Amara Enyia sued by former staffer over unpaid work

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Mayoral candidate Amara Enyia is being sued by a former staff member who claims Enyia refused to pay her $24,000.

This is not the first time financial issues have dogged Amara Enyia. But just 12 days before the election, she is once again having to answer questions about how she is handling her own finances when she is asking voters to put her in charge of the city and it's nearly $9 billion budget.

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Kristi Kucera was hired to be the communications director for Enyia, but after four months of work she quit in December over an internal campaign issue she can't discuss. She claims in a lawsuit that Enyia owes her $24,000 and has refused to pay her for her work.

"I'm really saddened by this, I didn't want it to end this way, I just want to get paid for the work I did, I was very dedicated and this is very unfortunate," Kucera said.

Enyia disputes the accusations.

"She has every right to take every avenue that she thinks she needs to and for us we think it's unfortunate both the timing and that she did decide to take this route given the circumstances of the case. It's pending litigation so we can't go into details but we'll just have to see what the outcomes are," Enyia said.

Kucera said she was forced to file the lawsuit after trying unsuccessfully for a month to resolve things.

"This could have been resolved a long time ago and quietly. I'm a reasonable person, we could have worked something out, but she didn't do that and she didn't respond," Kucera said.

Enyia racked up $73,000 in fines from the State Board of Elections from her 2015 bid for mayor. She has also been sued over unpaid student loans and rent.

When asked if this raises any more issues about her qualifications to run a city with an $8.9 billion budget, Enyia responded: "Not at all, not at all... Any organization will have personnel issues, that's not unique, it's about how they're handled."

"Based on the pattern and just the history that she's got with finances, it certainly doesn't appear to be a good match," Kucera said.

Enyia's campaign manager said that Kucera understood she was working on a volunteer basis when she started, but she then quit before the two sides agreed on a paid position.

Kucera said she made her rate of $6,000 a month clear at the beginning, but agreed to wait to be paid because Enyia had no money. She would eventually get $200,000 from Kanye West and another $400,000 from Chance the Rapper.
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