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May 25, 2024

Sen. Hastings’ Discrimination Lawsuit Settlement and Gag Order –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On August 30, 2022


We finally obtained a copy of the settlement agreement in the lawsuit where Senator Michael Hastings was sued, along with the Illinois Senate, for discrimination and harassment against Cassandra Matz, a former employee of Sen. Hastings.

In the settlement agreement, Hastings and the Senate deny any wrongdoing but agree to pay a total of $100,000 to Matz and her attorneys.

The settlement also:

  • prohibits Matz from disclosing the settlement (a gag agreement) to anyone,
  • prohibits the filing or use of the settlement in any court
  • agrees to file a Stipulation to Dismiss in the court stating that each party shall bear their own attorney fees, costs, or expenses (kind of flies in the face of the $100,000 payment)

This leads us to think there are wider harassment issues in the Illinois government than simply this lawsuit, which by all appearances attempts to make the public think it was dismissed and no payments were made.

The public was led to believe, through reading the court filings, that the case was dismissed, and the 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. The public is no longer in the dark with the publication of this settlement agreement.

We wonder how many other Senators, Representatives, or other state officers have settled harassment lawsuits with six-figure payouts, only showing the public what is filed in the court’s docket.



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