Illinois Leaks | Sen. Michael Hastings Settled Harassment Lawsuit with $100K Payment to Plaintiff and Her Attorney –
ILLINOIS (ECWd) –
In 2019, Illinois State Senator Michael Hastings and the Illinois State Senate were sued by Cassandra Matz, who was Hastings’ former Chief of Staff (See Chicago Tribune article).
The Cook County Case Number was: 2019-L-6369 and alleged she was paid less than her predecessor and was treated differently than his other employees, which constituted harassment. Count I complained of Violations of State Officials and Employees Ethics Act.
What Court Records Show
On December 8, 2021, the court docket shows a “Stipulation to Dismiss” was filed.
According to the Stipulation to Dismiss“Each party shall bear their own attorney’s fees, costs, and expenses.” This stipulation was signed by both party’s attorneys.
The public was led to believe, through reading the court filings, that the case was dismissed, and plaintiff paid her own attorney fees. To the average person, this would let Hastings off the hook for any potential embarrassment of paying a settlement in a harassment complaint.
What Actually Happened
There were two payments totaling $100,000 paid to Plaintiff and her attorneys as a result of this lawsuit.
The Comptroller was invoiced on January 7, 2022, and later Paid Plaintiff Cassandra Matz $45,000 on February 23, 2022.
The Comptroller was also separately invoiced on January 7, 2022, and later paid Plaintiff Matz’ attorneys $55,000 on February 23, 2022.
The bottom line here is that an alleged settlement was agreed to, but the actual stipulation filed with the court was different than the alleged settlement which was not filed with the court.
We doubt the Comptroller would process payments for a stipulation where no payments were stipulated to in it or another agreement. There has to be one additional document out there, and presumably it is with the State Senate or the Comptroller which involves agreed payments to Plaintiff and her attorneys and other agreements made, but not recorded.
We will work to find that missing document as it will surely have additional information the public must be made aware of.