* Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle has repeatedly denied that she knew about sexual harassment allegations against her chief of staff before she fired him in September on the eve of her announcement for mayor. Not true…
Scott Cisek, a key political adviser, said he told Preckwinkle days after the March 20 primary election that he’d “heard some very disturbing rumors” that Keller “had been behaving badly towards women.” And he warned Preckwinkle that someday “one of these women is going to come forward.”
Keller told the Tribune that Preckwinkle then met with him to let him know there was an allegation stemming from his brief work on a Democratic congressional campaign.
Keller actually offered to resign at that meeting, but Preckwinkle rejected the offer.
* And now we may know why that blatantly false item was planted with Sneed today about Emily Miller working for potential mayoral candidate Susana Mendoza…
Preckwinkle also noted that she has referred the Keller matter to the Cook County inspector general for a full investigation. Preckwinkle did so after Emily Miller, a Democratic political consultant who had brought the Keller allegations to Cisek back in March, followed up with Preckwinkle last month to tell her she was concerned about the way the matter was handled.
Miller, a friend of a Keller accuser, then documented parts of her talk with Preckwinkle in an email to Preckwinkle’s new chief of staff, a copy of which the Tribune obtained through an open records request. […]
Miller recounted for the Tribune her interactions with Preckwinkle and Cisek. She said she came away disappointed with how they handled the accusations and called it a “cop-out” that the Preckwinkle administration did not pursue the matter sooner and more aggressively.
“There was obviously another way to take care of the problem than just filing that formal written complaint,” said Miller, who indicated that she is not aligned with any mayoral candidate. “And that other way played out two days before (Preckwinkle) announced for mayor. And it could have just as easily played out … when she first became aware of the problem.”
Reporters are obviously going to have to be careful with any “leaks” coming out of Preckwinkle’s campaign from here on out if that’s how they’re gonna play.
There is a whole lot more to this Tribune story, so click here to read the rest.
…Adding… Lori Lightfoot…
“This is bigger than Toni Preckwinkle’s shielding of John Keller,” said Lightfoot. “It’s bigger than her campaign’s dishonest efforts to discredit Emily Miller or her failure to hold anyone accountable for the abandoned SUV until the media took notice. It’s about a toxic culture that starts at the top, and that puts women at risk. We need leaders who will reject this culture and instead build a transparent and accountable City Hall that serves the people, not the broken political machine.”
* Preckwinkle’s head of security fired: The head of security for mayoral hopeful and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle was fired last week, two years after a county-owned SUV was found abandoned in a ditch in southwest suburban Lemont Township.