FOX 32 investigates Rutherford`s accuser, Ed Michalowski - New York News

FOX 32 investigates Rutherford`s accuser, Ed Michalowski

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Dan Rutherford's accuser may indeed be a victim of sexual harassment.

But he's also a sophisticated, middle-aged attorney and a veteran political player in the viper's nest that often is Chicago politics.

Edmund Michalowski's most explosive charges rely so far on his word versus that of candidate for Governor, Dan Rutherford, who vigorously denied them all.

Rutherford said Michalowski's troubled financial history, including bankruptcy and foreclosure, his political patronage connections and the timing of his lawsuit are all reasons to question his credibility.

When FOX 32 caught up to Michalowski outside his new office at the Cook County building Tuesday, FOX 32's Mike Flannery asked questions many voters are asking.

He's held top jobs not only with the State Treasurer, but the Secretary of State before that. He's run for judge, and Monday he started as a $107,000-a-year labor lawyer at the Cook County Building, in an office notorious for hiring the politically-connected.

FOX 32 also wanted to ask about the following coincidence. On the very day last month when Michalowski was due in federal bankruptcy court to face charges of defaulting on his payment plan, his attorney demanded $300,000 from Rutherford, in exchange for dropping the harassment claims.

Michalowski's lawsuit claims he felt forced to resign from the Treasurer's office. It didn't hurt him financially. He got an $8,000 raise by taking the new job with the Cook County Recorder of Deeds. It pays $107,000 a year.

FOX 32 Investigator Dane Placko learned, Michalowski seems to have used some high-level clout to land that post.

Some have wondered how Michalowski was able to jump from Dan Rutherford's payroll to the Cook County Recorder of Deeds payroll so quickly.

Tuesday FOX 23 learned the federal monitor who oversees hiring in the recorder's office actually disqualified Michalowski because of disclosure issues on his application.

Yet, recorder Karen Yarbrough gave him another job anyway.

In a statement Tuesday Cook County Recorder of Deeds Yarbrough denies her hiring of Michalowski has anything to do with the sex scandal.

"I was not aware of his sexual harassment allegations until last week, after he was hired," Yarbrough said in a statement. "Ed's experience as an attorney and administrator is why he was hired."

Yet, FOX 32 News has learned there were problems when Michalowski first tried to land a job at the recorder's office.

The details are contained in a December report filed by Cardelle Spangler, who monitors hiring and firing in the recorder's office for the federal courts.

The report said an unnamed individual, who FOX 32 learned is Michalowski, initially applied for the position of Director of Compliance, which was posted on July 31st.

But later, Spangler disqualified Michalowski "after it was discovered that he previously served as an officer for a partisan political organization. A role that was prohibited by the job description and that he did not disclose."

What Michalowski failed to disclose was that he named himself chairman of his own political committee when he ran for judge in 2009.

Yet, that mistake didn't stop Yarbrough from hiring Michalowski for another job as Labor Counsel for the recorder's office.

That six-figure position was previously held by Chloe G. Pedersen, who happens to be recorder Yarbrough's niece.

She's since been promoted to the recorder's chief legal counsel.

A spokesman for Yarbrough told FOX 32 Tuesday, Michalowski was telling the truth when he applied for his job because he made a mistake on his election filing. He wasn't really chairman of his campaign committee when he ran for judge.

The spokesman said "we viewed it as a minor technicality."

But records show Michalowski had other political jobs in his past, including serving as Treasurer for Secretary of State Jesse White's political action committee.

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