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'You're Breaking Contracts': U.S. Congresswoman Sued For Not Hiring Would-Be Rival

 CHICAGO (CBS) -- U.S. Congresswoman Marie Newman has only in office for five months.

And now she has a court battle on her hands and that could cost you, the taxpayers.

Newman is being sued by a man she promised to hire.

CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov reports the contract in question was signed two years before Newman was even elected to office.

In it, the future 3rd District candidate Marie Newman promised Iymen Chehade a job if she won.

She did. But that job never came.

Chehade said taxpayers and constituents should be concerned. Newman's camp stops short of calling the lawsuit a money grab.

"There's an irony is all this is that you're a lawmaker but you're breaking contracts."

Adjunct history professor Iymen Chehade is referring to a contract he signed in December of 2018, with future 3rd District Congressional candidate Marie Newman.

In it, Newman guaranteed Chehade a $135,000 to $140,000 a year "Chief Foreign Policy Advisor" or similar job, if she went on to win her seat.

Chehade said it was an inducement to keep him from running in the primary, too. Why?

"Too many horses in the race at that time," Chehade said.


He said the collective goal was beating longtime incumbent Dan Lipinski.  But Chehade, a Palestinian-American, admits the two of them had a disagreement.

"I guess you could call it a falling out," said Chehade.

It was over a stance Newman took on Palestinian-Israeli policy.  After she won her seat,  Newman's personal attorney sent Chehade's attorney a letter calling him "unsuited for such a role."

But he filed this lawsuit, he said, as a matter of principal, adding Newman's congressional lawyers are involved in defending her as well.

"I think taxpayers should know where their money is going," Chehade said.

A campaign spokesperson points out her congressional staff attorneys are salaried, which means there are no additional costs because of this lawsuit.

That spokesperson added that Chehade also misrepresented his qualifications.

Newman's spokesperson sent CBS 2 a statement:

"Mr. Chehade was never and has never been a candidate in a congressional race for Illinois' 3rd District. Mr. Chehade was not hired in part because he not only misrepresented his qualifications but was ill-suited for a senior role in a congressional office, as demonstrated by his interactions with Ms. Newman and her campaign volunteers.

"In fact, in the summer of 2019, Mr. Chehade explicitly conveyed to Ms. Newman over the phone that he could not work with her. It was only after several months of no direct communication between the two that Mr. Chehade contacted Ms. Newman pleading to her to hire him in her official office.

"While these reasons have been communicated multiple times to Mr. Chehade over the past year, he has spent over a month making false statements to the press. We look forward to the matter being addressed in court and, until then, we will not be commenting further."

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