That’s interesting.–

    You think they got a piece of the $170 million?

  25. - the Patriot - Friday, Jun 1, 18 @ 8:38 am:

    I don’t believe a rational person can even dispute that our legislature works on threats, blackballing, and retaliation. But my observation is that the speaker does not discriminate.

    I believe he is the single worst politician in the country and probably the worst in the history of our state, but my observation is Red or Blue, male or female, cross him and he comes after everyone equally.

  26. - Old School - Friday, Jun 1, 18 @ 9:20 am:

    Same tactic that was used on Roy Moore in Alabama, liberals dislike a taste of their own medicine.

  27. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jun 1, 18 @ 9:22 am:

    ===Same tactic===

    Explain please. Use your words.

  28. - Jake From Elwood - Friday, Jun 1, 18 @ 9:29 am:

    So many members of the Lou Lang apologist club in the comments.
    Obviously Madigan believes something happened or he wouldn’t have mandated that Lou step down from all of his leadership roles.
    Read the tea leaves please.

  29. - Jake From Elwood - Friday, Jun 1, 18 @ 9:30 am:

    Remember not all harassment victims are polished orators or Fulbright Scholars.

  30. - Sandy - Friday, Jun 1, 18 @ 9:39 am:

    ~Obviously Madigan believes something happened or he wouldn’t have mandated that Lou step down from all of his leadership roles.~

    Where did you read?

  31. - cdog - Friday, Jun 1, 18 @ 9:40 am:

    “You think they got a piece of the $170 million?”

    I’m not addressing that, but rather sticking to the original issue, sexual harassment. Real time, third party corroboration does help construct a more solid version of the events.

    fwiw, been there/done that in 1983, vs a USN CPO.
    Still can’t tell the story without getting emotional.

    Good points made by Patriot, a guy, and anon2.

    Something has definitely happened which crossed a line.

  32. - wordslinger - Friday, Jun 1, 18 @ 9:45 am:

    –Remember not all harassment victims are polished orators or Fulbright Scholars.–

    Very few claim to have witnessed $170 million bribery attempts or that they fear being murdered because of it.

    For whatever reason, Loncar ventured very far afield yesterday from her claims of alleged inappropriate touching and comments. Taken as a whole, the event was perplexing and raised questions of credibility.

  33. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jun 1, 18 @ 9:51 am:

    Has Loncar apologized, or better, explained the mixup of accusing three legislators for engaging in a $170 million bribery scheme that had a Scooby-Doo ending?

    In this Loncar case, the harassment can be true, and lacking any credibility in other accusations outside those of harassment can be true as well.

  34. - Molly Maguire - Friday, Jun 1, 18 @ 10:12 am:

    One of the key stories here is the attempted hijacking of the MeToo movement by right-wing elements of the Repub party (Proft, Ives) who have strenuously opposed the expansion of women’s rights. (And their willingness to exploit traumatized women in pursuit of political gain)

  35. - SeekTheTruth - Friday, Jun 1, 18 @ 10:22 am:

    It should be noted that Ms. Loncar spent a lot of time in Springfield. During the era of HB30 she had plans to apply for a license for cultivation and dispensary operations. HB30, just as well as previous bills, failed due to Republicans obstructing these attempts. It was not Lang’s choice to direct this program into a for-profit system. She is rewriting history. This upset her due to the fact that this was going to prevent her from being able to get the licenses she felt she deserved. When her tone towards legislators changed and she increased her aggressive tactics after the introduction of HB1, legislators wanted to keep their distance from her, so yes, she was met with closed doors and and unwillingness from politicians to work with her. I fully support the #metoo movement but I truly believe this is a move to seek revenge against Lang for her not getting the notoriety or opportunity she felt she earned. This lessens the entire legitimacy of those who have been victims of real harassment and abuse. I urge you all to consider the fact that she has a history of behavioral patterns that should be called to question. Her story is filled with statements that are simply false. And if she was so fundamentally opposed to HB1 as she said, why then was she present for the Governors signing of that bill?

  36. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Monday, Jun 4, 18 @ 9:28 am:

    ==Same tactic that was used on Roy Moore in Alabama, liberals dislike a taste of their own medicine.==

    “librals” did nothing to Roy Moore. Nobody did anything to Roy Moore. He did it all to himself.

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