Rolling Meadows harassment report released; alderman questions its credibility

An internal Rolling Meadows investigation by City Manager Barry Krumstok determined Alderman Joe Gallo harassed Alderman Laura Majikes during at least one closed-door, profanity-laced incident, according to a seven-page report released Thursday.

But Gallo on Thursday accused Majikes of being the aggressor, and said he is considering his legal options.

Gallo, the Ward 4 alderman, is one of four candidates running for mayor in the April 2 election. He also questioned the credibility of the report since it was penned by Krumstok - who has been a subject of Gallo's previous criticism - and the timing of its release. He did admit using profanity the evening of Feb. 12.

"This is a heavily one-sided outcome in writing, and of course, it's six days before the election," Gallo said. "I professed this is exactly what was going to happen. ... It's not coincidental."

Majikes, the Ward 3 alderman who is opposed by two candidates in the election, said she is satisfied by the report's findings.

"It's a disappointing situation," she said. "It's not something I took lightly to have to deal with."

Krumstok initiated his investigation after receiving signed, written complaints Feb. 19 from Majikes, who said Gallo verbally assaulted her both before and after a closed-session meeting Feb. 12, in the city hall aldermen's room.

The city manager interviewed witnesses - including aldermen who were in the room - and watched security camera footage before completing the investigation March 22. He interviewed two witnesses suggested by Gallo, but Krumstok wrote there were "inconsistencies" with their statements on March 21 and 22 - one verbal and the other a written statement.

The report concludes one of the incidents alleged by Majikes was "more than witnessed and proven than the second," which had fewer witnesses, numerous inconsistencies and is hard to corroborate, Krumstok wrote.

The city manager provided the report to Gallo and Majikes last Monday, and the city attorney released the document Thursday in response to Freedom of Information Act requests.

According to the report, Majikes approached Gallo about 9:40 p.m. Feb. 12 to "calmly bridge relations" after open session. During the contentious council meeting that night, Gallo was criticized by fellow council members for filing paperwork for a grant without their approval.

Aldermen voted 5-2 to formally advise the Itasca-based National Safety Council that the city didn't authorize the grant application, effectively withdrawing it.

After Majikes approached Gallo, "the conversation quickly changed to a verbal confrontation with obscene, offensive, hostile, vulgar, profanity used and insulting language," Krumstok wrote.

Gallo said he asked three times for the conversation to stop; Majikes denies she heard that.

Gallo also said Majikes touched his shoulder during the second incident, but she denies that. Two witnesses said Gallo's arm was briefly and incidentally touched; one witness said Gallo's shoulder was touched, according to the report.

The city council voted 5-1 on March 12 to censure Gallo for his verbal interaction with Majikes; he was the lone "no" vote.

The council approved an ordinance in January 2018 making a discrimination and harassment policy applicable to elected and appointed city officials, and creating the procedure whereby the city manager would investigate complaints that are filed.

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Laura Majikes
Rolling Meadows Alderman Joe Gallo verbally harassed Alderman Laura Majikes at city hall the evening of Feb. 12, according to an internal city investigative report completed by City Manager Barry Krumstok. Gallo questioned the credibility of the report. Daily Herald File Photo, 2017
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