A former CEO said that Illinois Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner made rather direct threats against her, allegedly saying that if she decided to “go legal” Rauner and his colleagues at the Chicago investment firm GTCR would “hurt you and your family.”
Those comments, allegedly made by Rauner to Christine Kirk, were published in a report from The Chicago Sun-Times on Tuesday. Rauner’s alleged threats were directed at Christine Kirk, a CEO of a national accounting firm who Rauner and GTCR recruited to help run the business-outsourcing company LeapSource. Rauner was a member of LeapSource’s board.
The threats the Sun-Times reported came from a 2005 deposition that came out of a “corporate divorce” between Kirk and Rauner as a result of the LeapSource project collapsing. The Chicago Sun-Times was able to obtain records of the lawsuit Kirk filed against Rauner and GTCR. In it Kirk alleged that Rauner very directly threatened her.
“If you go legal on us, we’ll hurt you and your family,” Rauner allegedly threatened to Kirk in February 2001.
According to Kirk, Rauner also suggested to another board member, Thomas Gilman, that he might go after her.
“I will bury her,” Rauner allegedly said to Gilman.
There’s more. Rauner also allegedly told Gilman that he would make Kirk “radioactive.”
“She will never get another job anywhere, ever. I will bankrupt her with legal fees,” Rauner said. “I don’t know if she has a family or not, but if she does, she better think twice about this.”
Gilman refused to comment to the Sun-Times.
Most of the lawsuit was thrown out by a federal judge, the Chicago newspaper reported, including the part that contained the alleged threats. The judge didn’t specifically weigh in on how credible the allegations of the threats were.
A Rauner spokesman strongly denied that Rauner threatened Kirk.
“It’s no surprise these allegations were dismissed in summary judgement, which means the complaint had no merit in the eyes of the judge,” Rauner spokesman Mike Schrimpf said in a statement to the Sun-Times.
In Rauner’s deposition in the case, he described Kirk as determined to keep funding LeapSource no matter what.
“She would say whatever she felt she needed to say to get us to continue to fund the business, that we were very close to a sale, that we were very close to an investor, that…we had a lot of clients signed up or virtually signed up,” Rauner said in the deposition. “We were trying to be pretty believing and tried to be pretty patient, and we would keep going. And then we would explore whatever came up, whatever she brought up, and it would end up, in my judgement, being a house of cards.”
Kirk was fired from GTCR in 2001. The company cited growing losses from LeapSource. Kirk refused to sit down with the Sun-Times for an interview.
Rauner is running to replace Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D). The TPM Polltracker average gives Quinn a small 1.7 point lead over Rauner.