Clerk’s Harassment Charges Centered on his Demands for FOIA Compliance

[Editor’s Note: An Evanston Leads contributor received the City’s full investigative findings. We do not disclose sources, however we confirm the source was not Clerk Reid, and that Reid has never acted as an anonymous source to Evanston Leads.]

The City’s allegations of harassment are primarily based on Clerk Reid’s actions to counter the Evanston Law Department’s repeated FOIA violations.


Complaints

All three complainants filed in April 2019. At last night’s Council meeting, Complainant Michelle Masoncup advised both Reid and Council on her own Complaint. Find a full accounting of the City’s Investigative Findings below.

Complainants: Corporation Counsel Michelle Masoncup and Assistant Attorney Alexandra Ruggie

Source: City of Evanston

Masoncup reported that Reid engaged in “hostile debates” with Masoncup related to FOIA matters and filed a “frivolous” complaint to the Illinois Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission. [Ed Note: Reid’s ARDC complaint regarded Masoncup’s repeated refusal to comply with FOIA] Masoncup also referenced an allegation by another complainant.

Ruggie reported that Reid engaged in “hostile debates” with Masoncup related to FOIA matters.

Complainant: Former Deputy Clerk Eduardo Gomez

Source: City of Evanston

Gomez reported that Reid issued Gomez a written reprimand for performing his FOIA duties per the Law Department’s directives. At time of the complaint, Clerk Reid was the only designated FOIA officer, and the Law Department had no statutory FOIA authority. Gomez reported to Evanston Leads at the time that he believed the Law Department was violating FOIA.

Gomez also reported that Reid referred to Corporation Counsel, Michelle Masoncup, as a “cuck” and “bitch” within his earshot, and that he provided Gomez with an audio recording in which, 91 hours into the recording, included a “sexually charged discussion” between Reid and his partner at their home. Reid said it was intended to be a private conversation, but it was captured on the 111-hour recording when Reid inadvertently left a City recording device on following a Council meeting.

The City’s outside counsel reported, “We believe credible evidence exists showing Reid expressed an anti-female animus against Corporation Counsel Masoncup and referred to her as a “cuck” and a “bitch.”


City Officials Reportedly Suggested Reid “Out” Himself and Seek Other Employment Amidst Audio between Clerk & his Partner

A City executive official leaked the content of the closed session audio, which revealed Reid to be gay, to local attorney Shawn Jones. Jones reportedly then called Reid into his office for a meeting that included two other alderpersons. At that meeting, Reid says Jones, an appointed City official, and the other alderpersons suggested he look for other employment or disclose his sexuality publicly and to any friends or family who didn’t already know.

During public comment at last night’s Council meeting Jones disputed Reid’s claims. Jones later corrected himself in the Council anteroom that he had himself been one to suggest Reid start looking for other employment at that meeting.


Closed Session Minutes, findings for censure begin on page 12.

ExecSession-packet-20190708-sec

The City’s Investigative Findings

The City hereby finds Deputy City Clerk Gomez and Corporation Counsel Masoncup’s complaints to be founded and supported by the evidence. Specifically, the City finds:

A. With respect to Deputy City Clerk Gomez’s complaint, you violated the City’s Hostile Work Environment Policy and Workplace Harassment Policy by:

1. Intentionally leaving a Change of Personnel Form in plain view indicating Gomez’s termination after Gomez expressed his desire to join the union;

2. Holding open discussions with City interns about no longer needing Gomez as an employee within an earshot of Gomez;

3. Chastising and issuing Gomez a written reprimand for performing his FOIA duties per the Law Department’s directives;

4. Engaging in sexually charged discussions within an earshot of Gomez;

5. Providing Gomez with an audio recording containing sexually charged discussions between you and an unidentified third party.

6. Referring to Corporation Counsel, Michelle Masoncup, as a “cuck” and “bitch” within an earshot of Gomez; and

7. Arriving to work smelling of marijuana. [Not found in investigation by outside counsel]

B. With respect to Corporation Counsel Masoncup’s complaint, you violated the City’s Hostile Work Environment Policy and Workplace Harassment Policy by:

1. Engaging in hostile debates with Masoncup related to FOIA matters;

and

2. Referring to Masoncup as a “cuck” and “bitch” to employees.

3. Filing a frivolous complaint against Masoncup with the ARDC [“Frivolous” not found in investigation by outside counsel]

Further, the City finds that Assistant City Attorney Ruggie’s complaint supports allegations contained in Corporation Counsel Masoncup’s complaint.


Complainant Healthy Work Environment and Workplace Harassment

ComplainantHealthy Work Environment and Workplace Harassment Allegation(s)
Eduardo GomezReid engaged in ongoing, negative, unprofessional communications with Gomez when Reid:

1. Intentionally left a Change of Personnel Form in plain view indicating Gomez’s termination after Gomez expressed his desire to join the union;


2. Held open discussions with City interns about no longer needing Gomez as an employee within an earshot of Gomez;


3. Chastised and issued Gomez a written reprimand for performing his FOIA duties per the Law Department’s directives;


4. Engaged in sexually charged discussions within an earshot of Gomez;


5. Provided Gomez with an audio recording containing sexually charged discussions between Reid and an unidentified third party; and


6. Referred to Corporation Counsel, Michelle Masoncup, as a “cuck” and “bitch” within an earshot of Gomez.

Michelle Masoncup
Reid engaged in ongoing, negative, unprofessional communications with Masoncup when Reid:


1. Engaged in hostile debates with Masoncup related to FOIA matters; and



2. Referred to Masoncup as a “cuck” and “bitch” to other employees



Reid failed to support a healthy work environment for all City employees when Reid filed a frivolous ARDC complaint against Masoncup and emailed the complaint to the City Council in response to a disagreement with Masoncup over a FOIA matter.
Alexandra RuggieReid engaged in ongoing, negative, unprofessional communications with Ruggie when Reid engaged in hostile debates with Ruggie related to FOIA matters.

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