Rutherford denies sexual harassment allegations

First the explosive allegations, now the firm denial– all of this just weeks before the Illinois primaries.

Looks like another hard fought game of political hot potato–right now, Dan Rutherford is facing questions about sexual harassment allegations.

It really boils down to– who do you believe? The man launching the charges or the candidate is denying them.

On Monday, the subject was unavoidable– opponent Kirk Dillard asked if Illinois voters should brace for any other sexual harassment accusations.

It was a heated question during a hot political race for the GOP nomination, because earlier Monday– a lawsuit was filed in federal court.

Christine Svenson: “My client was the direct recipient of Mr. Rutherford’s advances.”

To that, Mr. Rutherford was forced to say:

“I did not do these things.”

But a former employee in the state Treasurer’s office says he did. Edmund Michaelowski, claims Rutherford pressured him to do political work on state time and made repeated sexual advances toward him for the past three years. Claims like:

-at Rutherford’s house, at a purported retreat, in 2011…the Treasurer “grabbed at plaintiff’s (Michaelowski’s) genital area”

-in a 2011 text’ Michaelowski was told to “wear a tank top” –an order allegedly made by Rutherford.

-in August of that same year the treasurer allegedly told Michaelowski “if you go home with me, you can have anything you want in the office.”

And at the GOP convention in 2012, when denied by Michaelowski again, Rutherford allegedly got angry and told him:

“You just said no to the Treasurer.”

Rutherford says his accuser is after money and records show Michaelowski is lying about his whereabouts during those dates. Was it misinformation, a misunderstanding, or an outright lie?

Before a room full of republican voters, Rutherford maintains:

“I am telling all of you those allegations are false, they are from years ago and on the cusp of an election, I think this is a stink about Illinois politics.”

Even after the details were unveiled in the federal lawsuit, Dan Rutherford maintains Bruce Rauner, one of his political opponents, is behind this.

True or not– Rutherford says he has no proof Rauner is responsible.

Rauner has no response to the lawsuit and did not attend the debate Monday night.

PRESS RELEASE: Treasurer Rutherford reacts to ex-employee’s lawsuit

DOCUMENT: Michalowski’s travel voucher from 4-2-11

DOCUMENT: Emails about travel on 4-2-11

DOCUMENT: Text messages between Michalowski & Conrad on 7-24-11

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