Chicago, IL -
State Treasurer and Republican Primary gubernatorial candidate Dan Rutherford held a press conference Friday to address allegations made against him by a current employee in his office.
"Let me make this very clear, there is absolutely no truth to the allegations. No factual support or merit," Rutherford said.
"Christine Svenson is an attorney making demands on behalf of the accuser and is directly linked to my opponent Bruce Rauner," Rutherford continued.
Svenson, according to Rutherford, demanded payment of $300,000 for the employee to "walk away and keep it under wraps."
Rutherford declined to further explain the allegations, which he said were made to his staff lawyers last week by the employee.
According to Jeff Berkowitz on ChicagoNow.com
, Rutherford is being accused of sexual harassment by a male employee he put on the state payroll three years ago. According to a source, the accuser also claims to have suffered abuse of political power because he was coerced to perform political work on state time.
That same source said the accuser and Rutherford have been "friends" for years. An innuendo that Rutherford is gay.
Responding to similar speculation earlier in the campaign, Rutherford told Windy City Times
in August, "I am not gay." Rutherford has long been the subject of rumors about his sexuality.
The 58-year-old Rutherford has actively supported the LGBT community and as state senator voted in favor of civil unions. Later as state treasurer, Rutherford opposed marriage equality. Update:
Rutherford spoke to Chicago's LGBT newsweekly, Windy City Times
, on Feb. 2. He repeated the assertion, "I'm not gay." Rutherford remained adamant that the allegations are motivated by politics. He said the legal matter would not be an insurmountable hurdle for his campaign. WCT's Rutherford interview: Legal troubles won't harm campaign