8th District Watch – Former Joe Walsh Staffer Sues Candidate

“Been there, seen that”

was my reaction when I read former campaign manager Kieth Liscio’s press release about suing his former employer, 8th District GOP candidate Joe Walsh.

Back in 1982 when I unsuccessfully ran for Congress against incumbent U.S. Representative Robert McClory I was similarly sued. ( I carried McHenry County; McClory won the larger Lake and Kane Counties.)

Ray Pempek was my campaign manager. Funny guy. He’d hold my 24-toed gray cat Bijou up by his front legs, saying, “Dancing Cat.” (Keely Cat would not stand for that.)

He sued me claiming he had not been paid what his contract stipulated.

He hadn’t.

His attorney put him on the stand before Judge Michael J. Sullivan, where he laid out his case.

Upon cross examination, Pempek was asked if he performed the duties outlined in the contract, e.g., preparing the daily schedule, writing press releases, stuff like that.

Apparently he answered in the negative too many times because, when my attorney asked for a directed verdict, the judge granted it.

In a directed verdict, one side of the case says the other side has not proved its case well enough to merit putting on the other side.

This was the second such suit I’ve been involved in. When I won the 1966 Republican primary for McHenry County Treasurer by 72 votes out of almost 12,000 cast with a spread of 277 votes among the candidates, the second-place finisher sued for a recount. My attorney, Stan Narusis and I sat in the old second floor courtroom of the Woodstock Square Courthouse listening to the evidence. (Actually, we had more evidence of strange occurrences than the opposition, having had poll watchers in polling places where the judges had never seen them before.)

After the opposing counsel had completed his presentation–presenting absolutely no evidence, just argument–to Lake County Judge Glenn Seidenfeld, I leaned over to Stan and said, “He didn’t present any evidence. Why don’t we move to dismiss?’

Stan did and Judge Seidenfeld, who died at age 94 in 2008, dismissed the case. Maybe the then-Establishment thought I was so young and naive that I would agree to a recount once sued.

Yeah, right.

In any event, below is Lisco’s press release. Below it is Walsh’s response.

Suit Alleges 8th District Candidate Owes Former Friend $20,000

Morton Grove, IL — Today, Keith Liscio, former campaign manager for 8th Congressional District candidate Joe Walsh, sued the Walsh campaign for non-payment of $20,000 in campaign management services.  The suit was brought by Mr. Liscio in conjunction with his firm Patrickson-Hirsch Associates in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Municipal Department, Second District.

The suit alleges that Mr. Walsh hired Liscio to perform campaign management services in August of 2009, repeatedly paid for those services late, and eventually stopped paying altogether.  When the total amount owed exceeded $20,000 in December of last year, Mr. Liscio left the campaign.  Despite repeated attempts to resolve the matter and collect the debt, the Walsh campaign has refused to pay.

According to Mr. Liscio, “It is with deep regret and sadness that I take this action today.  I’ve tried to work out a payment plan with Joe both before and after my departure from the campaign and fully expected him to live up to his commitments to me and my family.  I’ve known Joe Walsh for over 14 years and am very disappointed that he has failed to meet this obligation.  I’m only bringing suit now as a last resort – he just refused to make a sincere effort to ensure payment of what was owed to me despite spending tens of thousands of dollars on other campaign expenditures.”

Liscio and Walsh met in 1995 when Walsh first ran for Congress in the 9th Congressional District against Sidney Yates.  Liscio volunteered for the campaign and eventually rose to the position of Communications Director where he brought Walsh’s campaign to national prominence.  When Walsh was weighing running in the 8th vs. the 10th District last year, he again sought Liscio’s advice and eventually hired him to run the campaign.  Liscio developed the campaign strategy which positioned Mr. Walsh as a “Tea Party” candidate, hired staff, and was in charge of executing the campaign plan prior to his departure.

To see a copy of the complaint filed with the court, contact Mr. Liscio at (847) 772-0525.

Here is 8th congressional district Joe Walsh’s response:

Regarding the suit, I’m saddened and surprised. Here’s the story and it’s not much of a story: I have a dispute with an ex campaign consultant over the performance of his work, we’ve been negotiating for over a month trying to come to a settlement, it appears he’s filed suit today.

This type of thing, as you know, goes on often in campaigns. I think it’s really regrettable that he decided to file suit a week and a half before the election and then reach out to the media to try and gin up a story. Seems like he’s trying to impact the election which just doesn’t seem right.

It’s an inside baseball story. We’re buliding a grassroots movement to take back this district and as of now, it appears we’re in the lead. Was hoping to settle something with Mr. Liscio, but as of now, its strictly a legal matter.

I’m focused on winning this campaign.


8th District Watch – Former Joe Walsh Staffer Sues Candidate — 18 Comments

  1. It is sad that a person who speaks so passionately about fiscal responsibility in DC, can not manage his own resources. In addition to this bill, JW has had troubles in the past with paying bills. This is an important job and requires a serious candidate who manage not only his business, but the business of the country.

  2. How can anybody deem him as somebody that can seriously challenge Bean? Going from Center Right in the 9th, to far right in the 8th. Running as a teaparty candidate, but, his biggest platform it seems is to build 53. What happened to all the losing his country stuff. Overspending, out of control deficits and national debt. What happened to just saying no! Let Illinois build the tollway if they really want it.

  3. No gents, what IS sad is that someone insists on making the details of a business matter the focus of a political campaign 2 weeks prior to elections. That’s not professionalism that’s vengeance.

    I certainly hope Keith understands any future in politics either via candidate or management is over. It is the duty of a professional to conduct him or herself in a respectable manner, ESPECIALLY when the going gets tough and heated. JUST as it is the responsibility of a candidate to approve employee pay in a timely manner.

    Ultimately, as the public we don’t know what the details or validity is to either side of this issue. I suggest we remain intellectuals and not cast judgment about someone’s business arrangements we no absolutely nothing about.

  4. There seems to be a pattern here. Do we want someone in a leadership position who has a history of not being able to sustain professional relationships, history of poor fiscal management in a leadership position in this country.

    The strong rhetoric and empty suit are very concerning to me! Melissa Bean and the Democratic machine will destroy this type of character. Let’s put someone in who has integrity and a history of results in leadership. Unfortunately, JW has not demonstrated either!!

  5. I appreciate that the public is being notified of Liscio’s lawsuit against Joe Walsh. It is in the voters’ best interests to have full disclosure of their candidates…warts and all. Better that we know about this now as we choose our best candidate, than to have it revealed and exploited by Melissa Bean’s campaign later this year.

  6. It was Liscio’s company that had him file suit. His career is just fine. It appears a man who cannot handle his own fiscal reponsiblities is the one who should be looking for a job. Bean will crush him on many fronts let alone the fact he did not pay his close friend and advisor of 14 years as well his vendors. I am now looking at Geissler. He is pro-life, pro gun as well as a real conservative with real solutions. Joe was my guy before with Geissler a close second. Joe has too leave the race if we have a chance of beating Bean. Joe has too bow out. This is more then an inside problem. He owes Keith 20,000 as well as vendors while he is spending money on radio commercials. We have to now come together behind a candidate that can win:Geissler

  7. Oh stop with the rhetoric yourself, Bean will crush every candidate in the primary, it’s not like it matters anyway. The only one who had a shot was Maria until she decided to run a garbage campaign and raise no money.

  8. I think it interesting that JW put a responce up on his website tonight calling his campaign manager for 3 races a vendor. He is also saying that Geissler is not even polling any numbers. The last poll I saw showed them running neck and neck. JW is a dishonest man. His campaign manager(vendor) has also been his good friend for 14 years. This man is exemplifies what is wrong with the GOP today. He has no chance.

  9. Keith …oh…I mean franguc. Don’t you have anything better to do than make up fake names and spew your insider baseball sour grapes all over?
    For those of you paying attention. Keith Liscio has been writing on various blogs and news outlets as various people. He is not man eough to admit he is part of the Geissler campaign now. Shame on you Keith and Chris. I realize that Chris is paying you to be his shill, but don’t you feel like a tart? Joe at least used you as an advisor, this destructive work you are doing for Geissler is just disgusting. Grow up be a man.

  10. I saw all 6 GOP candidates at the Patriots United event in Nov. Each had unique strengths, but Joe Walsh totally connected with the audience, understood The People’s concerns, and spoke with genuine passion. Chris Geissler expressed himself well except on the issue of traditional marriage; I felt that if he matures in his position, he could be a strong candidate for elected office in the future.

    Since the first of the year, I’ve observed that Geissler signs “somehow” get placed exactly in front of Joe Walsh’s signs…incredibly petty and rude. Now this call for withdrawal, which comes across as judgmental and mean-spirited.

    I’m not sure who Chris is listening to, but I hope he will seek wiser counsel. Is this really the sort of candidate and NEIGHBOR he wants to be? I hope not — he seemed like a better guy than this.

  11. Cal, I appreciate you providing this forum to discuss this matter. While I can’t comment on your legal issues, I can certainly clarify any questions regarding mine. For the record, I have not posted here before nor made any accusations here or anywhere else under any assumed name.

    Mr. Walsh is now claiming that our dispute is somehow over the performance of my work. That is true only in the sense that after I performed the work for months and without compensation, Mr. Walsh did not have the funds to pay me despite repeated promises to both raise more money and pay what I was owed. When I put my life, my family, and my business on hold to work for him 12-18 hours a day, 6-7 days a week, he had no problem with that. The only problem was with paying. If he was unhappy at any time with my work, he should have told me so I could have stepped aside. Instead he took advantage of my good nature and used me and my firm’s services for months.

    In regard to his surprise at my lawsuit, Mr. Walsh is being disingenuous. I repeatedly tried to settle this matter both before and after my departure. When it was apparent that Mr. Walsh would not make any firm commitment to paying his obligation to me, I was forced to hire an attorney to represent my interests. From the start, however, I told Joe that if this matter wasn’t settled one way or another by January 15, I would file a lawsuit. Aside from the deadline, I had only one requirement for any settlement. Because of Mr. Walsh’s reputation for walking away from debts from past campaigns, I simply insisted that Mr. Walsh guarantee any payment personally. He has consistently refused this request.

    Joe saw this coming from the start, it wasn’t any grand surprise or dirty trick. He chose not to honor his obligation to me and continues to do so. I’m not trying to ruin his campaign, just to be paid what is owed to me and I remain open to settling this matter. I would like nothing more than for Joe to man up, admit he made a mistake, and honor his commitment with his personal guarantee. Like his many Tea Party supporters, I believe in his call for an end to out of control spending and the importance of personal and fiscal responsibility. Making arrangents to pay me now would prove that Joe is doing more than making empty promises and I think his suppporters would respect him for it.

    But my request is simple: Pay your bills, Joe.

  12. With all due respect Mr Liscio, airing your sour grapes in public right before the election is despicable, and as a former campaign consultant you know exactly what you are doing to try to hurt the front-runner. BTW – you failed to mention that you did NOT have a contract with Walsh’s campaign for the services as reported in the Daily Herald. Get a therapist.

  13. Keith you should know better to do the things you are doing. I under stand you being upset that you are no longer in the camp that is going to win this primary. But here is a news flash for you, this is politics and you are not the first preson that was move out of a campaing for not doing the job you had to do. Just because you spent 18 plus hours doing things, does not mean they where the correct things. I am with Joe, he is now the front runner and it took three weeks to get a petition from you to be able to get Joe filled. We had to collect all of his signitures in 15 days. We needed to do it with out you, you asked us how to get it done so we did it all even filling.

    I have been through this before I had a friend let go from a campaign, he no longer talks to me but it was the best thing for the candidate we worked for, and in this case it was as well. To all of you that are seeing blood in the water and trying to improve your own campaing on a false I man mud fight remember this move ment is real and will not be stopped Bean is the goal and Joe is the only candidate that can get this done. Joe has a work force that I have not seen in my 14 years and they will not forget or forgive the party, Keith and Chris if you are trying to stop the candidate they believe in.

  14. It seems that everyone is suddenly ganging up on Joe Walsh. That must mean something. 10 days before a primary. It must mean something. I would suspect that if Mr. Liscio really was primarily motivated by money that he would hope that Mr. Walsh would win the primary, get more funds and pay him. Trying to blow him up by suing and carrying on a press campaign against him seems to strongly work against his chances of receiving any monies in the future. That being the case it would appear that he is likely operating on a wholly different motivation than personal renumeration. Also, this can’t exactly be a heads up career move. Who in their right mind would use his services in the future knowing any dispute will be immediately turned into a PR event? Knowing that you’d have to wonder about his actions. He seems to be working against himself about as hard as he possibly can.
    One other point. One poster thinks no one can beat Bean. I lived in Massachusetts for 7 years. If a nobody state rep with no money and no backing can knock off the democratic candidate THEN any seat anywhere is not safe. And she has painted herself so far into the Nancy Pelosi corner that she has no way out. Kennedy’s seat, health care and now Obama is going to appoint a commission to figure out how to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid…..all in a week.

  15. Keith, you are truly a poor businessman. Joe, keep trucking partner, these low, dirty and unethical threats and rumors are exactly what Scott Brown went through and it doesn’t change my opinion one bit, nor my vote, vote for Joe Walsh on February 2nd!

  16. Keith, Good for you. Jpw has repeatedly said he had raised over a 100,000. He reported less then anyone in the race. Walsh is a carpet bagger who has stiffed other venders accarding to Keith. He ran in the 9th becuase the thought he can win there. He is running in the 8th without living there and not being in touch with the issues facing the 8th because he decided to run there thinking he had the best chance again. Why didnt he run where he lives? Because he didnt have a chance and knew he couldnt raise what the candidates there have. Dold reported ove 400,000. Come on Joe, drop out. I have never heard you provide solutions, I have only heard you talk about the problems faceing the greatest nation on earth. What is your platform? What are your solutions. I dont work for Chris, and in fact up till last week I was voting for Walsh. Geissler is the only one I believe that can win in the general election. He has great ideas. I would like to see more passion when he speaks. But last week, by standing up to Joe, he showed me that he will FIGHT for our distict against anyone. He has the best solutions and the FIGHT to win and to represent us well in Washington. FIght on Chris. Every one I talk too is coming to your side. I am involved in ELA township so I talk to a lot of people and I know some inside info on the candidates that I will not talk about, but I know Geissler has the best chance Also, let me say this, whoever does win the GOP primary, I will back 100%. I just hope it is Geissler.

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