Ill. Treasurer Dan Rutherford responds to harassment claim

EXCLUSIVE: Ill. Treasurer Rutherford responds to harassment claim

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Dan Rutherford Dan Rutherford
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

FOX 32 News has exclusive new information about explosive allegations against Republican gubernatorial candidate and Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford.

We've learned more about the man who claims Rutherford sexually harassed him, and that the accuser is deeply in debt, possibly raising questions about why he would allegedly seek $300,000 from Rutherford.

But another source, who supports the man's claim, told FOX 32 Sunday night that Rutherford pressured employees to do political work.

When we visited Pontiac today, the longtime political base of candidate for Governor Dan Rutherford, he said that state personnel rules prohibit him from responding directly to charges made by one of the highest-ranking men in his State Treasurer's office. FOX 32 News reported Friday the charges include pressure to do inappropriate political work and sexual harassment.

When asked about the sexual harassment charge, Rutherford responded, "What? Don't. Don't go putting those things out there. I mean, I heard about what you had on your air out there. Now, those are accusations that have not been substantiated. And those are accusations that I am not commenting on."

Rutherford was also asked if he has done anything to this guy, or with this guy, or in the presence of this guy that could be construed as sexual harassment? "There have been accusations made. They have been reviewed by our attorneys and by outside folks. There is absolutely nothing there," claimed Rutherford.

FOX 32 News has learned that Rutherford's accuser -- who is paid more than $99,000 a year by the State Treasurer's office -- filed for bankruptcy a few weeks before Rutherford hired him in 2011. With assets of about $294,000, he and his wife owed $642,000. About 8 weeks ago, a federal bankruptcy trustee accused him of failing to make agreed upon payments. Shortly after that, Rutherford claims the man attempted to get $300,000 in exchange for silently dropping his charges. But another source told political commentator Jeff Berkowitz that he saw Rutherford pressure the man to do political fundraising for Rutherford.

"Those individuals who engage in more political activity get more in the way of salary increases. And those who don't, don't do so well. And my source also told me that there's -- in his view, there's been a pattern of sexual harassment in that office," said Berkowitz.

FOX 32 heard from that source after we interviewed Rutherford. When FOX called his spokeswoman Sunday evening, she said an initial, internal review found no basis for any of the allegations.

FOX 32 also tried to contact the accuser, without success. A source said the accuser is scheduled to meet this week with the outside investigator Treasurer Rutherford has hired to look into all this.

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