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COD board chair files defamation suit against ex-colleagues
By Catherine Edman | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 10/23/2008 12:05 AM

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College of DuPage Board Chairman Micheal McKinnon is suing three former female college trustees who alleged that he inappropriately talked to or touched them.

McKinnon filed the defamation lawsuit in DuPage County late Friday after Mary A. Mack, Jane Herron and Mary Sue Brown made the allegations of sexual harrassment in a weekly newspaper.

He says the womens' actions are part of a "political vendetta" designed to undermine his "position and influence on the board of trustees," according to the lawsuit. McKinnon is seeking $1 million in compensatory damages along with another $1 million in punitive damages from each of the women.

According to the lawsuit, McKinnon says statements made by Mack, Herron and Brown are "absolutely false."

The suit says McKinnon, who owns a firm specializing in college financial aid counseling, "suffered severe damage to his reputation in the business and non-business community."

The lawsuit also states that McKinnon's "position with the board of trustees has been jeopardized and compromised" as a result of their statements.

In January, Mack resigned as a trustee of the Glen Ellyn-based school, citing "a lack of leadership" and "Gestapo-like tactics of intimidation and sexual harassment."

According to the lawsuit, Mack told board member Mark Nowak last year that McKinnon had "grabbed her really hard, rubbed his body against hers." Mack also allegedly told Trustee David Carlin that McKinnon "hugged her, pulled her close to him and said, 'Oh, so firm.'"

Mack then contacted former COD President Harold McAninch and said that McKinnon hugged her inappropriately, the lawsuit states.

Mack, of Downers Grove, said Wednesday she could not comment on the lawsuit because she had not seen it. She said the episode with McKinnon happened in March 2007, but she didn't file a police report about it until this summer, when she talked to Downers Grove detectives. Mack said police told her they could not investigate her allegations because the statute of limitations had expired.

Herron, who resigned from the board last year, made similar charges.

In the report published last week, Herron claimed that McKinnon inappropriately touched her while she was bent over a table after a 2002 meeting and made an inappropriate comment about her body, according to the lawsuit.

Brown, a Glen Ellyn resident who served on the board from 1995 to 2005, said in the media report that McKinnon made a crude remark to her about Herron.

Herron and Brown didn't return phone calls. McKinnon referred all questions to his attorney, who could not be reached for comment.