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Help Fight Harasment, Retaliation

$300 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 5 people in 19 days
Created October 30, 2018
Fundraising Team
Harassment, intimidation, threats are never acceptable, yet working people get only the justice we can afford. That's not right and we're working to change that.

It is time to end the rampant practice of illegal harassment, threats, intimidation and retaliation by people in leadership roles with powerful political connections. We are willing to stand up and say “No more” without fear, but we need help to make this challenge viable.

 Big legal changes can and do start with a small civil complaint. Our case has the potential to be a catalyst for sweeping changes because the core issues are Free Speech, Defamation, Accountability for Political Parties and Oversight, Ethical Conduct, and Enforcement of such on behalf of state taxpayers.

Who We Are

We are two women who started Heroic Media Group, LLC , a small marketing and design business using our expertise to help small businesses thrive and support good people, average citizens, run for office.

Our approach helped small businesses achieve brand goals through digital media and we hired contract professionals, supported fellow small businesses, and our local economy while still finding time to give back through volunteer work.

We helped candidate clients by providing the same great resources through in-kind donations, enabling them to remain focused on their policy issues, instead of worrying about funding. We were committed to the idea that no one has to be a millionaire to run for office and serve their community..

Ours was honorable work that provided a living and within months, we had contributed well over $5,000 in donated services and time toward making a difference.

Not bad for a disabled, minority owned business, right?


Then Trouble

We began to hear from clients, volunteers, and community members that certain persons in leadership roles within the local political party had made damaging statements about us, our business practices, and our ethical conduct. What followed appeared to be a systematic and unrelenting campaign to defame our business and make outright threats, against us, our candidate clients and retaliate against us and our families. They seemed intent on engaging in retaliation against us in spite of our repeated efforts to diffuse the situation.

Despite our several attempts to reach out to these individuals to resolve the issue amicably, the harassment continued. We had no choice but to hire legal help. We spent thousands of our own operating capital on legal fees during the campaign, but it only got worse.After the primary election ended, their harassment continued.

Having lost every dime of our investment in our company, our operating capital and finally our business, we recognized that if this could happen to us, it could (and does) happen to anyone.

It is time to end the rampant practice of illegal harassment, threats, intimidation and retaliation by people in leadership roles with powerful political connections. We are willing to stand up and say “No more” without fear, but we need help to make this challenge viable.


Why We Are Asking for Help

We have attempted to engage local legal authorities to report criminal activity. So far, local police and county officials are not properly investigating claims or passing these off to other agencies with no follow-up.

State party officials have not been responsive and claim, “There is no ethics policy,” and, “no harassment policy” in place at a state level to address this behavior.


Therefore, we are pursuing a civil case to help bring these issues to the forefront and achieve the justice we seek, not just for ourselves, but help drive change state-wide. You see, our core argument is about holding these people accountable and forcing state officials to do their jobs.

As taxpayers, we actually finance political activity and ballot access. And just like any other agency, a system of checks and balances with accountability must be in place.

It doesn’t matter where you fall on the political spectrum – those of us without power agree that no person in office, no political leader, has the right to break the law, violate ethics, or engage in retaliation. This is why our story and our case is so important and has the potential to change everything.Please help us champion justice, integrity, transparency.


We believe that the evidence we already have and the evidence we wish to obtain can and will be used to prove our claim as well as set precedence to help govern local and state political activity.

Harassment, threats, coercion and intimidation have no place in politics. 

These activities are clear violations of the law. While this is true, it is an ugly fact that pursuing justice is restricted to those who can afford it. We are willing to stand up and so “No more” without fear, but we need help to make this challenge viable. Are you ready to help end “Chicago Politics” and the “Machine” here and elsewhere?You can help change that, right now – today.

Any remaining funds will be donated to homeless veterans via the Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans ( http://www.helpaveteran.org/) and the Ronald McDonald House Charities ( https://rmhccni.org/).
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Defendants Move to Dismiss on the Basis of ILCS Citizens Participation Act, Delay Hearing

The CPA is designed to stop frivolous lawsuits that limit Free Speech in elections.

"The Citizen Participation Act was enacted to protect and encourage public participation in the government. See 735 ILCS 110/5. The Act accomplishes this goal by immunizing citizens from liability for acts in furtherance of the “constitutional rights to petition, speech, association, and participation in government.” 735 ILCS 110/15. The Act provides for expedited court hearings and mandatory attorneys fees for parties that have successfully barred claims under the Act. 735 ILCS 110/20, 110/25. The legislature also made clear that the Act is to “be construed liberally.” 735 ILCS 110/30."

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2937&ChapterID=56

There is a three-step test for determining whether a claim is in fact a SLAPP and should be dismissed:

(1) the movant's act were in furtherance of his right to petition, speak, associate, or otherwise participate in government to obtain favorable government action;
(2) the nonmovant's claims are solely based on, related to, or in response to the movant's acts in furtherance of his constitutional rights; and
(3) the nonmovant fails to produce clear and convincing evidence that the movant's acts were not genuinely aimed at solely prosecuting favorable government action.

We are confident that the defendants in our case cannot meet the burden required for dismissal. Our response was delivered to the court on October 6, 2018. We await the decision
+ Read More
Westbend Mututal Insurance Files Counterclaim Against SCC Member/County Chair

Imagine being a member of your local party and contributing with donations only to discover that those contributions paid for a liability policy that another member hoped to use to pay for their legal expenses brought about by their bad behavior. They are quite literally using party funds for their own benefit.

That is exactly what happened in Cook County Court Case 2018-CH-06436.

State Central Committeewoman and now County Party Chair Kristina Zahorik filed a lawsuit after Westbend Mutual Insurance denied her claim for legal expenses related to our Defamation case. Ironically, this is the same policy that both Kerri Barber and her husband helped pay for as members of the same party.

Westbend has now filed a counterclaim against Zahorik, former Chair Bissett, and Paula Yensen citing Illinois law against 'willful acts' that violate the law.
Westbend cited the apparent intentional acts that contributed to our reasons to file. Recall that, of the small amount of evidence we provided, it was all the defendants bragging and celebrating their actions. That is the clear evidence of intentional action.

The defendants in this case (Zahorik, Bissett and Yensen) are required to file an answer by October 17, 2018 with a judicial decision expected by November 26, 2018. Heroic Media, LLC with Kerri Barber and Kae Dickinson are not parties to this counterclaim.
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County Chair Zahorik Sues the Insurance Company
If you donated to our county party, as we did, part of those funds purchased a liability policy to cover the party.

Our legal team was contacted by County Chair and State Central Committeewoman Ms Zahorik’s attorney as we were named in yet another case.

2018-CH-06346

https://courtlink.lexisnexis.com/cookcounty/FindDock.aspx?DocketKey=CABI0CH0AGEDG0CH

It seems Ms Zahorik sought help with legal fees in our defamation case, but was denied coverage by the insurance company. Their reason for the denial was that coverage doesn’t extend to willfully acting against state law.

Her council then suggested to our attorney that if we’d just amend our petition in court, we could join the suit against the insurance company for a higher ‘payout’.

Of course our council declined because, for us, this was NEVER about money. We will pursue the merits of this case for ourselves and to ensure no other volunteer or candidate may be subjected to the same harassment and retaliation we have faced.

We look forward to the judge’s ruiling in that case in September of this year.
+ Read More
Listen to our interview on Hard Lens Media for WCGO Chicago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJJeXdYg2lg
+ Read More
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$300 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 5 people in 19 days
Created October 30, 2018
Fundraising Team
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