Ten current and former staffers are suing Democratic governor candidate J.B. Pritzker's campaign, saying they were harassed and discriminated against because of their race.
The billionaire businessman's campaign said Wednesday the lawsuit was filed after they rejected a settlement offer to pay $7.5 million in damages.
The African-American and Latino staffers said in the lawsuit filed Tuesday that they were forced to work in unsafe areas and offered "no meaningful opportunity for advancement."
Pritzker says "This is not true." Running mate Juliana Stratton, who's African-American, said "we are not afraid to litigate this to the fullest extent of the law."
The campaign released part of an Oct. 5 settlement offer from the workers' attorney. It asks for $7.5 million, among other requests, and gives the campaign until Oct. 8 to accept or "our clients will pursue all available legal remedies."
Gov. Bruce Rauner, the Republican incumbent, said "the people of Illinois deserve to know the truth about Pritzker's actions."
"Unfortunately, this seems to be a pattern with Mr. Pritzker," Rauner said in a statement. "I don’t think anyone should be surprised, as you all know, he was caught on the FBI wiretaps, on the phone with Blagojevich. He was trying use his inheritance to buy elected office. He used the language of racists in that phonecall. He was on tape using the language of racists. And he very specifically called African-American elected officials 'offensive.' So I am not sure that anybody should be surprised that his campaign may have engaged in discriminatory practices."
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